Pratt said many people helped her as she navigated her way through single parenthood. She said her mother, sister and other members of her extended family were always helpful. Then there were the men and women who ran the Seat Pleasant Activity Center in Seat Pleasant, Md., which her sons frequented growing up.
Pratt said various people at the center, including a basketball coach, a student mentor, a man who liked to joke with the boys and a physical trainer, all seemed to help her parent the boys in their own way.
She said she did not have problems raising boys alone, something she attributed to her own personality.
“I think I have that personality of being somewhat firm when I want to be, so it wasn't difficult at all,” she said.
Pratt said guiding her sons to wholesome activities took prayer and some parenting skills honed over the years.
“In every young life there will be positive and negative influences, you just pray that they gravitate toward the positive experiences and influences. As a single parent, you try to direct them toward the positive influences and that's what I tried to do,” she said.
Pratt said she is reaping the rewards of her efforts as a mom these days.
“My reward is that they are providing for themselves, that they are becoming the kind of men that they would want to look up to. I see them still as young men at this point. They may beg to differ and say that they are men, but I still see them as young men,” she said, chuckling.
“I see them growing and becoming more confident in themselves every day and I find pleasure when we talk and they say ‘Mom, you taught me this. You taught me how to trust my decisions, even if I make mistakes. You taught me to believe in myself and never give up.' Those are the rewards I see when we talk and interact.”
Pratt said she is looking forward to speaking to single mothers at the statewide conference because she wants to tell them not to give up on their own dreams.
“I think it's important because sometimes, you really have to dig deep to find the hope in your dreams as a single parent,” she said. “Even though you are a single parent and you face all of the life situations, the ups and downs of your life and your children's lives, it's still important to you as a single parent to know that you, as a woman, are just as important as you, the single mother,” she said.
“It took me a while to learn that and I'd like to convey that message to single mothers.”