“In my house, when you come home, your first thing you do is get to your homework, get to the table,’’ she said. “No outside, no games, no TV, no radio. You may have a sandwich and a cookie and get that homework done. After homework, we have chores. Each one is assigned to a chore in the house to earn extra things when I come up with extra money. They stay on task.’’
She has very strict rules.
“Nobody’s allowed in our house when I’m not here,’’ she said. “They’re not allowed to go to parties. They’re not allowed to sleep over anywhere unless I know the parents and am comfortable with the situation, especially my girls. There’s too much happening in the world today with our girls and young ladies. And I stress that hard, even the girls who walk through my door, from the little ones on up. Ladies, sit with your legs closed, if you got on a skirt, put some shorts on. My boys keep their pants pulled up on their behinds, no hanging off, none of that.
“This generation right here, education’s going to be key. That’s my main thing. When those grades are not right, and they’re slipping, I make them get a book and write “Yes, I will keep up. Yes, I want to succeed.’’
From the time the children were toddlers, she made them reading and math flash cards. She makes them watch world news on CNN. Every day she makes them read a Student Pledge that states: “I believe that I can learn, so I will study and complete my work. I believe in myself, that I can achieve and be successful. So, I will have a great day today on my way to becoming the best that I can be.’’
Williams’ home is like a camp on weekends. Neighborhood kids and nieces and nephews love to visit and participate in her karaoke contests, kickball tournaments, movie nights, and culinary classes “they are like my sous chefs, peeling and prepping while I show them how to cook.’’ (She could use some new pots and pans, but insists the bunk beds are the priority.)
“After all the hard work is done, then we can play. We can barbecue, yell, scream, dance,’’ she said.
The night is yours, as long as you got your work done during the week.”
Williams admits the financial burden of raising seven kids stresses her to the point of tearful nights.
“It’s very stressful and it hurts because I know they see other children with stuff and even when they’re doing good, I want to get it, but I can’t,’’ she said, breaking down as tears ran down her cheeks. “A lot of times I cry. I never had it, I want them to have. That’s why I tell them, go get your education. When you go out there in the world, you won’t have to suffer. Anything you see in the store, you’ll be able to buy it. You won’t have to go steal it. My girls won’t have to sell themselves to try to get it.
“My job will be done when I see all seven walk across that stage with their diplomas. I tell the Lord to get me there, and then, he can take me home. I’ll know then that at least I gave them a notch on their belts to have a life better than mine.’’