YOU CAN’T CHOOSE ‘EM; FAMILY!

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“We are not what we used to be.”


We can’t pick them, we can’t get rid of them; and that is our family. The problems we face in life are challenging enough, but what about trying to appease the people who are closest to you. How about trying to live your life while they stand on the sidelines and judge. Sad to say, but sometimes these are people who can become more of a burden on your life than complete strangers. But why, why are families so much more tougher than others in society? Why is that these are the main people who you should be able to depend on the most that are the ones you have to sometimes protect yourself from the most?

Well, for starters because people feel that since you and them carry the same bloodline that constitutes they have a say in your life. Yes we are connected biologically, but we mentally we are different people. Just because we are spawn from the same lineage does not mean you know everything there is to know about me. As a matter of fact one of the reasons why relationships last so long is not just because you admit when you’re wrong and love your significant other. It has a lot to do with the idea that when you two have problems in the household you don’t pick up that telephone to call your family. Because family members are going to give you advice based on their own personal situations not what is good for you in life.

Where does this entitlement that since we are related you’re owed to something come from? Because every family has that mind-frame, why? In my opinion, I think people have that mind-frame because the meaning of what family is, is a very ambiguous meaning. It all depends on the person who is interpreting what is family. To one person, family does whatever it takes to help each other, some believe tough love is the best method. I look at family as everyone pulls their weight. Meaning if I have milk, you have cereal, this person has bowls, and this person has utensils, then “WE” can eat breakfast. Family is not for a single person or few carrying the load of all. Because usually what happens is if that person is longer around, the family dynamics collapse.

See, in the end, your family are not something you choose, but it’s what you’re born into. But that doesn’t mean  just because we have the same bloodline we know everything about each other. In addition, you shouldn’t tell family everything as well. Some things are mean’t for them not to know and some things are mean’t for them to know.


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PARENTING: IS THERE A RIGHT WAY TO DO SO?

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“What is your style?”


Every parent, especially successful parents all have a style in which they raise their children. But no one has the best definition for how to parent their children. Some parents use the military style and others use a more lax form. From a household that comprises of a list of chores to a make your own decisions style. I myself was raised a little bit in the middle as it pertained to my mother’s style. She gave us strict rules to follow, yet also gave us freedom to make our own decisions as well. There were people who saw us as sheltered because they only saw the rules and others felt like we had so much freedom because of the openness of our household. But is there a right way to parent?

Some people feel that the lax way is giving your kid too much room. You let them make their own decisions and they’ll make the wrong decisions. This is why it’s your job to make the decisions for them. They don’t know what good decision making is, that’s your job. You point and their job is to go to wherever you point. When you say jump they shouldn’t say how high, they should already being in the process of jumping before the word jump leaves your mouth. These are the authoritarian parents who stand for no nonsense. They are the Tiger Moms who demand high academics and little to no fun activities. These parents feel that it builds a sense of responsibility and self control.

Now on the other hand, you have the parents who feel that a relax environment builds more character. They encourage creativity and self exploration. These parents want their children to grow up and choose to go on their own paths in life. A parent picking their children’s career, would be considered too invasive for these styles of parents. So testing the waters is more of their style. Let your kid make their own decisions and take the bumps and bruises early on in life. They will learn from these mistakes as well as you teaching them along the way.

Then, the third style of parents that are the middle people. And I think for the most part, a lot of parents are these types. They give their kids rules and also a life of their own. Give them a curfew, but also let them stay sometimes out late with friends. They let their children choose what’s for dinner as long as it is agreed upon with the rest of the family. These are the parents who give their child say on the college to attend, so long as it falls into the realm of the family’s finances. In the end, no one can define what good parenting is, but there are similar traits good parents have. We can tell a lot of times really bad parenting. But as long as there is a bond between the parent and child, it’s no one else’s business how you raise them.

MY LITTLE ONES, MY EVERYTHING: SHOULD CHILDREN COME BEFORE MARRIAGE

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“Who comes before who?”


My children are my world! My children are my everything! These are the words so may married couples utter when speaking about their children. The only problem is that how can a marriage withstand a situation where the children are the sole reason for being together. The reality is that it can’t last with children coming first. Well, isn’t that one of the premises for why we as a society promote marriage? We promote marriage so that children can see an example for how to lead their lives. But what type of life is worth living with everything revolving around your children? But also, what marriage can last that way.

I’ll tell you, no ones’ marriage last long. Because if everything is around the kid, what happens as the children age. Yes, when a child is an infant, they need all your undivided attention. You are not only their parents, but you’re also establishing a trust between them and you. They are seeing a familiar face that they can depend on, on a continuous basis. So at least the first 10 to 12 years you have to dedicate so much time to them. But what happens once the child reaches middle school. The parents have been about the kid for so long that they neglect each other. And why is middle school such a pivotal time period in the life of a child?

Middle school is the beginning of the adolescent stage of life for a young male or female. This is when children start to take on their own identities. It’s when peer pressure arises and the need to conform to a group becomes important. So they stray away from their parents and start to assimilate into these groups. Now the married husband and wife are at home with each other all the time. And given they have dedicated so much of their to kids, they have nothing in common now that kids are gone. So what comes next is a trial separation and then a divorce. Which is why making children the focus is not a good thing.

See, in the end, people follow certain principles because they think it makes them admirable. They follow the belief that kids come first because we push this to them in our society. But the problem with this ideology is that kids are not home forever. And as those children age, they’ll take on their own personalities. Once this happens it will force you and your significant other to continue a relationship that was lost a long time ago. What was once a connection is now severed. Severed because you made the focus of your existence off of individuals that will and must go off and have their own lives; leaving you behind.

TECH OVER FAMILY TIME: IS OUR MOBILE DEVICES RUINING OUR FAMILY BONDS

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“Is your life overtaken by your technology?”


Have you ever been at a restaurant and seen families in today’s society? The mother holding her cell phone, the father is holding his, the children are on their iPads; even infants have been known to play around with their own mobile devices. Yet whenever their child takes on negative behavior, they always want to blame it on someone or something else. For example, my kids are the way they are because of the video games. Yet they have to play the video games because their parents refuse to communicate with them. So now they take on characteristics of whatever it is that has their attention. Whether it’s the video games or their social media accounts.

Well why, why are so many young people forced to connect to their social media profiles as a means to connect to people. For starters, this is not the days where parents can always be there for their kids. The cost of living has caused so many to work more, meaning a bigger generation of latch key kids. So a lot of parents are unaware at times as to what their children are doing on a daily basis. Who is to watch after them and who are they to converse with after school. Well, they are going to gravitate to the next best thing which is vagueness. And that’s what excessive use of social media really is; a vague sense of connections to people.

But is it all technology and no parenting? Parents have a hand in how their children turn out as well. Yes, they have to work, but their yours. It’s not the social media, athletes, or entertainers job to raise your children. You must be willing to put in the time to care for them. Because all the people you expect to care for your children have families of their own. You have to be an advocate for your children. You are the one that brought them into this world, so it really isn’t anyone else’s job to raise your children except you. So what’s with trying to always shift the blame elsewhere. Or, and there is an or; maybe for a second, some of it might be the entertainment.

Let’s look at entertainment for a moment. Our entertainment has found its way into our daily lives that now young kids are begging for fame even if comes at the cost of them looking like fools. From Instagram to World Star Hip Hop, entertainment outlets have been designed for connecting people are now used for negativity. So naturally kids gravitate to this, especially when they see people becoming famous or even the slightest bit of notoriety from bad behavior. See, in the end, there are a culmination of issues from children having too much tech and not enough family time. But technology is not slowing down, neither is parents inability to be around. So, this is the beginning, it may get worse, or technology can be used to connect if utilized appropriately.

MY MONEY, MY RULES: HOW PARENTS USE FINANCES TO DICTATE THEIR CHILDREN’S FUTURE

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“Are you a hostage to your parent’s wallet?”

Do you or someone you know have a parent that have told them that if you don’t pursue the career endeavor I want, you will not be receiving my financial support? I have heard parents tell this to their children. And the result of not pursuing what I want as a parent is either refusing to support your career choice or some parents have went as far as to kick you out of the will. The push for students having their career path chosen for them is more of a foreign decision than an American one. Yet there are families here in the United States who carry this same ideology. Luckily for me, I didn’t grow up in this sort of household.

You see, for me, my mother always encouraged me to pursue what could not only make me successful, but something that I loved. She not once told me nor my sisters that if we didn’t pursue what she wanted, she would not be there for us. That freedom to know that whatever career endeavor I chose she would be behind me, is what I needed. Yet, I wish more kids had that type of moral support in their lives. So, when I told my mother I wanted to pursue a career as a writer, she was right behind me. But why aren’t more parents behind their children’s plans.

For starters, parents don’t take their children serious. There is a lot of work that must be put into being what you want to be in life. Parents feel they should steer their children in the right direction because their kids can not be taken serious. For instance, a kid tells their parent/s they want to be an archaeologist. Now archaeologist don’t make that much of an income, so you have to really be passionate about being one. Parents look at their children and go, “You’re not serious about this.” And a lot of times they’re right. They know you’re not willing to put in the time and work. So, in order for them to respect you, they must see your progress.

Now, there is another aspect of parenting when it comes to their children choosing their goals in life. And that is that parents don’t want to fund something that is not a good enough return on their investment. Children are an investment and when you put your life into them and they throw it away, it becomes angering. They think to themselves, if I put this much into you, I hope to get this much back for you. Meaning, it can cost $1 million believe it or not to raise a kid from age 0 (at birth) – 25/26 years old when they graduate college in graduate school. So pursuing acting, writing, singing, dance, sculpting, archaeology, etc. that has to do with the arts and/or humanities is seen by parents as a waste of time. They want you to pursue a career in law, business, engineering, or medicine.

In the end, parents want to steer you because they think they know what’s best for you. But in reality, for them to force you into a career field not knowing if you possess a skill or desire is pure selfish. They are stripping you of an even better life. So in my opinion, if you want to go off and create your own future, you have to be willing to disobey your parents. Which is hard because most of us want to do what’s expected of us. But the only way to show your parents you’re serious is to stop receiving their help and build it yourself. Because ultimately, your parents want to respect to you. And nothing is more respectful than building your own future independent of them.

S*** OR GET OFF THE POT: WHY WOMEN WANT MARRIAGE

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“Why are women so hard up about getting married?”

“We’ve been together for quite some time now.” “Where is this relationship going?” Guys who have been in relationships know this language all too well. But what is it? What is it about women who want to be married so badly. They say it’s about love and commitment, but is it really? Let’s break down some of those reasons as to why. And when I say the reasons I mean: love, commitment, children, outside pressure, and finances.  So let’s analyze these reasons. Breaking them down one by one is a good start to understand why men are pressured for marriage.

Love; now the first thing you’re thinking as a guy is why. Why must love be the result of a legal binding document? That’s what it is to us. Why is marriage more of a showing of love than just dating? Love is a deep feeling of some sort of affection. So what love is deeper than a lifetime commitment to someone. Maybe to women dating is just a simple gesture of affection that is the start to something more. But is it more than just love. What about other factors that play into women wanting men to marry.

Commitment is another reason women look at marriage the way that they do. It’s almost as if dating is seen as still being single, something trivial. As a matter of fact bachelor and bachelorette are supposed to be celebrations as your last night as a free man and women before you’re off the market. But weren’t you off the market for the time you were together up to this point? Then again if you cheat then it’s considered going outside the relationship. So to avoid anymore confusion marriage is that thing that makes it truly official. Well what are the other reasons that women are so adamant about getting married.

The wanting of children is another reason. Now as a guy we know that you don’t need marriage to have children. Well biologically you don’t, but when it comes to raising this child, marriage is seen as more of a stable environment. But then again, if a child is raised in the house with both their parents why do you need marriage. They come home to both parents, raised by both, see their parents love each other, so what is the purpose of marriage. It just seems that you can obviously have one and not the other.

Then, there are the outside influences such as friends and family. Men are less likely to care about what these outside forces may think about the relationship. But if women see other women close to them getting married, they will apply more pressure to the guy. Then again, a lot of them (outside influences) might not even be married, so why feel the pressure. I guess women don’t like how it looks. The look of things might be too much to bare for them.

In the end, I think for the most part all of the above are possible, but the main reasons have to do with finances. It’s not just the pooling together of finances. I think that when you’re married if he is sick or dies, you can’t lie claim to anything in the event something happens. You can if you’re his wife. But the other reason is more historical. Women throughout history were with guys, most married, and if the man left she was left herself high and dry. So women ask for a lot of the above things, but there is only one that can’t be achieved without marriage, financial claiming of assets. A tough topic to talk because as much as he doesn’t want to loss it, she want to gain it.

ALL FOR YOU (SHORT STORY)

It is toward the end of the day, and a group of senior girls are sitting in class. They are conversing regarding prom, while also congratulating a friend of theirs on what is her 18th birthday today. The birthday girl is so happy that she is 18 years of age and going to prom this weekend. The PA system sounds and the birthday girl’s name is called in class. On the other end of the PA system is a man’s voice, it’s her father. He not only wants to tell her happy birthday, but he has another important message as well.

DAD: Hello sweetie, this is your father, and I wanted to wish you a happy 18th birthday. Now I know this might make you feel uncomfortable, but please bare with me. This message is not only to tell you happy birthday, but something much more. 8lbs to be exact is what you weighed when you were first born. Holding you in my arms, made me realize for the first time in my life I loved something more than myself. Your mother was so fatigued after you were born, so I held you as she slept. Eventually the doctor carried you away to an incubator. And being the loving father that I am, I followed behind.

Looking at you from the other side of that glass, I was fixated on everything that was my infant daughter. From the cap the doctor placed on your head to wrist band with your birthing information. From your heartbeat to the machine that recorded it. I still remember being told by the doctor how you would have to stay in the hospital for a few days. The first night, I slept overnight in the hospital. Your mother fast asleep in the hospital room bed and I was curled up in a chair. The slightest noise at the room door, caused me to pop up out of my sleep. I’m telling you baby girl, being a first time parent you don’t know what to expect.

As you know, you came home and it’s what would be the start of our family. From the first night I laid you in your bassinet, I couldn’t help but to leave your bedroom door cracked slightly open. Even with a baby monitor, I needed more assurance. Everything about you, made me proud to call you my daughter. Your first words, your first steps, your first day of school. Oh, God, that first day.  Watching you get on that school bus with those other children was so painful. For the first few years, your mother and I kept you so close, now we had to turn you over to the world of academia.

I still remember driving close behind the school bus. I just wanted to make sure you got to school safely. And you know what, this wasn’t the first time I followed close by. Remember the time you wanted to walk to school alone when you were in the second grade. I said sure sweetie, but I walked close by. No one was getting close to you because I was close by. I realized in that moment you were growing into your own much faster than I anticipated. And boy did you grow. Watching you grow over the years, those adolescent years came fast. The parties, the arguments, the dating; nothing a father was ready to deal with.

But it came and I dealt with it the best way I knew how. So here we are, celebrating your 18th birthday. From the moment you came home from the hospital, I watched you grow into a amazing young woman. Everything I do, everything I’ve ever done has been for you. You know it’s funny as a man raising a daughter you have so many fears. You’re never ready to hear, dad I met a guy. But with those fears came a whole new level of appreciation. You taught me so much: you taught me how to listen, you taught me how to care, but most of all, you taught me how to love.

And not the love I have for your mother, but the love that forced me to my knees when I witnessed you take your first steps as a baby. The love I felt when you participated in your first gymnastics competition. And the love I felt watching you receive that acceptance letter to the college of your choice.

I don’t want to take up too much of your time in class, but you must know how much I care. You know, when you’re young, you think your parents are nagging at you. But I only talk because I know the world you’re up against. I talk because anything you needed to know and still need to know I wanted you to come to me. I want to let you know that I can’t promise I’ll be on this earth everyday. But what I will promise is that as long as I am on this earth, I’ll always be around. Anytime you need me, I’ll never turn my back on you. We may disagree, even argue from time to time. But until my dying day, I am only a phone call away.

So for the rest of the day, enjoy. Keep me in your heart and mind because you are in mind. You may be 18 years old, but my love as a parent is eternal. No matter how old you get, you’re my child and I am your father. And for that, I am a better man because of it. Love you always, Dad.