PULLING YOUR WEIGHT: WHY FAMILY IS MORE THAN JUST BLOOD

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“It’s all our job to pitch in.”


My grandmother grew up in the south and she used to tell me about how she at an early age had to be a farm hand. Not just her, but any siblings that were born during that time and old enough to work. Why did they have to work the farm, besides being told in her time period they had no choice, aiding the family. Everyone had to play a vital role in helping to move this family. It wasn’t one person had to work and everyone else kind of lived off of their hard work. But a lot has changed during that time period. Because my grandmother was born in the early 1930’s right after the Great Depression hit. So everyone really had to put their best foot forward. This was the all-encompassing group known as the Silent Generation where everyone just kept their mouths closed and did as they were told: work.

Some like to think that the introduction of the welfare system is what kind of made people remove themselves from the mind-frame of everyone pitching into the family. Because what was supposed to be a small contribution to help you get on your feet, has turned into a crutch. The thought process of something for nothing took hold. And the entire concept of family pulling their weight began to diminish. People in today’s society have this thought that just because we are related by blood that means something. Yet even in a family, you have to earn just as much as everyone else. If one person is contributing and that contribution ever gets lost, then the entire house falls down. So you need more people putting into the pot for the pot to sustain.

Because the core meaning of family is more centralized to just your parents and siblings. Then you have your overall family which consists of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. And last, you have the distant family members which are those you never see except once every so few years. But your first and foremost obligation is to your immediate family which is your spouse and children. This is the unit that receives the most attention and the most aid first. So you have to make sure everyone in this unit is doing their job, then look outward to the rest of family. But in the end, everyone must pull their weight. There can’t be one person working and everyone else kid of laid back on the sidelines. Because once it gets to that point, people have lost all respect for you and it comes too easy. And that’s when you either tell them to change or cut ties.


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WHEN BLOOD AINT BLOOD NO MORE: WHEN IT’S TIME TO CUT OFF FAMILY

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“Sometimes they’re worse than enemies.”


We are connected by blood, grew up with each other, and as you age you may have to cut them off: family. I have not had to make this decision, but there are people who have had to do so. I was listening to the radio when I heard a hip hop artist talk about having to cut off his own brother for stealing money from him. His brother stole $300,000 and now that relationship has to be severed. Because it’s not really about the money as it is about the idea of him ripping off his own family. How do you steal from someone so close to you? But that is when you see people’s real motives, and how far they are willing to go when they want something. So what are other reasons that one must cut off family from their lives? Well, what about the entitlement aspect of being related to someone.

In family, you are supposed to pull your weight and aid those in need when they do from themselves. But what happens when the person has this give me because we’re blood mentality. You are not entitled to have just because you’re blood. You’re also not obligated to care for family like a child or children, especially if the person/s are able-bodied adults. My grandmother told me about life growing up in the state of Mississippi. She said that every family had a plot of land, no matter how big or small. And it was very important you tended to that land everyday. Because if you didn’t tend to your land everyday, then you and family didn’t eat when crop came through for everyone else. Hopefully, a neighbor and/or family nearby had some leftover crop, otherwise you were screwed. And it was that thought process which kept people together. Kept people strong as one. You had to get up when everyone else was getting up and sleep as well.

But today, there is this built in ideology that since we have the same blood flowing through our veins we are indebted to each other. And what’s crazy is that we are not part of the architectural design of each other. You have to not only be there in good, but in bad as well. You have to expect to give as well as asking for something. And as my mother raised my sisters and myself, “If you don’t call that person on a consistent basis, then don’t call them when you need something.” She was telling us that you are supposed to deal on the basis of sentiment, not cents. Call them to say hello, not just because you see some benefit in it for you. And once it becomes a relationship built on I need, and give me, then you have to disconnect. Because now, the person/people don’t respect you anymore. Because it’s easy to make a demand when you have not done anything to get what you are asking for form the person.

In the end, it’s all about respect and boundaries. They have to understand you have a life and they have a life. There is nothing wrong with under-girding those that are close to you. But once the relationship comes to the point of me, me, me, and you’re sacrificing your own piece of mind, then you have to disconnect. Because you never love anyone more than you love yourself. Even if the it comes at the cost of losing people. You only have one obligation to one person in this world, and that is you. Help those around you, but understand that help is purely voluntary and not owed.


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GIVE EM THE FACTS: WHY MORE PARENTS SHOULD BE TRANSPARENT

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“Tell them so they don’t figure out the hard way.”


Ever since I was a child, my mother made it her business to prepare my and sisters and I for the world ahead. And it was quite helpful, as I can tell you so far everything I was taught I have experienced. From dealing with people who try to get over, to dealing with jobs and the stress that comes with that as well. But my question which ties into the topic today is, why don’t more parents prepare their children for the real world? And I don’t mean raising them to be responsible and hard working. I’m talking about, with what you experience. Tell them in detail how society has impacted your life, and the real relationships you’ll encounter in adulthood. Most parents either tell children, “You’ll see,” or “work hard.” But these are very vague responses. They don’t provide much insight.

And what do I mean by providing a little more insight. Tell children how, especially when you get out of school, that your degree alone won’t help them get a job. Tell them how when you get out, chances are, you’re going to be working a job you hate initially. Landing a dream job takes more skills and more work. Explain to them how your supervisor may ask you to do something, and when you do that order in which you were given, the order fails. Then instead of the boss taking respectability for being wrong, they transfer blame onto you. Because their incompetence will cost them their job, they have to make you look stupid. And you can’t flip out on them because you will lose your job, and you need your job. So you learn to suck it up even when you’re right, and you grow to resent your job. Tell them the whole game.

Explain to them when they get in relationships that there is a control aspect to being in the relationship. Someone may want to have the upper hand in your life just because they are with you. And this may require detaching from them, and starting fresh with someone else. Tell your child how emotional people get once they start having sex, and how someone might try to use this as a means of controlling you as well. Know when to get out of a toxic situation and how. But while you’re teaching them this, make sure to tell them that you should never give anyone any bit of your time not willing to reciprocate. You don’t want to be your child’s friend, but make them realize they should come to you before their friend because you and only you are in their best interest. Also tell them how to manage their finances.

Teach your child that when you get a check, you don’t run to the store and spend, spend, spend. Living for today and not tomorrow is not smart. We might not wake up tomorrow is a reality, but plan for tomorrow, hell even next week even if it doesn’t happen. Money can be considered the root of all evil, but you need it to survive. So explain how you may or may not need wealth, but you don’t want poverty. And tell them how they can be somewhere in the middle. Teach them to know what they’re getting into before they get involved. Meaning, if you are comfortable with all the risk of making a decision, make it, but also live with it. And in the end, everything I have said was explained to me by my mother growing up. She spoke to her children like adults, not like her kids. We knew because she told us; so now I ask you, “Do you tell yours the truth?”


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PARENTLESS BOND: WHY MEN’S ATTACHMENT WITH KIDS ISN’T THE SAME AS WOMEN

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“Her bond is different than our bond.”


When a woman is pregnant, there is a bond she creates with her child that no man is able to understand. The following link is of a video of a woman right after giving birth with her child exemplifying that bond between mother and child. (https://www.facebook.com/viralthread/videos/1317955175012988/) And I have always wondered, why don’t men have the same bond with the kid that the mother has. It’s because of human nature. But then I also began to think a little deeper as it pertains to fatherhood. And I have asked myself a question. When observing the human species as a mammal, were men meant to be in the lives of children? Was that evolution’s goal was to create an attachment? Or is being a father a human construct?

Because as a man, we have to build a relationship with that kid. Moms immediately have that bond because the baby grows inside of her. So the bond is more pure than with a man. That’s why when a woman leaves her child, it can be more hurtful than the father. But once again, does nature create these boundaries or do people have a hand in how we have relationships with children. In my opinion, I think it’s a little bit of both. We are very much dictated by social norms, yet nature is still there lingering. So what does this all mean regarding who we are as a species. And to narrow it down, I mean as men. Will there ever come a time where we will have that same connection?

And yes, I know as time goes on, children recognize us and we eventually become dad. But why does this exist. Because our biological attachment happens in the very very beginning. So by the time the human is fully created, we have no real attachment except for the creation of that human. But, I will say, there is something quite emotional once that kid arrives. There is a level of attachment that father has for that kid. The kid does not quite understand it, but the parent understands the importance of the parental-kid relationship. And that has a lot to do with our conscious as people.

And in the end, our consciousness gives us the ability to make sound decisions. And that decision is being there for your child. Other creatures in the wild generally let there children go at a far younger age than humans. But with the conscious we are given we stick around and raise them until we feel they have reached an appropriate age to leave the house. And without that, humanity most likely would not have lasted as long as we have lasted. Hopefully as time progress, we’ll find out more about ourselves.


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EAT TO YOUR HEART CONTENT: HOW WE BINGE ON DAYS LIKE TODAY AND MEANING BEHIND IT

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“Comfort food is the best food.”


Today is the 4th of July, marking the 241st year that the Declaration of Independence was signed. But this topic today is not about the celebration. Today’s topic is about all the food that will be consumed from cookouts today. We all look forward to the holidays because it gives us an excuse to binge on all the food we want to eat. As a kid growing up, my mother would take my sister and I to the parade. We would sit there until the parade was nearly over, then head to the cookout at a family member’s house. And you can just about guess the food that lined the picnic tables.

I’m talking all kinds of good eating: Catfish, meatballs, fried chicken, baked chicken, pork chops, meatloaf, turkey, honey ham, brats, BBQ ribs, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, cabbage, sweet rolls, black eyed peas, mashed Related imagepotatoes, fried okra, yams, sweet potatoes, corn bread. The meat would be smothered in two to three types of gravy; soda, Kool aid, juice, sweet tea, some brews, and water would be the beverages of choice. And it didn’t stop there, you can’t forget about the desserts: banana pudding, chocolate pies, sweet potato pie, lemon pies, egg pies, German chocolate cake, pound cake, and ice cream.

The above food was the meals my family would consume on this holiday. But now that I am an adult, I don’t look at the holidays the same anymore. Not that they are not important, it’s just that living on my own, cooking on these days are not as special. I could always go to visit family, yet it’s not the same. Now most would say, start your own family. But I am far from ready for a family of my own. I think back to when I was growing up and the meals the family would have together. As time went on, people married, moved away, and some even passed away. Now, it seems far less special as when I was young.

And I guess that’s why these once great times to eat together have changed. There were children that used to fill the premises, and adults as well. But eating as a family, especially on holidays takes on new meanings. That Image result for soul food desserts banana puddingfeeling of being stuffed and sitting back with your pants zipper undone is not quite there anymore. Now the portions have gotten cut down because we have to live after the cookout. Fewer children and more teens who themselves are thinking about moving outside the home town for college. So now, there are middle aged to elderly adults left.

 

 

And in the end, the 4th of July reminds me of the great meals as a child. The firework show, even consuming small portions of leftovers the next day. You know, I never looked at the 4th as an Independence holiday, rather a special day family came together to have a feast.


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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY: WHAT DOES THIS DAY MEAN TO YOU

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“I may not have children, but what a feeling it must be.”


Today is the day we celebrate all the fathers in society. The men who are the protectors of their families. The ones that awaken early in the morning and arrive home late into the evenings. But now I ask the question to you; what does today to mean to you? What are some thoughts that come to mind when you think about father’s day? And that does not necessarily have to be your father. It can be a grandfather, cousin, uncle, or even a sibling. Who in your life has influenced you that deserves to be celebrated on this day? Let me explain how each of these men are deserving of this title as father.

How about a sibling, how does a sibling effect you by them being a father? I have not had this privilege given I have two sisters, but there are people who have siblings that impact them. For example, you want children and you have an older brother or younger brother with children. Their relationship with their children may rub off on to you choosing a mate to have children with in your life. You might say to yourself, “I want to have children with a man who is a father like my brother.” Well, what about men you know who are related to you such as your uncles.

That makes a lot of sense, uncles are siblings to your parents or your grandparent’s siblings. Usually your parent’s siblings are a good gauge for influencers in your life as fathers. If you didn’t have your father growing up, your uncles, who generally are your parent’s siblings may be able to step in and assist you. Especially if you are a boy growing up. Your uncle could be pivotal in your development as a young man in a life where you are growing up without a father figure. Yet, there is still one more person that is an important father figure in life, and that is your grandfather.

Grandfathers who have been through the majority of life. They know and understand the full road ahead of you, especially as a boy. They can prepare you for manhood. And as a girl, give you a good overall feel for the type of family man she should want as a husband. You’re able to gauge how great this man is by watching the offspring of him. The children, grandchildren, who have come from this person. The love and respect that people have for this man. He is a perfect embodiment of what a young boy would like to be and what a young girl want to marry. But of course, last but not least, your own father.

We always talk about the woman carry the baby in her womb. But what about the connection fathers have with their children. What about the fathers who understand their job is to prepare their sons for the world ahead. Or how about the girls who are going to most likely use her relationship she has with her father as a means to choose a guy for herself. And having these children as a father, you can learn so much from them. These children teach you how to be young again. Your sons interest themselves in your hobbies you onced loved as a young boy. And your daughters teach you how to love much more than you do now.

See, in the end, a father is more than just the initial process in the child birthing stages. They are important and pivotal all throughout the life of a child. And a kid or children raised with a strong father, it manifest itself in how they make decisions as they get older. Which is why you should involve yourself in their lives as much as possible. Because can you never get those times back not spent with them.


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OH, HE’S BLACK: THE OBJECTION TO DATING BLACK MEN

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“Why they object.”


I read a recent post on Instagram where a statement was made regarding model Ashley Graham. She is currently married to a Black male and stated that at first members of her family were apprehensive. See, if you haven’t already guessed she is White and he is Black. But why, why is it still an issue of whom you bring home of another ethnic group? But most of all, why is it persona non grata, in dating Black men? As a Black male myself, you know all the stereotypes connected. But all men and women have them in some shape or another. Yet it is us who parents are the most against in dating their daughters.

All the reasons for not wanting a female to date Black men I have heard them over and over again. But these same responses exist in other men. People say their reasons as if it is perfection on the other side. Then what is the real reason for not wanting your daughter dating Black men. One reason is that even though we are told racism is not much of an issue today like in the past, there is a fear. You know that if your child does give birth, chances are, it will look more African American than anything else. And you know that people in society are prejudice. It’s easy to say I am lying, but when your grandchild comes home after being teased and discriminated against, it becomes a different story.

You become forced to face the inevitable. How do you tell your grandchild it is all in your head? Easy to say to me, not so easy to say to them when we live in the real world where these types of people exist. But another reason why parents are so apprehensive is because of fear of what might happen to their child. And I don’t mean from the man, but society. She is now in the line of fire just as much as me. Everything he is subjugated to, she is touched just as much for being with him. So it’s yet another smack dab in your face situation. No parent wants to deal with the idea of their daughter coming home crying because she was threatened because of who she dates. But this is a reality when in an interracial relationship.

Well, why won’t people confront their families. I mean, if you don’t agree with it should be easy right; wrong. If anything it’s harder because your family are not people you chose, but they are the only family you have. So if your interracial relationship don’t workout, they have to work. So the tolerance of dealing with family is higher than a relationship because family is more guaranteed. And that leads me to my third reason people are apprehensive. You can lose a lot when choosing to date outside your ethnicity. Because you might not get opportunities because you’re with who you’re with. You think it’s because someone else is better, it might be because who you are dating rubs people the wrong way.

In the end, I don’t think the views will change that much. I know me as a Black male, and as a overall human being. If people are not willing to accept me for me, I don’t believe I could deal with it. But I guess some people want the other person that much. And I guess that’s what it boils down to; how much you want that other person. Others are not willing to give up that much, but some are, and for the ones that give everything up, it’s worth it.


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