That's the reason you're here anyway, right?
I once read an article by Jada Pinkett Smith and she called Will’s oldest child her “Bonus-Son.” I love that. When I hear “bonus” I think of an additional and unexpected reward. The partnership between her and Trey’s mom, Sheree, is impeccable. According to Jada and Sheree in their recently aired Red Table Talk episode, it hasn’t always been easy and they haven’t always gotten along.
“A letter to a friend:
Blended families are NEVER easy, but here’s why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation because... we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package...Period! If I didn’t want that...I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey...I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him...his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other... but we have learned to LOVE each other.” –Jada Pinkett Smith
When I accepted my husband’s proposal I also vowed to love his children as my own and to care for them. I was 22 when we met and somewhat clueless as to what “LOVING THEM” meant. It is more that cooking for them, laughing with them, taking pictures, and hanging out. Relationships were rocky and my husband felt defeated in his fight for them and at points he would stop fighting. I thought preaching to him and badgering him would help him to want to rebuild. I wasn’t helping the situation at all. After about 4 years of being in his life, I learned to back off. I still would express my opinion but I had to learn when to leave it alone. One of my bonus babies is 5 ½ years old and I’ve been in her life for most of her life, so when things are rocky it affects me. How do I fix that? I learned to stop talking and start praying. I kind of feel like I tried too hard in the beginning. I mean, I was genuine but maybe I pushed too hard for a relationship or friendship with them.
They’re beautiful children and so full of personality and character. Honestly, children are usually stuck in middle of adults who can’t seem to get along or agree to co-parent effectively and they feel pulled in different directions. We fail to realize that our feelings and frustrations are irrelevant when it comes to our babies. I have always been open and willing to being THAT bonus mom.
Anyway, what have I learned from being a “Bonus Mom” in the last 6 years?
Protecting your peace can also mean logging off and disconnecting from the social media world. It can mean just living and taking self-care time. When we hear “protect your peace” we consider those who are physically around us on a daily basis, but what about those who we are connected to in the cyber world? We take on the negativity of others daily. Our eyes and ears, also known as our spiritual gates, become dumping ground to our spirits when we read and watch content that is unclean and then we wonder why our moods change and why our spirits/hearts are heavy.
Be a spiritual health freak! Your soul is just as, if not more, important than your body. Be sure that your soul is healthy. Social media has become more and more depressing, as people have made it a news center, personal diaries, and virtual boxing ring #ItsACesspool #ProtectYourPeace #Logoff
PS. Social media is not all bad. It helps me stay connected to people who are important to me but far away, but sometimes I just need a break
I want to explain something...
I had an "Aha" moment last week. I grew up having both of my parents in the house with me until I was 15, even after my parents divorced, both parents were present! But I also grew up around a multitude of fatherless (and sometimes motherless too) boys in my life. They were called thugs and told they would be nothing.
When you're a child, especially an African-American male child, and you have no one there to affirm that you can be anything you want and that you are important, you BELIEVE what your teachers, family members, CHURCH members, and everybody else tell you about yourself. You believe that you're worthless. You believe that your days are leading you to a dead-end. Death, prison, or poverty is what they have to look forward to. I commend grandparents, foster parents and other guardians for stepping up and taking care of children that don’t necessarily belong to them, my grandmother did it and my mother is doing it now; however, there is always a void left when children have to wonder why their parents didn’t want to be there. Some children handle that void differently than others.
I have, with my own ears, heard mothers tell their sons “Stop crying like a little b**ch!” They’re conditioned to suppress their emotions and man up when no one has ever been there to tell them what “man up” even means. Crying is a sign of weakness in the black community. We expect them to forget about all that happened to them and magically grow up to be model citizens, and stand-up husbands and perfect fathers. How??? We try to beat them into behaving without getting to the root of their issues. The people who conceived and birthed them deserted them, neglected, and/or ignored them for temporal satisfactions, addictions, or for a man/woman. Some of our sons are even sexually abused but expected to man up. Some watch their mothers be abused by their fathers or step-fathers.
All of this is happening to them with NO PROFESSIONAL HELP. No Therapy. No counseling. They’re just told to get over it all and be a man with no manual and no real examples. Just stop being a b-word and figure it out. You’re a man; we don’t care about your feelings because you shouldn’t have any except for when it’s time to love your wife and children. Hmm… see how that sounds? If we don’t show them real love, how will they know love and how to provide it?
My grandmother’s house was the hang out spot. Over the years, I watched boys become men doing the same thing they were doing 20 years before. I’m not knocking anyone but my grandmother, being the sweet soul that she was, opened her home to all and it made her house a target of violence and a lot of my family members were vacuumed into becoming products of their environments.
We fail children when we force them to grow up with no guidance and unfit examples to follow. Parents set their children up for failure when they selfishly conceive children that they aren’t prepared to make sacrifices for. “I gotta live my own life too” is the most selfish statements I have heard come from parents.
So what happens? Some of these men find “love, loyalty, respect, and popularity” in the streets. It’s hard recovering from the streets. The streets hands him over to the system, the system may spit him back to the streets. Now he can’t find a decent job if he wants to. So now back to the streets and then back to the system. Do you see the cycle? This is not always the case but most times it is.
Do you recognize someone you know in this? How do you help him? Empower him. Pray for him. Love him. Don’t enable him to continue in his cycle. Hold him accountable for his actions and life. Be a friend… a listening ear. Tell him that we all cry sometimes and it is okay. He has that right because life has been rough for him. Tell him you believe in him. He can do whatever he sets his mind to. Mentor him. Offer him a way out. Tell him about Jesus because Jesus transforms people. He won’t change overnight but I bet your positive affirmations make a huge difference.
If you have children, show them attention, love, and affection. Allow them to feel and just be there. If they experience something traumatic get them PROFESSIONAL help. If they show signs of mental illness, GET THEM HELP, professional help. Our people tend to believe that if you are physically healthy, then you’re perfectly fine.
P.S This is not to bash parents but to bring awareness to a real issue in our community. Sometimes the cycle goes on from generation to generation. Granddad was a rolling stone, so Dad wasn’t loved properly so he couldn’t love properly and the cycle continues on and on. We call this a generational curse.
Disclaimer: Ladies, this is not an excuse to put up with foolishness.