That's the reason you're here anyway, right?
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.