Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day- and why men are necessary

Father’s Day rolls around each year to less and less fanfare. For Mother’s Day, we see ads for at least a week before the holiday. For Father’s Day, we see a couple of ads on tv and in the magazines that encourage you to buy ties, or barbeque steaks a few days before the holiday. We all know that Father’s Day isn’t the cash cow that Mother’s Day is, but that has a lot to do with how we view the role of a father in society today.

                Fathers have become expendable. So often, women say that they in their families they are both father and mother. Saying this over and over is embedding a negative thought process in our psyche. It’s saying that men are not necessary in our families and it’s leading to something even worse- the continuation of dysfunctional families.

                Don’t get me wrong, women have been the backbones of our family units for centuries. But in today’s society, we must contend with the fact that not all females are nurturers or mother material simply because they are women. There are women who walk away from the children that they birth and even worse, there are more and more cases of mothers killing the children that they birth. But we like to slide that under the rug and talk about the men who are absent in our family unit.

                I’d like to challenge your thinking and encourage you to see how necessary men are in our families. First off, unless the sperm is present, there is no fertilizing the egg to even have conception. Men are necessary. Yes, my hat goes off to the women that have to raise their children alone due to death or incarceration or simple absence of the man that took part in that conception process. But let’s be honest. Most of the time, it’s not blindsiding you that this man left you alone with a child. That man that left you is the same man that you chose to sleep with. Maybe you weren’t mature enough to think about that when you slept with him, but that no good man that you rant about is not paying you child support, probably couldn’t keep a job before you slept with him. He just looks less sexy now that he’s not providing for you and your child.

                There is contradiction in the way that women claim that they don’t need a man, but complain that they want one and that there are no good ones available. Men are necessary. Have you questioned what it is in you that only allows you to see the men that aren’t good material? And let’s think, just because he’s not good with you doesn’t mean he’s not a good man. It may just mean he’s not a good fit for you.

                Women have to take responsibility as well for cleaning up the way that we view men in society. Too many women have been raised to think that we don’t need men in their families simply because a man was not present in theirs. But that doesn’t mean that men are not necessary. From this mindset, we have women in confusion- wanting a man in their lives to provide comfort, security, and love and companionship, but not knowing how to accept a man in our lives to do so because you don’t know what that looks like or what it feels like. This is why so many women are experiencing failed intimate relationships.

                Knowing what a healthy relationshp looks like starts from childhood. Feeling that love and support from a father enables you to know what to look for when you are dating and looking for a mate. As a result of fathers not being in the home or being absent, we have women with low self-esteem, and inflated senses of responsibility and ego who state “I don’t need a man. I can do a man’s job” as they sit lonely and complaining that there are no good men. Women are confused as to why they can’t find a good man or maintain relationships or why men are always saying that women are so angry- especially black women. It’s because of the initial break down in our family unit. It has been drilled in our heads that men are not necessary, but you are confused by the fact that you want one in your life- so there goes the push and pull of contradiction. How can you maintain a positive and healthy relationship when possibly neither you nor your mate knows what one looks like?

                Trust me when I say that our children hear us loud and clear when they see and hear women say that men are not necessary. For our girls, it tells them that they are destined to live a life full of working to overcompensate for something that is missing and that they will have to perpetually go without the fundamentals- love and security. For our boys, it tells them that they don’t count and that no one cares about them and that they are not capable of loving and providing. Then we wonder why are boys are destructive and our girls are either overly needy for a man’s attention or they are too cold to accept the attention of a good man.

                When will things change? How can things change? If you look at most religions, there is the pairing of male and female. In most societies, there is masculine and feminine energy because it is meant to be a balance of both.

                I submit to you that men are more than someone to teach sports or how to fix a car. Men are providers and as head of household, provide an amount of stability that is balanced out by feminine energy. We have to stop speaking into the universe that men are not needed in our families and start to view men as necessary in our lives and homes.

                I say all of this as someone who did experience growing up without a father. My dad left us when I was about 12. Not only did he leave my mom, but he was not physically or emotionally there for us after leaving our home. It’s not something that I talk about much, but it began to shape the way that I viewed the role of men in our families. I saw my mother make it without him and I loved that strength and I knew that women were strong and capable of anything. But I also learned that the love that my mom had for me and my sister couldn’t replace her need for companionship.

 My paternal grandfather taught me what I wanted to know about what it means to have a successful marriage and what to look for in a potential husband. I don’t know what it feels like to have your father cock the shotgun because your date shows up at your door. I’ve never had a conversation with my father about dating or marriage. My mom talked with me about those things, but my grandfather gave it to me from a male perspective- something my mother could never do.

                When my husband proposed, when I told my mom, she talked to me about maintaining my independence in the relationship as I become a wife and a mother. She taught me how to balance my life in the midst of wearing all of those hats. What my grandfather told me was something my mother couldn’t. My grandfather told me what a man is supposed to bring to the table in marriage. His first question for me was, “What’s his vice?” My answer, “Working hard.” He approved and said that meant that he would be a man that would provide at any cost. He also told me how men view marriage, fatherhood, and relationships and try as she might, my mother couldn’t give me any information like that and what my grandfather told me what is important. Men are necessary.

                So, now as a mother of both a son and a daughter, I know how important it is to have that male influence in their lives. My husband provides the balance that is needed in our household. I’m happy that their father is there 24/7 and takes part in every area of their lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband has to teach my daughter what kind of man she should date and teach my son what kind of woman is appropriate to bring home to mama. I look forward to the day that my husband cocks his shotgun and scares the living daylights out of some poor little boy.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

No New Year's Resolutions!!

"You've got to get the mind cleared out before you put the truth in it."- Minister Lous Farrakhan

I stopped making New Year's Resolutions a long time ago. Mostly because about 2 or 3 months into the new year, I couldn't remember what I had resolved to change. Instead, I set goals every 3 months. It's like doing spring cleaning every few months. It's great because it makes me reassess where I am in life. It also forces me to see where I'm falling short.

Most of the time, I have a bunch of ideas swimming in my head. When I'm goal setting it forces me to decide whether the idea is one that I can live without trying. I'm the type of person that could never live with regret. I'd wake up and kick myself everyday if I let an opportunity pass me by. I can deal with failure- it's a part of trying, but could never live with the "what if".

After 3 months, I go back to my goal sheet and check off the things that I've accomplished. It usually makes me feel pretty good to know that I've completed something. The things that are not completed are usually those ideas I had swimming in my head that I really didn't need to focus on anyway. I've come to understand that some of the ideas I have are not for me. Sometimes they come to me to share with someone else for them to complete. And I'm okay with that.

So, I didn't eat the collard greens and black eyed peas. Truth is, it has never really worked anyway. What does work is determination, discipline, and focus. I consistently have one of those three, the other two, I have to work on. And no, I haven't promised myself anything crazy by making resolutions. I set goals so that I change my lifestyle overall.

Here are some keys to goal setting:

1. Be realistic. No you will not become an astronaut next year when you haven't even finished undergraduate school. But there is potential for you to enroll in business classes since you want to become an entrepreneur.

2. Don't listen to what other people say. Some people may not understand your goals when you think outside of the box.

3. Your goals should reflect who you are and those things that you are most passionate about.

4. Now is the time. If you went to school to become a teacher, but you always wanted to be an interior decorator, set some goals to move yourself in that direction today!

Here's wishing you and yours a beautiful and prosperous 2012!!!

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