How Can We, As Parents, Live the Values of Martin Luther King Jr.?

Love this.

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When we think of the civil rights movement, we may think of a country divided. But Martin Luther King Jr.’s message and the vision that galvanized so many to act bravely in the face of fear, consisted of values that any person in any corner of the world can aspire to. They are values that, when lived, have the potential to unify. So when you are talking with your children today about why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., be sure and include those values that he articulated and modeled and that so many were able to demonstrate through their actions. Think about small ways in which you might demonstrate those values in your day-to-day life. If you do so, you will be honoring the memory of all those throughout time whose lives and livelihoods were threatened and despite that, made choices that aligned with the best of who we…

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How Long Is Too Long?

To stay in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to take things to the next level? I often wonder what makes women stay in relationships for years with men that never marry them. What is it about that man that makes you stay, love, take care of, share and have children with that makes you accept that he doesn’t want to marry you?

Marriage is not for everyone. Trust me. I know. But, if you want to get married, why do you settle for a life that is not what you really want? For love? For comfort? For security?

I’m an advocate for truth. Living your truth. Whatever that may be. You are the only one that can control your destiny and your happiness.

I met a gentleman in his 30’s who told me that he’s been living and dating his girlfriend for the last 10 years. They are not married. They have a 4 year old son. He said “Marriage isn’t everything. I have her on my life insurance policy.”

I paused mid-drink to educate my young friend on the fact that he is not owning or living in his truth. I said, “Sweetie, why are you wasting that young woman’s life? You don’t want to marry her. She is not “the one” that you can imagine living the rest of your life with. She’s not bad. She has no notable flaws that will make you leave her. She’s enough. But, you want more than enough. So, you’re stringing her along until you meet the one because she is accepting it.”

He listened as I continued to say that “A man knows the woman he wants. He knows the one his heart yearns for and he will do whatever it takes to make her his. He doesn’t half-step. A man commits. A man sees, loves and claims that woman as his wife. To carry his last name and bear his dynasty.” He stared at me as I said, “She’s not that one for you. Let her go. Don’t waste her time if you are not the man for her and she’s not the one for you. Don’t be selfish. There’s honor among living in the truth.”

He swallowed his drink and smiled. I said, “Watch, if you two break up you’re the same one who will get married a year after meeting another woman. Your son’s mother will hurt because she can’t understand why. She won’t be able to accept that it wasn’t her. She could have accepted it after year 3. But, she stayed. She prayed. She believed.”

We said our good-byes and I sat back wondering when will women start taking control of their own lives. Why do we allow someone to string us along hoping that he will commit? That he will want to spend the rest of his life with us because that’s all we want. The power is yours. You decide what’s best for you.

Even if it means walking away.

My Commencement to My 18 Year Old Self

It’s funny that at this time right now when people are graduating that I should be re-evaluating or evaluating my life as well. You know, wishing I had known things that I know now. Thankful for the things that I didn’t know then that probably would have scared the heck out of me. So, it got me to thinking about what I would say to myself at 18 at my high school commencement.

Why? Because no one remembers the speech the valedictorian gave. High school (much like college) was filled with papers, my senior thesis, community activism and parties and I really can’t remember what was commenced. But, if I could for just one moment go back and give my younger self a message it would be this…

  • You are bigger than your problem. Sometimes things will happen to you that you are unprepared for. Mountains will seem unmovable and your problems will seem insurmountable, but you should not distress love. You will be okay. Your student loans will be more than your paycheck and you can’t figure out why your boss is a raging lunatic and you want to walk out the door, but don’t fret love. You will get through this.

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  • Love will hurt. You won’t end up with your childhood love, but that is a fairy tale. Life is different. You will fall in love, get married, live in NYC, have a baby, separate and divorce and you won’t even begin to scratch the surface on the issues you both had. Drink lots of wine and understand that this pathetic period of self-pity can only last for two weeks. You have bills to pay, a job to get to and a child to raise. He needs you. Yes, you will lose some friends, some respect for some people and money because everyone knows that divorce is costly, but you will get through it. Love hurts. You will need to remember what your mom said, “Ain’t no shame in starting over.” You can start over. You will start over. You will know your worth.

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  • You will become a mom. I know it is hard to believe that you will become a mother, but it is true. You will be 32 when you feel your beautiful son kick for the first time. He will be born the April after you turn 33. I know you never wanted children, but I promise you that he is awesome. He will bring more smiles than tears and more hugs than heartache. He is perfect. Perfect for you. He will restore your faith in men and you will have the opportunity to raise a beautiful man to become a wonderful husband to a woman someday. But, be careful sis. The war on our black boys takes center stage as your son is growing. He will be feared. He will be hated. He will be despised. He will be labeled. You have to stand up for him. You have to fight for him with all your might because you are the rib of man. You have to teach him how to love in spite of society’s attitudes. He will love you just for you being you.

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  • Forgiveness is free. You spend so much time carrying grudges and being mad at those that hurt you that it is literally like putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. Look, you don’t have to ever forget those that hurt you. In fact, I encourage you not to. But, what you need to do is forgive yourself. Forgive yourself of the guilt that you carry because you hate what people have done to you. When you forgive those that have wronged you and when you forgive yourself of the guilt you carry you will realize that your burden seems lighter. You will know the true meaning of “thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” You will be comforted because of your faith and the Comforter hears your cries. He hasn’t forsaken you.

  • Take your time. There is no rush to decide what you want to be when you grow up. Allow yourself the opportunity to discover what makes you happy. Whether it is in law or human resources. You deserve to take your time trying to figure out what you want to do. I mean who really knows what they want to do at 18? You should try different things and just go with what you can make a living at. Remember like mom always says, “You have to be able to support yourself”. Trust me — you will.

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  • You are beautiful. You spend so much time hiding your true you that it is at the end of your marriage that you will truly shed your layers and become comfortable in your skin. This is a good thing. You are beautiful. Intimately created by the man up stairs and you know what? You should rock that short shift dress and show off those honey colored thighs. Your momma gave them to you. Don’t hide behind baggy jeans and big shirts. Love that awkward shaped nose and big arms. Your curves are gorgeous. They tell your story and yes you have a butt that others will try to emulate by taking injections. Keep your head up and rock the skinny jeans sis! You are beautiful.

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All in all, just remember where your help comes from. Don’t allow your pride to stop you from asking for help. Allow others to get close to you. Enjoy the ride baby girl because it will be bumpy!

When Can We Hook Up?

Apparently, dating has changed in the 14 plus years since I entered the realm. I wasn’t really a dater prior to my marriage, but I definitely think I can pass now that I’m at the end of it. I don’t like dating. But, apparently a lot of men don’t either. What ever happened to chivalry, manners and just plain respecting women when asking them out? I have heard it all:

-When can you and I hook up?
-When can I come over?
-When can I see you?
-Are you available anytime?

My responses have been as such:

-Are you asking me on a date or for something inappropriate?
-Never. I don’t invite strange men to a home that I share with my child.
-Are you asking me on a date? Give me a couple of dates, times and locations and we can make a plan to meet.
-Nope, I’m a mother and my son is my first priority. Again, provide a couple of dates, times and locations and we can try and get together.

When sharing my frustrations with my girls, I realized that I’m not alone. A lot of women are frustrated with the lack of just plain common sense when it comes to dating. They don’t know how to ask you on a date and they assume that a couple of meals means sex. Umm, no. One of my girlfriends posted this to my Facebook page the other day:

be a man

How appropriate and right on time right? Just this weekend a gentleman asked me “When can I see you?” I responded, “Are you asking me on a date? Be direct and pick a couple of dates and locations and then I can respond.” He said, “Okay”. However, when we talked later his response was maybe Friday or Saturday. I don’t want to make plans and then something comes up and we have to cancel. I responded…”Okay, I hear you and that’s fine. However, I will say this…if I should make plans with someone else on either days and you call me the day of, the answer will be no. You snooze you loose.” He said, “Okay, I understand. I will call you later on this evening and set something up.”

He never called and it didn’t bother me, it just reminded me of something that I always say. I have morals. I have values and I am not like other women you may encounter. I don’t do hook-ups and I don’t mind paying for my own meal if things don’t work out. I know who I am and I know my worth. I want friendship and humor. Nothing more, nothing less. I am not willing to accept anything I don’t deem valuable. So, if you should encounter me on this road and we travel for a moment and you don’t seem to be riding next to me, I will politely say, “Thank you for the time we have spent traveling on this road, but I’m going to exit to the right while you go left. Peace.” Simple, but accurate because in the end, this post describes me perfectly…

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