Category Archives: Responsibility

Raising Queens and Kings

As a father of a nineteen year old daughter and a fourteen year old son, I often reflect on the direction on which I’ve sent each of them. The standards differ based on their ability and their expectations. Because I do not expect my son to behave like a woman, nor do expect my daughter to behave like a man, I must model for them what I’ve determined to be appropriate gender roles.

When my son is left to his own devices he exhibits childlike mannerisms: wanting without working, playing until exhaustion, but feigning any responsibility to his home or for his actions…

And so I address it. We discuss it. I model an alternative to what he does and emphasize positive outcomes. It’s not easy. But it’s not supposed to be.

My daughter has always been more mature, but not without childish mannerisms. The women in her life, of course, take every opportunity to bestow upon her how to be a successful woman.

As I watch, I cannot help but observe some of the practices they’ve taught her. I wish we could simply raise our children up to be ADULTS; model citizens, hard workers, self-sufficient. But it is not enough. My daughter must also be a strong woman (especially when her counterparts are weak). She must be caring even when no one else cares. She will undoubtedly become as much of her mother as she becomes a fruit of me.

I worry that I’ve not given her enough. I see around me women who struggle with the world around them. It is men who’ve stopped caring that force the women to compensate. But more often I notice the women in our lives, the matrons of our family, and our lady leaders who must compromise–women who are forced to make tough decisions because their men were unable or impotent.

I wish this world were kinder to our women. I wish my daughter were not being taught how to “handle” men to get what she wants. Although her “compromise game” is weak, her “compensate game” is strong. She needs no one. But she’s offered the support from women who had to resort to manipulation and trickery for their own survival.

She’s accompanied a grandmother who chased her husbands away and a mother who couldn’t trick her husband into giving her what she wanted. They now press their prodigy to take their advice. She’s told to give to the young man who hasn’t found his way yet, but to spend no time with someone who challenges her ability. They’ve denied their own role in driving their lovers away. But they offer encouragement on how to find happiness without a “good man.”

The narrative changes depending on who tells the story. As a father who hoped he’s modeled what a strong man looks like, what a dedicated man does, and how a passionate man loves, no man can truly deserve my princess (in my opinion). I encourage her to hold on to what I’ve modeled.

But there’s another perspective–the female perspective. The mother perspective counters most of what this father models. This mother says, “forget him!” It says,”you don’t need him…”. It pronounces that, ” he’s nothing because he refused to GIVE me what I want…”

A mother’s distaste of the father equals poison in the development of a child. As a father I see it. And although I have no antidote, I can offer a vaccine.

“Daughters, we love you! Listen to what your mothers tell you, but recognize that there’s another side to that advice,” urges this father.

Don’t take the advice from a bitter person. Know that your father’s revenge is a successful life. We seek Queens to build our kingdom. This is why we’ve raised you to be princesses.

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Catylist 

He was the catylist. He brought about an inadvertant change.  And her life would not be the same.  First in his mother, and then in the life of every woman whose life he touched thereafter.  

After every guilt-ridden argument he had with his mother (especially in his teenage years), he was left reminded that he was a complicated birth. “The doctor told me that I shouldn’t have you.”

“But you are our love child…”

“We wanted you!”

“And this is how you behave?!?”

And in true Oedipus psychology, he fell in love with a woman who is very much like his mother. He overlooked mental health and insecurity when he proposed. And their love-child was not only conceived in love, but raised with praise. He loved his daughter with his whole heart.  And that level of insecurity was too much for his wife.

He discarded the insecurity as jealousy. And he excused the jealousy to keep his own sanity; and by ignoring what he thought might be wrong, he enabled a woman who otherwise would not be able to get out of her own way.

He watched her destroy a relationship after relationship. She eventually partnered with his mother to collaborate and destroy his inner being. They wanted him to believe that he was crazy. Their private meetings were filled with how to manipulate him.

When he realized what was happening he confronted them both.  He refused to deal with the recent loss of both his brother and his father. He mustered what strength he had to assert his authority in his own life.

The fallout was immeasurable. This was his first lesson (of many to come) that he can no longer be too nice to the wrong people. He internalized that he created this problem.  He believed that the turmoil in his life was a direct result of him being kind for too long.

Every relationship thereafter came with caution-and a fear of betrayal. He would trust strangers more than his loved ones. It did not take long for new relationships to deteriorate as a result of his mistrust.

He began to realize that building walls was not only good for keeping others out, but keeping the wrong element in.  He wondered if he was keeping the wrong people too close. So he removed his walls and let everybody in.  He had to be on guard more than ever.  He began to question everything.  

Questioning everything evolved into challenging authority or anyone who tried to have dominion over him.  He believed that only if he understood the world around him, he could be a part of positive change. All he wanted was to leave the world a little bit better and he had found it.

He knew that if he modeled strong manhood and effective leadership, his daughter and son would come to have the moral fortitude that others lacked.

He wasn’t wrong.  

He grew stronger.  His eyes opened.  He awakened to a world that loved…

He became excited and built new relationships.  These relationships were stronger and healthier.  He became discerning.  He began to choose his own destiny.  His energy inspired others. But he didn’t want to inspire as much as he wanted to help.  Instead of allowing his passions to keep him from the people he loved, he encouraged them to love life with him.  

He loved. He loved life.  He loved people.  He loved the creations that God formed.  He acknowledged bad things as necessary evils to evoke change.  

He became aware of his passion.  He prayed more.  He took better care of his body.  He considered the alternatives.  He explored his options.  He moved away from what he knew.   He became uncomfortable.  His discomfort became tradition until he learned to be more mobile.  Now he can’t stop.  He was once lured drama.  But he learned  that drama can inhibit. He wanted to focus more on growth.

He became a catylist for change by rejecting the norm.  He won’t look back.  Never look back…

Eyes Wide Shut

(The puzzle pieces do not match the picture on the puzzle box)


How long will you labor over misunderstandings, confusion, and mess before you pause?  How long will you question and ponder the reasons before you slow down and step back?  How long before you stop planning and strategizing before you hault?

Be still. Close your eyes. Listen. Then stop listening.  Shut out the noise.  Put your hands down.  Breathe.  What do you smell? 

Does it smell good?  Or is it bull…?

Open your eyes.  Move about.  Stop.  Look around.  Breathe.  Is it the same?

When your position changes, but your perspective does not…STOP.  

How many times will you restrategize before you surrender?  This energy that we consume fighting a fight in a sea of complacency…

Who are we fighting for?  Are we fighting collectively?  Or are we fighting alone?

Breathe. 

 
Are we missing some of the pieces to the puzzle? Are we forcing pieces to fit despite the fact that the puzzle will never be complete.  Will we be satisfied with a partial result?  

Are our objectives aligned?   Are we fighting for the same thing?  Are we fighting each other?  Are we controlling access to some of the puzzle pieces?  Would you do that?  Why?

We are struggling daily with forces that we perceive as negative.  The change-makers will make change.  But what will they change?  Will they change their position?  Will they change their approach?  Or will they change their minds? 


There are answers.  We just don’t know the questions yet.  

We have someone fighting us right now.  They think they know why.  So do we.  But we are wrong.  We are all wrong.  

There’s another way.  Close your eyes.  Be still…

Suspend the Rules

We deal in the “what if’s”

when recognizing how fortunate we are

We convince ourselves that there’s a single point

in our own personal history that our life changed

(for the better or for the worst)

 

But let’s suspend the rules

Let’s release…

Let’s offer the responsibility up to a force greater than our own.

Things happen!

 

We convince ourselves that things happen for a reason.

As intellectuals, we accept the premise of cause and effect.

Things happen…

 

…and we convince ourselves that we can take measures to prevent

…things from happening.

 

Be humbled.  Accept that we don’t know!

 

Not knowing IS ignorance,

But ignorance doesn’t need to be blissful.

 

The bliss comes from not caring.

But the bliss can come from gaining knowledge.

The bliss can come from the release.

 

The release of defeat.

The release of deceit.

The release of something sweet.

The receipt of…

Knowledge

 

…the knowledge that comes from wisdom

…the wisdom that comes from an awareness

…and the awareness that what we know to

be true…

 

…is WRONG.

 

Suspend your beliefs.

Slowly close your eyes.

Sweeping Indictments

Tomorrow is just another Tuesday, but for the registered voters in New Jersey, California, New Mexico, Montanna, North Dakota, and South Dakota it is Election Day. You can tell who the democrats are by their level of enthusiasm. This is an anticlimactic time for the conservatives because their hero has already won by default. Even those who dislike the fact that Trump will be the republican candidate have long since quieted down.  

Who would have thought (even a year ago), that our nation would be at such a political impass? One thing is for certain. Regardless of how uniformed the voting public may be, everyone knows that the American standard is about to change.  Even the unregistered, non-citizens, and underage residents of our nation long to be a part of the conversation.  This will be an election year like no other.  EVERYone will have an opinion–and most of them will stink.  

There’s going to be a lot of shit-slinging.  And when the fight is over, we will all be covered.  

This is a time to watch the signs.  The decline of a nation (or even a civilization) will not be a sudden occurrence.  We watched it decline began hundreds of years ago. It is the rate by which we exchange information that makes this an interesting time to be involved.  

Social unrest, moral decay, hypocracy, economic injustice has reached intolerable levels.  This is not the time to be in power.  There will be no “sudden shift” like the politicos are forcasting. However, this will mark the end of an era. 

The ideas of obsconding to foreign lands were revisited when very few countries opened their borders to Syrian refugees.  They were being terrorized in their home land by extremist.  And still they received little empathy.  You think American defectors stand a chance in the eyes of the United Nations?  

Suddenly places like Russia and Western Europe seem mildly appealing. It’s time to start traveling–before U.S. passports become valueless.  It may time to visit the places that Bernie references (like Finland).   It’s not such a grand idea however to make reservations in places like Isreal or China.  The close proximity to Iraq and Afganistan does not make Americans any more welcome. The changing faces of American money (alone) is enough to be indicted for Western arrogance. It’s simply not a good look. 

Our entire political system has attention deficit disorder. Politics creeps their way into religious sanctuaries as pastors struggle to refrain from interjecting their personal beliefs. 

Who would Jesus vote for?  Clearly not the same candidate as Muhammad.  The social climate is no longer discrete.  Americans have become very vocal about their distastes and personal dogmas.  Feelings are getting hurt as everyone is openly professing their biases (and constitutional right to be a bigot).  Entitlement is at an all time high, but determination to thrive is at an all time low.  Who wants to be responsible for a nation of gluttons and theives?   For surely if this is the case, the Donald has already won.  

Why didn’t Bernie run for president in the 80s?  Was Carter so bad that the Democratic Party lost the confidence of the majority.  Where was the civil rights movement in the 70s?  Were the hippies too hung over on the gonja, or did they have a severe case of dance fever?  It seems that once we got some semblance of  what we wanted, we became complacent.  The yuppies and the buppies (Black Upwardly-Mobile Professionals) had enough easy access to timeshares, BMW’s, real estate, and education that the struggle dissipated. 

Now the struggle is real, and there are no more heros.  The private interest has gotten very clever in rallying public support. The mules keep hoping to get fed off of the excess wealth that was carved away from the American infrastructure.  The public didn’t even see it coming.  The few that did were deemed fanatics, socialist, and “liberals.”   

Conspiracies are real when they are FACT. Zealots warn of “the machine” just as the Panthers warned of “the man” but the status quo was acceptable to society as a whole. 

Tomorrow is Election Day and the fate of America is not sealed. In fact, the republicans who don’t vote tomorrow are also living on borrowed time.  How quickly can you change your party affiliation?  Quicker than you can sell your home and run away. That’s for sure!

Don’t give up, America!  We created this problem, but it’s not too late to fix it. We can take responsibility.  We can right the wrongs if only we recognize what we’ve allowed this to happen.  This IS your land.  This IS my land (too).  Let’s not run for the border; because no other nation wants to be contaminated either. 

Vote!

“Smile, You Look Too Serious”


Do I look too serious?  I can smile. I usually do.  For a long time I was considered the life of the party, the class clown, or “Mr.Social!”  As the center of attention, I can entertain or take a stand.  

To be honest, I’ve grown tired of entertaining. My smile entices, but my humor provokes.  I want to do more.  I CAN do more.  I am more than a clown.  I never resented the tomfoolery as long as I was the one orchestrating it, but there comes a time to  do more.  I need to stimulate the mind   There’s a time to awaken the spirit.  We are on the cusp of a revolution.  

Every generation experiences a turning point.  Whether it be political, religious, socio-economical, or even musical, how we confront change or challenge norms defines us.  Like my hair, I can not allow my grimace to define me. 

Watch me!

We are a nation that has smiled through injustices too long.  We’ve accepted the status quo so long that our stripped liberties leave us naked but still luke warm.  By the time we get cold enough to demand a restoration of our rights, it will be too late.  We won’t be placated any longer. We will demand heat!   We will start a fire.  We will burn it down!!

Am I mis-speaking?  Is this not what happened in Ferguson.  Is this not what happened to MOVE in Philadelphia 30 years ago?  Watts??  L.A. Riots in 92?  There’s not enough tainted water in Flint to keep souls from burning.  

Tension is high!  My smile could bring some relief, or it could mask a larger problem.  We’ve been wearing masks too long. They’ve smiled in our faces, and then stabbed us in the back. Who, you ask?  The ones we’ve trusted.  Our leaders, our clergy, our families…   Not deliberately, of course.  Accidentally, for sure!

They too are sheep leading, and being led.  Who will you follow?  And will you be smiling while you wait to be nudged at the slaughterhouse?

Too serious?  I don’t think so.  Not serious enough!  I’ll smile in the morning, 

when the dealing is done.