Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mama NO!

I have recently addressed the importance of fathers in a child’s life (see “Father Knows…”). There is no substitution for what a male brings into the world of a young boy or girl. Today is Father’s Day, and already there is this overwhelming trend that needs to be acknowledged and eradicated. What trend? Women claiming Father’s Day! The nerve….

First of all, I applaud each and every woman out there who is doing what she needs to do to raise her children, with or without a man. You are sticking to your responsibilities and giving your all to make this world a safe and better existence for the child/children you helped to bring into it. I would never try to take anything away from what you do. On that note…

Women, you don’t get Father’s Day! What you do makes you a phenomenal “Mother”, but not a “Father”. I have already encountered multiple examples this morning alone, where women claim to be the mother and the father. No you’re not! Look, there is no substitute for a mother or father. You can take on more responsibility because you are going at it alone, but understand that the role is filled visually.

The male blueprint is sketched from the “man” in your child’s life. If not their biological father, a child will mentally and emotionally associate that position with the next male they have experiences with. Now I know some of you ladies out there won’t appreciate this; boys that grow up without that “male” father figure will grow up to be incomplete men and girls will grow up with an emotional void. You want applause for what will hinder them later.

Normally I reserve this kind of tough love for “A Cold Cup Of Coffee”…ladies take a deep breath, and relax before reading this next part…I’ll wait…

The reason why you can’t claim the glory for taking on the task of a duel role is simply because you chose the loser in the first place! That’s right you should have checked out his relationship credit score. (see “What’s Your Number”) Take responsibility for the fact that you hand-picked the man that abandoned you. In a sea of potential hopefuls, you threw “snake eyes”. With the exception of death, all of you women out there doing it alone have to understand that you didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice…you f’d up in the man picking department and are now playing catch up. Raising your children alone makes you a strong woman, but in the words of the great Maury Povich, “You are not the father!”

Please erase the idea that you can completely raise a child alone. You can make the best of the situation as a single parent however the child will grow up with some issues that will plague their adult life. Trust, abandonment, self-esteem, & intimacy issues are found to be directly linked to children of single parent households.

To the single mothers out there I respect you for what you do, let’s just keep this in perspective. Today is Father’s Day. Let the men who are doing it day in and day out have their turn. Give them their props. Ladies you get Mother’s Day, a day filled with flowers, spa treatments, cards and jewelry. Let him have his hugs and the newspaper.

For the men that miss out on the opportunity of seeing what greatness their creations can create; that will be your cross to bear later in life. Children grow up, and more often than not they seek out the parent that wasn’t there. Usually the conversation you don’t want to have with their mother now far beats the conversation your child will want to have with you later. If you can’t love her, love yourself enough to man up to your responsibilities.

Ladies, today is about playing your position. If your child wants to call their father today…let them. If the dude who hasn’t been around for a minute is trying to get back in the game…let him. If the guy is suspect, the child will learn and see it. You don’t want your child to have one parent.

Much love and respect to the hard working ladies out there and for you 24/7 daddies…
Happy Father’s Day.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The BIG Good-Bye

Recently In the sports world, a major announcement was made. After 19 seasons in the NBA, Center Shaquille O’Neal officially retired from professional basketball. Shaq has been one the most dominate players the game has ever seen. With 5 trips to the Finals & winning 4(3 Lakers/1 Heat) MVP awards and more than enough stats to make him a lock as a Hall Of Fame inductee, he’s hanging up his jersey.

Shaq has not only wowed on the court; he has been a successful recording artist (Shaq Diesel –platinum, Shaq-Fu: The Return –Gold) starred in movies, featured in video games, television shows, commercials, etc…he has done what most only dream of and is only 39. This being said, he has been living his life to the fullest.

There have been many great professional athletes; ones who will be remembered as “The Best” or “The Greatest”. Men and women that relentlessly and almost psychotically drive themselves to be number 1; some to the point of sacrificing friendships and neglecting their families. Drive and ambition are wonderful, but if you live life travelling at 100mph, yes you’ll reach your destination but often without recollection of the journey…and alone.

Michael Jordan is respected the world over for his accomplishments as a businessman and professional athlete. He is the mold that every young basketball player aspires to. (6 championships, Scoring titles, multiple MVP awards, multiple All Star honors, Defensive Awards) He accomplished everything he could do, even helping to orchestrate an unheard of 72 win season and 3-peating…TWICE. He even had a theme song, ”Sometimes I dream…that he is me…” During his career, he was known to be a perfectionist to the point of abuse (physical and verbal abuse during practice was common). There is even a story about Michael punching a teammate in the eye during practice for not successfully executing a “pick and roll”.

Jordan’s greatness came as the result of his years of obsession. Even his recreation was often fueled by competition, betting on everything from billiards, to a pick-up game of basketball, to golf. That “need to win” can be seen in another player, Shaq’s former teammate Kobe Bryant; someone else who sacrifices everything and nearly everyone to feed his competitive spirit.

Michael Jordan is the “Greatest” and Kobe will definitely be in the conversation for “Top 5” when he’s done, but at what cost? Michael’s wife left him, he had to go back to work to find peace, and Kobe will probably be buried under the floor boards of the Staples Center with a statue out front that Vanessa and the girls will dust off occasionally.

Shaquille O’Neal proved that it wasn’t about a team or city, (Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers, Celtics) it was about the game and the opportunities. He played with or against some of the best the NBA has ever known. He was teammates with Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Steve Nash. He was even teammates with Jordan in the All Star game while battling the likes of David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwan & Charles Barkley in the regular season, always maintaining a smile. Shaq leaves us with countless memories; from crashing down rims, to his antics off the court, and of course…”Kazaam”. We’ll miss you. As a Lakers fan I’m glad to hear they’ll be retiring his jersey in L.A. Love him or hate him, Shaq has shown us that you can still focus and be great at your job…AND LIVE!

…if I could be like…SHAQ.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Father Knows...

With Father’s Day soon approaching, it would only be right that I address this. If you’re familiar with my “Moments”, then you know how much and how consistently I stress the need for great parenting. That is more than just being in the same house, buying video games or handing the other parent money once a month, I mean “parenting”. This time I wanted to shine the light on a very important and often overlooked issue…and you guessed it….Father’s this one’s for you.

As men we are taught, told, and molded to be these pillars of strength. From birth it is stressed to us that “men don’t cry” and how we are to be the protectors and providers for our families. I can remember my father getting up early in the morning to work a long physical day, just to come home, nap, eat dinner, and head off to his night job. Never was there a question of what my responsibilities would be as a man. He instilled me with an insane work ethic and drive, one that my siblings also share.

Often we label the father as the protector/provider and the mother as the love/nurturer. Feelings are to be learned from our mothers. She is the one that brings that degree of sensitivity and compassion to our souls. But just as we learn strength from the women in our lives, we do or do not learn to process emotions from the men.

Now I have on many occasions ridiculed male sensitivity. I have mocked and chastised the males of this world to no end for acts of excessive emotional states and all out Bitchassness. This is in no way a retraction to those statements. What this is however is stating the necessity for fathers to teach their children, sons and daughters, how to RECEIVE love. Like I said this isn’t about converting a man into a skinny jeans wearer, this is about teaching by example, how to receive the love that is being given. My father was great at leading by example in the provider department…but presenting a homemade ashtray and a hug would be met by a puzzled look as if it were the final question on “Jeopardy”.

We’ve all seen those stereotypical sitcoms with the hard-nose dad and the emotional mom. She tries to be loving and sweet and he responds with sarcasm, and every so often he has a weak moment (when the kids are gone) and shows a softer side. If ever there was a television character like my father, it was “James” from “Good Times”. He was hard working, blunt, brash, and for some reason just looked slightly pissed off on any given day…and you didn’t get too many of those moments.

Fathers, those “weak” moments are what show your children it is ok to be loved. As a child, we use our fathers as a blueprint for male behavior. Not teaching your children how to receive love will have your daughters chasing behind every emotionally unavailable man they can find and your sons throwing away every good woman they meet.

Father’s Day is about appreciating the men out there who are doing what they’re supposed to, the men that get up every day and are an active positive force in their children’s lives. To those hard working, dedicated, and relentless parents…thank you, keep up to good work. And if you’re a “James” out there, just take the ashtray…even if you don’t smoke.

Happy Father’s Day.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Ain't Scared Of You!

“There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Fear is something that we all wrestle with, the question is whether or not it pins us? We all have things that we’re afraid of; for some it’s walking in dark parking lots, the thunder, spiders, or sometimes it’s as simple as “trusting”.

We create these scenarios and situations within our minds, fueling them with emotion to the point that we give them life. Our fear becomes an entity of its own, bent on destroying us. Much like beauty, fear is in the eye of the beholder. To the one that is afraid, it is as real as the chair I’m sitting in. But to the outsider, insecurity and irrational actions are all that are seen.

How do we beat fear? How do we come to a place within ourselves that makes us feel safe? Well 1# is identification. Just what are we afraid of? If we’re talking about a 5 year old panicking over the closet door being open at night, simply turning on the light and looking may suffice. However if we’re leaning towards shifty looking characters in the parking lot…never underestimate the power of a stun gun and taekwondo classes. When it comes to things like trust…that’s a little tougher.

Like I said fear is REAL to the afraid. Trying to convince them otherwise is like trying to calm that scared child mid-panic. Making them see and identify what they are truly afraid of can be difficult. As we get older, we pile so much crap on top of what we believe to be true that it’s hard to get to the root. Hard, but necessary. When it comes to relationship based fear, some would rather face the final scene of “Arachnophobia” than deal with why they always find themselves single.

We try to give ourselves false reasons for why we’re afraid. Not being able to open up or trust is a defense mechanism, we’re protecting ourselves. It may have been put into place as a necessity at one time, but now it’s simply habit. To hold on to that habit we will lie to ourselves every which way to Sunday to avoid that original feeling of pain. The idea of holding on to that fear and habit however has a major flaw…we’re not the same person prior to the pain as we are after it.

That experience forever alters our perception of the situation. We can never go back to innocence. But instead of identifying, we go “turtle in the shell”. We close up and refuse to see what’s going on. Our only focus becomes pain prevention. We need not go into panic mode/pain management. The key here isn’t to pull up the drawbridge and lock down the castle, it is to identify the threat and deal with it individually.

Pain in relationships can scar in ways we can’t imagine. Some of our hearts get hurt in the way of a skinned knee, while others go through the entire series of “SAW” movies. In the end it is up to us to heal and identify the dangers…not to be afraid.

Those fears not only keep out the bad, they prevent the entrance of the good.

Nothing to fear but fear itself? Guess there’s nothing to be afraid of.

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