T.E.N. Family Pages, aka-Do This Thing Right, People

This is one of those serious notes that need to be read by everyone. If this doesn't apply to you then talk about it to someone that it does apply to. This ain't a holiday note, so if you aren't in the mood for some real, then this ain't for you.

As a mother of a three year old girl, I find that I am responsible for her well being--physical and emotional. No matter how difficult she can be, I make it my business to show her that I love her. I don't hesitate to tell her all the good things she does and not dwell on the bad. My daughter has never heard me refer to her as "bad"...however, I do call her "Nutbush" because she is loopy as hell.

Either way, I do not focus on the negative with her. I do not decimate her spirit because I want to build her up. I may not get everything right with her, but I will always do the best I know how. Not just because she is my daughter, but because she is part of a generation that will care for us. I want her to be the part of a generation that is not scarred from the problems of our generation, and the one before us.

What I am getting at is this: our generation is pretty messed up. Many of us were raised without fathers, or in some cases, without mothers. Very few of us had the chance to see mom and dad live together in Holy Matrimony. A few of my friends do not even know who their fathers are. That has got to be a terrible feeling...to have half of you that is completely unknown.

Either way, I cannot dwell on those who do not choose to be in the lives of their children. As many of us with children have learned (or learned from our own parents), you cannot make a person be a parent. You can't make dad be active, nor can you make mom nuture you. All we can do is begin to change the way things are with the children we have or are responsible for.

First, we have to figure out ourselves. I know that I had a great deal of recovering to do from not having my father active in my life. I had to figure out a lot of things about myself without having half of me around. I just got my dad back three years ago, and I can see a lot of myself in him. Aside from physical similarities, we behave the same way on several fronts. Both of us supress emotion, we can both stare at a TV for hours on end, and both of us have a dual natured persona. I knew my mom wasn't that way, but I wasn't sure if my dad was either. Only in the last three years can I say that I am more complete than ever.

My mother did all she knew how for me, and even now she still does. I never did without while growing up, but there wasn't a lot of nuturing. She wasn't abusive, nor was she absent...just not nurturing. It was in my teens that I realized my mother wasn't that way with me because SHE wasn't nurtured. She didn't get the good night hugs and kisses. Her family didn't come to the school to see everything she was involved in. Her family didn't say "I love you" completely unsolicited. So, how could she do that for me if she wasn't familiar with that? It took a lot of time before she could do all those things for my brother and me. Now, there isn't a day that passes where we don't talk on the phone. Even if we are mad as hell at each other (which is every three business days), we end the day with peace.

I look at some of the younger people in my life and in my family, and I see the signs of this distance. My dad's side of the family got together on every holiday. Each time I walked in the door, I was met with a hug and kiss from my Uncle Elmore and I never left without the same. I felt warmth and love there. I looked forward to the next time I could be there because that was a beautiful feeling. With my mom's side of the family...

...ah....

...erm...

Just know we ain't like that over there...

At any rate, I could see that some of the younger girls in my family who didn't get love from mom OR dad are truly lost right now. I have a cousin who is 20 years old with two little girls. I wonder if they'll repeat the cycle of anger, distance and bitterness that their mom has. Another relative told me that her apartment is always full of people. I wonder if that's to replace the family that she wishes was there. She may never admit that she is hurting because of her father not being around, but I can see it in her actions. Until she gets help for her feelings, or until she is validated by her dad, she will continue to have scarred children.

With all this being said, that is why I try so hard to show my daughter that she is golden. I also encourage her dad to be active with her. I told him that he better damn well look like Superman in her eyes, regardless of what the deal is with me and him.

I encourage all men to stand up and be fathers if you have kids. If you don't, then at least be an example of a man for those children who are without fathers. Let these children see you hold the door for a woman, let them see you address a woman properly. Show a child what it's like to work each day and not sit around on your ass all day. If you lost your job, show them that it's okay to be down, but not to STAY down. On top of all that, love them. Please men, show these young children real love. Hug them, hold them, talk to them, make them feel VALIDATED.

Ladies who are mothers, protect your children. Don't let anyone around them who is new in your life. Respect yourselves and your children. Never make them feel less than first. Do not hold them accountable for the mistakes you and your parents have made. I'm not just preaching to the choir, hell, I'm reminding myself, too! I have to make sure that my child has what is vital to her becoming a better person.

As I can't stress enough, we are a part of a generation that can really bring about changes in the dynamics of family life. We can start repairing decades of damage one child at a time. You may never have a child of your own, but you can still help change things.

Remember, scarred men and women can breed scarred children. It's up to you and I to heal ourselves in order to prevent and decrease the damage. It's not easy, but it can be done. I don't think some of our parents knew that the things they did would follow us for so long. I'm sure that if they knew better, they would do better. So now that we know, we have to put that knowledge into action.

Just hug your kids and tell them you love them sometimes. Help them become whole while you help yourself.

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