With all the new developments in recent times, it seems appropriate to garner questions having to do with religion and the practices thereof. There might also be the desire to know what religion really stands for; not just in one … Continue reading
My heart is burdened by the state of Black America. Yes, the black man has been plagued with the gift of his skin color, which allows him to have been incarcerated nearly six times the rate of a white man, bound by blue laws, or going back further in history, openly disrespected by having his woman defiled in front of himself and his children in the slave quarters. I do not negate the fact that the black man has had a tough time in America. I do, however think that it is time for a change; a change for the better.
Black men or just men of African heritage are and have been constitutive elements of American society; looking back even to biblical times, black men have helped shaped society in every way, shape form or fashion. If we look at society today in facets like, but not limited to, fashion, language, music, architecture, marketing strategies, what’s hot and what’s not; these are all things that are heavily influenced by black men. Quite honestly, even the way that women in our society think of themselves is developed by the presupposed machismo of the black man. This is the creative niche that black men has been burdened with; shaping lives throughout time.
It is my regret that black men are not shaping lives in the way they once had. They used to shape lives and minds with integrity, and carry themselves with such an air of repletion and reverie. From big screen actors like Sidney Poitier to activists such as Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Dubois, all the way to the dedicated father that takes care of his family; these men shaped lives in a great way. And by no means is it all black men. It only takes a few in the media or on a movie to delight America’s appetite for the muse of the black underclass because as Dr. Ron Stewart attests that “the general public is left to rely on popular media to formulate their perceptions of African-American men…”.
Now with the epidemic of ‘ratchedness’ and sagging pants, I fear that society will suffer, and we’re already beginning to see frightening signs of the social gravity. It bothers me to see so many black men of age to have hair on their faces and wearing their pants below their waist, outside of everything else in America. There is not enough being said, by parents, to sway young black youth from the once thought fad turned epidemic.
James Baldwin once said “black people have in their hands their own destiny…which is the real meaning of black power…” and “you have to look at your life and be responsible for it and then begin to change it”. It’s already hard to rear a child in the way that he/she should go; three times as hard when you don’t know which way you are going. We as a people of the inner-city must not blame the ignorance of slavery, the misguided ancestors, and the lack of available materials, but utilize what IS there to the fullest degree and best of our abilities. And we as men have to have the courage to break the silence in the black community and begin to heal our nation through the education of our youth, for education is a road to power.
Leading by Example and Learning by Watching
There are many ways for children to learn, none more than simply watching. No matter how much we tell a child not to do something or what to do, nothing speaks louder than our own actions in any given situation. For example, if you to tell a child to make their bed or clean his/her closet, the child may or may not get it done, but the probability of either being done will lessen if the parent or authority figure lives in contrast of his/her own wishes. Remember, a child does not think like an adult and has the retention of that of a 90-year-old woman. This means that by the time a child walks out of the room he/she has forgotten the task at hand. So, there has to be an allowance and tolerance of mistakes. This means get ready to repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and forgive and repeat and so on, without failure, because remember kids don’t know everything. Actually they know nothing but instinctive functions through feelings; they depend on us to teach them, even what their feelings mean. Imagine if God were to get tired of our sins, transgressions and/or mistakes and just beat us every time. Many of us couldn’t stand the stripes we deserve.
Now, we as parents should be extra careful of what we do and allow to be done around or in the presence of our children. What goes on in a child’s presence can and will make a lasting impression on that child. As I said before, every person influences children. This slogan came from a class that I had taken in upstate New York in an attempt to learn how to better cope with my own child and family issues. Think about everything that happened to you or things that have seen as a child. Think about how often you recollect it or what triggers the memory. Now think about how it has affected your life and/or your thought process. You will see that this experience has molded you, pushed you and/or hindered you and impaired your judgment all throughout your life.
And because it’s not only you that your child is learning by watching from, parents have to make a conscious effort to watch who is around their child/children. The next adult or role model may not choose to impart the same morals into your child. Be it good or bad, parents have to donate much time in the rearing of their own children for this is a good thing.
Of Being A Man
As I have always told my eldest son, being a man is about responsibility and accountability. There is always a certain level of responsibility that a man will have throughout life. Dating back to biblical times, Man has always been rewarded the task of looking after the animals in the fields, the women in his life, his family, and the spiritual and physical well-being of all men that he encounters. Through all of this overseeing, man had to also be conscious of his own spiritual existence.
I have a heart for boys who are subject to growing up in a man-less household. Since the beginning of time there has always been man first, then boys. In evolution there was caveman, in religion there was Adam then Eve, in modern society it was always men, then women and children. Man, as philosophy would explain it, is an earthly creature that rises above the earth and strives for a higher world. This, in turn means that man’s influence would have to have a special nature of parenthood. A nature that no woman can provide because of the simple fulfillment of different innate tasks honed or led by one’s genetic makeup and ultimately the divine appointment of parental office.
My point is that boys that grow up in a man-less household are deprived the opportunity to experience the natural way to get a jump start in life, how to carry one’s self, how to care for a woman and still be a man. There are so many things to learn from a man, more so a good man, an upright man, but nevertheless a man. When I say a man I do not choose to use the term lightly. So I don’t mean any average Tom born with a hanging genital between his legs.
There should be a man that believes in taking care of his responsibilities. The man must first realize what his responsibilities are and then do what he must to maintain his God-chosen position. Though a boy can learn a lot from a woman, especially since it is a woman’s nature to nurture and teach; it is indeed the place of the father to guide and protect the family. In any Muslim family you will find that each family places great emphasis on the males of the family to be educated and be able to provide for and lead their families. It’s through societal hiccups and anti-religious acts of carnal activists, but mostly ignorance and hedonism that men are not taking their rightful place in society. Boys are following women that have been abused by men both mentally and physically, who have been enslaved, incarcerated and been placed in the role of ignorant or been taught to hate and demoralize while feeling insecure, who learned from someone more ignorant than themselves, who were already confused as to what was in their hearts. In churches for example, many times we find that the men negate their respective places in ministries and leave those positions open for women. The women work in these very visual positions and the children grow up watching; remember a child learns best by watching. The children learn how to work, clap, praise and conduct themselves like…women. Enough said.
You see, we are all born with an innate peace in our hearts, certain knowledge and a sanction as to what it is we are supposed to do in life. Yes, we are born with it! This is somehow clouded if not fully taken away through ill teachings of ignorant parents or others when men do not own up to their own innate vocation of responsibility and accountability.