Psalm 128: 5-6
May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children.
When Sister Ebony emailed me with her thoughts for this month’s article, I thought wow a dedication to all those special women in our lives. I immediately started to prepare myself to travel back in time so I could gather my most memorable experiences. However, as usual God had a very different outlook on what he wanted me to share, so here goes. It was a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, and I was out enjoying some me time. I was sitting at a stop sign and noticed a small bird whose wing had obviously been injured, and was unable to maneuver from the path of oncoming traffic. Just when my compassion started to go out to him, a larger bird flew over and proceeded to nudge him with her beak out of harms way. I was so astounded that I did not realize that I had been holding up the flow of traffic. I continued on my journey, and thought that was a prime example of a mother’s love. Growing up as a child my relationship with my mother was one of unconditional love.
Of course, I was not able to actually understand that until much later. My mother was very big on discipline and education. She taught us to respect our elders, and to always tell the truth. I thought my mom was one of the meanest women alive. It seemed she would never allow me to do the things other children seemed to do freely. I could not attend any sleepovers, but my friends were more than welcome to spend time with us. Her famous line was “I do not know what goes on at anyone else’s home, but I have complete control over what happens in mine”. Unbelievably it seemed like every weekend my friends wanted to hang out at our home. They all said they wished she were their mother. Even though some of my friends had not been taught the etiquette of discipline and respect for others, she never turned them away. She treated them like one of her own. This meant whatever punishment we would receive for a particular act, then so would they. She would always explain to me that even if they did not have any form of discipline in their own home, they would at least have it while under her roof. There are so many wonderful memories I could share with you about my mother. There are also a few not so pleasant memories sprinkled in over the years. I was your typical teenager and attempted to defy every rule my parents had in place for me.
I often played on my dad to get my way, which caused friction between him and my mother. Being the strong women she was, she eventually schooled my dad and I was not able to get away with as much. It was not until I had the opportunity to spend the night at a friends, that I became fully aware that the views and expectations my mother placed on me were for my own good. I assumed everyone grew up in a household filled with love and affection, but I was wrong. When I returned home, I actually cried and asked, my mother to forgive me for being such a brat. All she said, was there was no need to apologize and she would always love me despite our growing pains. She pointed out there was nothing I could ever do to keep her from loving me. Just a note of how close I am with my mother, my eyes are tearing as I am writing this. Even though I had often prided myself in voicing my dislike for my mothers’ disciplinary methods, I concluded my parenting skills would be somewhat different.
When I became a parent, I proceeded to follow the whole time out and no physical hands on discipline with my children. I did not feel you had to whip your children in order for them to understand or grasp the teachings of right and wrong. From the early toddler years to about kindergarten, this concept worked pretty well. Now be mindful in a perfect world you would be able to monitor your children twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, once they reach school age everything starts to change because your teachings will be challenged. Your children are now surrounded by other children, that may not have the same consequences for not following the rules. No matter how you slice it, you will begin to see a slight change. They will attempt to incorporate little antics that are learned from their peers, to see if it will penetrate the barriers you have set. At this point you will have to decide if it is time to change your game plan. Most often you will start to put a little heat on their bottoms, or provide more severe consequences. Contrary to popular belief, being an exceptional parent is not something you can learn from reading a book.
God gives each of us the natural instincts for parenting each one of our children. Now whether or not you follow those instincts are totally up to you. For those of you that have had to raise your children as a single parent, I truly applaud you, as it is not an easy task. I have raised my sons on my own since the ages of four and six. There have been so many times when I have questioned my ability to be a well-rounded parent. There have been many sleepless nights and much prayer over the years. God saw fit to allow me to have access to a host of male family and friends to intercede on my behalf. A mother’s job is to nurture her children. When you have sons, there is no way for you to have knowledge of preparing them to become productive young men. Only a God fearing and productive man can instill those qualities. I had the unfortunate mishap of having to experience my older son’s involvement with the wrong crowd of friends, being introduced to the juvenile system at sixteen, becoming a young father at seventeen, and losing his son due to an freak accident at age eighteen. That is enough to put any parent into an historical state of mind. There was a time that I wanted desperately to disown his constant troublesome attitude, but God would not let me. He reminded me that my mother did not give up on me, and he was my responsibility.
1st John 3:24
Those who obey his command lives in him, and he in them, And this is how we know he lives in us. We know it by the spirit he gave us.
At that point, I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure my son knew I had his back no matter what. If I were going to be the parent God intended, then I would have to be a blessing to my son. Because I had complete faith in God, and was able to allow my son to see his self-worth, his heart was no longer hardened.
While I am excited and extremely overjoyed at the prospect of them developing into productive young men, I am also saddened at the thought of not being as active a participant in their everyday lives. I also know God has been preparing me for this period in my life for quite some time. He has put me in a position to remove my life from the back burner and pursue the dreams that I have placed on hold. I will be returning to school to pursue a degree in Journalism and Communication. I will also re-invite my love for attending spoken word venues. I had the pleasure of attending a venue this weekend and participated, it was such a rush. I have taken up a hobby of gardening, and am currently growing tomatoes, peppers, greens and squash. I am now a volunteer with YoungLives, which is a partnership through the churches, community and schools to mentor teen mothers. Overall, I think I will have enough to keep myself in mother mode.
For those of you who think you still have plenty of time before your nest is empty, believe me it comes faster than you are prepared. I would suggest starting looking into hobbies or activities that will allow you to step outside of your comfort zone. Do not be afraid to experience the unknown. Consider this your new lease on life. Take the opportunity to live for you and not through your children. This will be a new experience for you and for them. They want you to be able to have a life outside of theirs. My sons constantly express the need for me to get involved in other things. Take the scissors out because it is time for you to cut those strings. Pray for God to watch over them, and know the morals and values you have installed will follow them wherever they go.
Lady 4.0 (@LadyFourPoint0)