Archive for July, 2014


…I’m talking about SO DIRTY that you both have to take a shower when you are done!  WHEW!!!!

No words can describe the feeling that you have after you and your son just finished playing a game of WWE Basketball!  That’s right Basketball that includes WWE Finishers while you drive to the basket (not sure where your mind was going…sorry to disappoint). 

Parents (especially dads), sometimes you have to let it all go, no matter how tired, no matter how long your day was, no matter how much you want him to focus on the fundamentals of basketball to prepare for his “SCHOLARSHIP” (that is at least 10 years away) and just have a little fun totally immersed in the world of a 9 year old!

It may not make sense, it may take every ounce of strength in your body and mental capacity in your brain, but the memories that it creates are priceless!

It does not get more intimate or passionate than completely allowing a 9 year old to take control of your life…if only for 60mins.  I promise, when you finish, you will be hot and sweaty, but you both would have had fun and you both will need to take a shower!  🙂

Original Mentor…Parenting is Intentional.

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spank

“Black-ish” is a new series about a black family in American, who is a has matriculated the finest universities and assimilated into a upper class neighborhood, but grew up in the culture of the inner city. They are now faced with choices within their new culture that collide with the culture they were exposed to while growing up. This dynamic has challenged them to create a new normal for them and their children. During the show, we are able to watch them discuss and ponder the effects of parenting based on what they know or adjusting to what they now feel is feel is the best. Last night the father (Dre) played by Anthony Anderson had to make a decision on whether or not to spank his youngest son for the practical jokes that they continuously told him to stop doing. Dre spent the entire episode being judged by his father who called him “soft” for not “whopping” his son, to his co-workers who were appalled at the very thought of “someone” else whopping their child…even though they thought it was ok to spank their own. Ultimately he decided to do what worked best for his son and his family, however, it was interesting to watch him and his wife Rainbow, played by Tracey Ellis Ross, consider the consequences “To Spank or Not To Spank”?

Spanking has always been a hot topic and has resurfaced, due to recent studies and the case against NFL superstar Adrien Petterson. The grand debate and academic study is centered around if it is really beneficial to spank your child(ren) or are they harmful by teaching that “the stronger person is right; hitting models hitting; hitting leads to abuse; spanking devalues the child; etc.”  

First of all, I did not get spankings, I got WHOPPINGS!!!  Although I got whoppings with a little blue patent leather belt and other times I had to go outside and pluck the leaves off the “tree branch” that I was going to be beaten with, I am now a very loving husband and father.  I was raised by a very young single mom, who always disciplined me in love. I was spanked and I turned out alright, so that means that it is alright for me to do the same to my son…right?

Truth is, my son is now 9 years old and besides an occasional thumb to the chest when he was younger, he has never ever had a whooping (spanking…whatever you call it).  However, if you were around when he was deserving of any form of discipline, the way he cowards when I approach (or a simple snap of my fingers) would make you think that I beat him on a regular basis. He has a respect for me and his mother that did not have to be obtained by spanking him every time he did something that we did not approve of.

I really believe in spanking (at least I think so). Although, as I said, I have never had to actually spank my son. I was not driven by the notion that just because “I turned out ok,” that spanking was the correct way to discipline him.  He is his own person and spanking him could have a drastically different impact on him than it had on me. Instead, we used positive reinforcement by rewarding the behavior we desired, explaining “why” certain behaviors were not acceptable, and by modeling the proper behavior. Besides, the undesirable behaviors all came with natural consequences. Helping him understand the principle of cause and effect prevented him from making the same mistakes twice (most of the time).

The societal norm seems to have shifted to the opinion that spanking is not acceptable and that parents should resort to other forms of discipline.  However, when a person is unruly, we accept it and even encourage it when law enforcement uses force to bring order.  I would much rather a parent spank a child, in love, to prevent them from having an encounter with the billy club of an officer.  I believe if the appropriate level of discipline is given at home we could minimize a number of encounters needed by police.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NIV).  I believe that parenting is intentional…thus being “careful.” Parents must be in tuned with the consistent forms of discipline required to cause their children to be obedient. As I stated, I was a child that received whoopings and even preferred them over loosing privileges.  When my mother gave me a choice between a spanking and not being able to play outside, I always chose the spanking.  Spankings were over in 5mins. Whereas a “punishment” lasted weeks.  Eventually she caught on, especially when she realized that whoopings did not even hurt me anymore. 

About a week ago, in New York, Appellate Division said there was insufficient evidence to uphold that charge, and gave him a pass on the spanking.

“The father’s open-handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment,” the four-judge panel ruled in a unanimous decision.  Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/court-parents-spank-kids-article-1.1874088#ixzz38hvJMwx0

I am happy to see that the court left the power of parenting in the rightful hands of the parents.  Although, I do understand that regulations are required to ensure that parents do not cross the lines to abuse.  For this reason, I believe that parents and politicians will continuously debate what is to be appropriate, by generally imposing their own parenting style on others, instead of objectively evaluating each situation to determine what was a reasonable use of force.

What do you think?  Is spanking good or bad? 


Parenting is daily steps that take you on a journey and leads your children in the way that they should go.  After a little while, your children will learn the directions and begin to see the destination.  Problems arises when parents take steps that are contrary to the direction that they are “telling” their children to go in.  When the parents walk does not align with their verbal instructions, it confuses the child(ren). The first couple times,  they may still do what you tell them.  Eventually, they will chose their own path, or begin to do what you do, thus abandoning the way you intended to lead them.

Parenting is intentional. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

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The Picture Perfect F.A.M.I.L.Y.

Many of us grew up watching one of the above T.V. shows and imagined what our families would look like.  In our minds we saw the Picture Perfect F.A.M.I.L.Y., but no one explained that it would take lots of hard work to build it.  It is unfortunate (and quite scary actually) that the image of family that is currently portrayed looks quite different from when the above shows were airing on television.

Some would argue that times have changed and that my views are a bit old fashion.  They would argue that the values from the family in the black and white picture are no longer realistic.  I believe that it is not a reality only because we do not do what is required to build ourselves, thus not being the examples that are necessary to build what we saw on TV.

This weekend my family and I went to St. Pauls, North Carolina.  It is a small town outside of Fayetteville, NC.  The area was so remote that cell phone towers could not provide signal.  I observed 3-4 generations talking, laughing, loving, playing, and braking bread with one another. I listened to stories of family traditions being passed down and lessons being taught by simply spending time together.

This experience made me reflect on what is needed to build a healthy and whole F.A.M.I.L.Y. with traditions that last beyond 4-5 generations.  The love, values, and positive energy that permeated the weekend was refreshing, peaceful, and yet stimulating to my heart and imagination.

What would it take for more families to live in the unity that I experienced this 4th of July weekend?  I have used F.A.M.I.L.Y. as an acronym to describe what I think it takes to build the “picture perfect” F.A.M.I.L.Y..  The dynamics of your family does not matter.  You can be married, single, parents, or empty nesters…building a family that will last generations transcends whatever we view a typical household to look like. 

FUNCTION

  • To have a picture perfect family you must start with setting clear expectations.  What do you value?  What are the rules of the house (nice to haves…clean room daily, etc.)?  What are the laws of the house (must haves…no lying, etc.)? Write them down. Everyone in the family / household has a role and should have duties assigned accordingly. If a person is a member of the household and does not know and understand their role, thus not performing their assigned duties, they become dysfunctional. Roles may be outside of the home (i.e. If you don’t WORK, you don’t eat). A family must ensure that all parts or members of the household are in good working condition and understand how each part / member work together to make up the whole. This must begin early!  When members of the household understand their function early on and how it impacts the whole, I believe, they are less likely deviate to far from their role.  This is not to say that they will never stray. Standard “maintenance” is always required to make sure that all parts are in good working condition. 
  • Action: This is a proactive step that must be taken.  Assess your household to ensure that every member is functional.  Post the laws and rules.  Assign numbers to them so that they are easily referenced. Ensure that every member understands their role and that they know how to perform the duties associated with their role.  Once expectations are set, each member must take ownership and proactively carry out the duties assigned to them.  When any new members are added to the household, initiate this step, so that expectations are clear.  All members of the household should be present.

AFFINITY

  • To have affinity, is to have a natural liking for someone.  It is very difficult to be on the same team with someone and not like them.  Your household is a team!  Affinity should magnetically draw you closer to one another.  Affinity comes through building a relationship. Good communication is vital. Actively listen and follow through on what you heard to prove that you heard them and understand. Getting an understanding of likes and dislikes and catering to one anothers needs is a great way to build an affinity for one another. Everyone may not be the same and that is ok, but having mutual respect for one anothers differences allows each person to be an individual.  When this happens, a friendship is created and you genuinely “like” each other.
  • Action: Make a list of your likes vs. dislikes.  It could be items that you currently do or things that you would like to do in the future (or stop doing).  Compare the list to see what you have in common.  Do those things regularly!  However, each of you must make it a habit of picking an item on each others list that you dislike and DO IT REGULARLY!  Have Fun Doing It!  Enjoy the fact that they are happy and that you are spending time with them. Stop focusing on you and focus on them.  They will appreciate you more and your affinity for one another will grow.

MATURE

  • “Anything that does not grow is either dead, dying, or artificial.” Pastor E.N. Jennings.  We should want all members of our household to not only be alive, but to be lively and well.  To be well is to thrive.  We must influence and challenge the people in our households to realize their dreams by discovering the gifts and passions that are locked inside of them. Imagine living in a household where everyone understands their purpose and is living it! The thought alone is EXCITING!!!  If we want our F.A.M.I.L.Y. to function at its highest capacity, we must be intentional about helping each member mature into who they were born to become.  Never mistake getting older as maturity.  There is a big difference.
  • Action: Observe!  What are they naturally good at?  What are they passionate about? What irritates you or members of your household to the point where they must go help fix it? Harness that  energy and perfect the gifts required for that area.  Exposure!  Try new things!  Read books together!  Grow together!

INTEGRITY

  • Accountability is required within the household.  You have to build an environment of trust and honesty where members feel comfortable to tell you anything. Parents…this means that you must consider your response to every situation that your kids share.  If you “go off” and not handle a situation well, it can potentially close the door for them to ever confide in you again.  I am not saying that there should not be consequences, but they should understand that it is better to come to you and talk it though than to hide it and potentially making it worse.  Same goes for husband / wives and even roommates.  Who we are when no one else is looking, if bad, has the potential to negatively impact everyone in the household.  Therefore, this gives them the right to know and hold you accountable for what you struggle with. 
  • Action: Discuss the importance of confidentiality in your household.  Explain the consequences of breaking trust within this inner circle.  Next, confide in one another.  Share what your struggles are.  This could be difficult, especially if what you share is new to them. I encourage none of you to focus on the fact that this may be your first time hearing about it. They trusted you enough to share.  Now devise a plan for holding one another accountable. Perhaps, each of you can share on a piece of paper and exchange them at the same time (I pray that your list is not too long).  🙂 When we share with others, we become vulnerable, this begins the healing process.  Perhaps professional assistance may be required to help you get through this, but whatever it takes.  Deal with it!

LOVE

  • Love is patient.  Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love does not dishonor others. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily-angered.  Love keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil.  Love rejoices with the truth.  Love ALWAYS protects. Love ALWAYS trust. Love ALWAYS hopes. Love ALWAYS perseveres. Love Rules!  The love that you share for the people within your household should be unconditional.  When YOU follow what is listed above it significantly increases the likelihood of you building a healthy and whole family.  This does not mean that there will not be natural consequences for members who break the family covenant that is established (or being created).  Love causes individuals to heal and become whole.
  • Action: There is no question that you love the people within your household.  We may not always like them, but loving them is usually natural.  However, love is an action. Review and reflect on all of the elements of love that are listed above. Be honest with yourself about the areas that you struggle to adhere to on a regular basis.  Ask yourself, why is it so hard to follow?  Have a family meeting and discuss each element of love and agree to follow EVERY one of them.  This may take more than one meeting.  Be open and honest about why it will be difficult to follow.  Hold one another accountable for areas that they may not be able to for themselves.  

YOU 

  • By the way…there is no such thing as a “picture perfect” F.A..M.I.L.Y..  A F.A.M.I.L.Y. is made up of flawed individuals.  Therefore, the only way to improve a F.A.M.I.LY. is to improve the individuals that make up the F.A.M.I.L.Y..  Once you have healthy and whole individuals, within a household, you can then and only then, have a healthy and whole F.A.M.I.L.Y.
  • Action: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.  I’m asking him to change his ways….If YOU want to make the world (or your household) a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change!”  Michael Jackson’s words are so powerful.  We often point the finger in every other diffection.  It is funny that pride can never see itself in the mirror.  It is most difficult to see the role that YOU play in the dysfunction of your family. It starts with YOU.  You have to want to improve your family and be willing to accept what you will discover while doing introspection as well as what others will bring to your attention.  Until you are willing to face your currently situation, you will never be able to fix it.  Hold yourself accountable to following what is outlined.  Make sure that you review the F.A.M.I.L.Y. covenant that is establish and devise a self improvement plan.  

Let’s Create a New Normal…SHARE THIS BLOG!

The current mainstream image of family is flawed and is not an accurate depiction of what many of us experience everyday.  Media simply possess the cameras and distribution power to influence us by bringing their version of “family” into our households and call it Reality TV.  THAT IS NOT MY REALITY!  

YOU have to power to make a RULE, better yet, a LAW against anything that will negatively influence the type of household that you have established.  

I know I am not the only one that enjoyed the peace, joy, and love from our family.  Let’s share what we experience so that others will know that this can become their NEW NORMAL.  It is possible to have a family affair without drama, fussing, and fighting.  

I may have missed some key components, or perhaps you would like to add to what I have written Either way, share this blog and post your comments.  Someone elses life and peace may depend on it.