Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category


I have prayed, pondered, and almost wept over the last several weeks while trying to make sense out of all of this.  I have asked myself, which American do I prefer my son to live in?  If I had to choose between a society where he is aware of who dislikes him because of the color of his skin and they are open and honest about their prejudices OR would I prefer he lived in a country where people overtly express their love for him, but covertly act in away that does not support that notion? My answer…Neither! But if I had to choose, I would much rather know who hates me and have the ability to respond accordingly, than to not know and suffer the effects of their hatred and discrimination. I would rather know than to be frustrated by an invisible wall of resistance, not understanding why I am not able to get beyond where I am.

Honestly, the Neo-Nazi / Racist protesters in Charlottesville don’t scare me. I am more fearful of the Congressman who verbally detest what they did and stand for, but not willing to make policies that counter the systemic injustices that are taking place within our criminal justice system.

I am more afraid of the police officer who pulls me over because he does not think I can afford or deserve to live in my neighborhood and points a gun at me because of his preconceived notions of me.

I am more terrified of an Attorney General who believes Affirmative Action is an injustice to him because he fails to process or understand the need for the law, to begin with.

I am more panic-stricken by a social construct that is built to limit the economic opportunities of an entire community of people but can make it appear as if it is their fault for not working hard enough.

I am more frightened of people who did not know, realize, or acknowledge that racism still existed until seeing the torches and swastikas in Charlottesville.

I could go on, but there is a group of people who look far less threatening, but possess an extraordinary amount of influence and power to impact my son’s life in ways that will affect generations to come.

Elie Wiesel said, “the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” To say you care for someone and detest actions that hurt or offend the ones you say you care about without the willingness to make sacrifices for them, will cause your genuineness to be called into question. Colin Kaepernick simply chose not to be indifferent. It is evident what he protested is true and still taking place today. It’s ok to question his motives until he explains why he took a knee in the first place.  To continue to have a problem with his non-violent, silent protest after he explained why, only exacerbates his reasons for kneeling, to begin with.

Kaepernick is a microcosm of what I fear. He represents a community of people doing a right thing for the right reason, however, because someone has POWER and INFLUENCE, they oppress them, remove the economic opportunity, and make it appear to be ALL their fault.

Suppose that was your kid with a conviction? Do you believe he should lose his livelihood and ability to take care of his family because he decided to have a voice?  Would you support your son or ask him to compromise?

In closing, Steve Bannon called the protestors of Charlottesville a “collection of clowns.” At first glance, it appears to be the “pot calling the kettle black.” However, after I mused over it a bit more, I believe it justified my argument above. Bannon is the type that I fear. He is someone with influence, in a position of power, who can oppress the opportunities of a set of people. He can call the Neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “clowns” because he views them as being beneath him and only masquerading with no “real” power or influence. If this type can cause us to focus on them (the clowns), then those with influence and power can continue to “Make America Great Again” without any opposition.

We must not allow tweets from 45 and social media post to distract us from what they are enacting or the indifference of those who were elected to follow through on what they say they stand for.  It is not enough to make public statements that denounce bigotry, then fail to pass legislation that eradicates the same; or worse, write laws that perpetuate the injustices.

Call your Congressman or Congresswomen, today, and tell them that they can no longer be indifferent.  Cause them to act on what they say they believe. Secret hate is far worse than public love.  Make the call today!

TheOriginalMentor.com

Advertisements

Family

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  Not the photo albums of old, with the sticky back and the plastic film flap that protects the photos…photo albums are graphically designed and laid out to perfection.

Imagine this…what if we lost all power or internet connectivity and we no longer had access to the photos on our phones, computers, or clouds? An ever more common occurrence, what if we lost our phone or the hard drive on our computer crashes?  (Rent the movie Book of Eil…it will help you imagine and it is a good movie)

I recall when my son was just 2 years old, he would sit in from of my laptop for 20-30mins at a time, enjoying all of the pictures that rotated, flipped, faded, or dissolved onto the screen.  My screensaver was set to display all of the pictures stored on my laptop.  Initially, I thought he was simply fascinated with the variation by which the images popped up on the screen.  It was not until a year or so later that I realized, he was taking in the memories of the moments, recalling the emotions he felt in those photos.

As a new dad…I tried to capture every single moment I could of my son.  I was a proud papa!  I would capture all of the special moments, like our first trip to Disney World.  I did not take my first trip to Disney World until I was almost 30.  He had been 2 times before his 6th birthday.

Years later, he would talk about moments in those pictures, outside of the moments captured by the camera.  It was as if he was able to relive the snapshot of time over and over again by watching the pictures on my screensaver. Recently, I walked into his bedroom, he is 10 now, and he was looking through his 2nd grade yearbook, recalling memories of his classmates. He really values the memories that are captured through photos.

For families, pictures are very important and are worth so much more than 1000 words.  What I realized early on is that I was always the picture taker, but very seldom in the picture. Many people and families fail to take pictures, because of their own self image. Then I realized, pictures are really not for or about me.  Pictures help my son recount all of the loving memories of his childhood, times with his family, more specifically, quality time with his mom and memorable moments with his dad.  Memories happen without warning.

Again…Imagine if we, somehow, lost all of the data on our devices.  I know you’re thinking, “That will never happen, ’cause the thingy is backed up to the jigga-ma-bob, and the virtual cloud will kick in…I said imagine! …or watch Book of Eli!  

What if “later” never comes and your family does not have any photos of you or the entire family “together” to recount the lasting memories of YOU? Capturing, or better yet creating special moments, because ‘you don’t like to take pictures!’

Pictures are not about You!  I realized, I sometimes masked my uneasiness of taking pictures with always being the one behind the camera.  In the same way my son was able to spend so much time looking at images of himself, he should be able to reminisce about our family time together. #legacy

My wife loves a great family photo and she encourages us to take advantage of the opportunity every chance we get. Ugh! 🙂   We recently had a photoshoot with ImagesByMarcAnthouny.com  At Images By Marc Anthony, their slogan is “Capturing the Essence of You!” The images they took, truly embodies who we are as a family.  This is the first time I have experienced an emotion when looking at images of my family.  Images By Marc Anthony captured candids and staged poses that were natural as we simply enjoyed time together as a family.  It was like we were out enjoying a walk in the park.

My 10 year old son actually exclaimed, “Aawwwwww!” the first time he saw the images because Images by Marc Anthony “captured our essence” as a family.  We can now display images that represent who we are, not on social media, but on the walls of our home.  For generations, on walls of my son’s home and even his children will be able to see the love and joy their father and grandparents experienced as a family.

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  I know we are in a digital age, but I can tell you first hand, this experience and quality time with family was a priceless investment whose returns will last beyond my lifetime.

Invest in your family.  It will live Beyond the Selfie Stick.