Tag Archives: Friendship

Parenting is Offensive

A few days ago I commented on a friends post about fatherhood. I am still getting noticed about folks commenting on his post. So yesterday I get a call from someone who’s wondering how to explain to their parents that they will not be continuing the traditions that brought them into the world. My simple answer was; Nothing offends folks more than your parenting style!.

I remember having a few “pet peeves” that made folks uncomfortable when raising my oldest three daughters. I always told them, “I’m not raising someone’s wife!” They participated in dance, but I chose classical ballet. They had uniforms and dresses, but didn’t wear jeans. They ate what I cooked and were never made to “clean their plate”! I heard all kinds of advice about how that was wrong and because of my military background I was too strict. I was amazed that folks thought my parenting techniques were a statement about their parenting choices.

I didn’t really care what others were doing. I was, and am, paying attention to each child and ensuring I do as little as possible to define who they become. I trust that we are inherently good and that they will respond in kind. I recently told someone that I know exactly what I want my oldest boy to be when he grows up from his current age of 9. He’ll be happy, that’s it.

It doesn’t take long after a child is born before friends and family begin to “put in their 2 cents” about what your child should be doing. He or she turns 1 and they should be walking. 2 Years old comes around and solid foods and no bottle. Potty chairs at 30 months, listening and responding perfectly, and A,B,C’s. It’s crazy. It’s like “terrible two’s” are a parental problem, not the child’s. Everyone wants to control your child for you and advise you how to do it. It doesn’t matter that you’ve raised 6 kids and they’ve raised one, there’s is older and special so their gonna enlighten you.

If your having your first child and looking for advice, don’t. Go with your instincts. Follow development charts and look for good examples. Have a prepared response for those folks that want to interfere in the child rearing of your child. I like the statement for overbearing parents: “My parenting choices are not a statement of how you chose to raise your child. You raised me the best you knew how and I love myself, and I’m sure my child will do the same.”

Our children are ours. They won’t grow up to be what anybody thinks except themselves. They ain’t gonna be babysat by a TV with inappropriate television. They’re not going to have relationships in elementary or middle school. They’re not gonna run around worrying more about what they look like than how they act. And they will not run around with phones as an extension of their security blanket. Believe it or not these few rules will offend half your friends and family.

In the end your family is yours to protect and love. Traditions are wonderful if they don’t define the child. Culture is wonderful as long as it doesn’t oppress who your child wants to be. Family is important as long as there isn’t some vicarious nightmare that stifles who your child will become.

Just remember everyone has an opinion and the intensity is off the chart when it comes to parenting. Have an empathetic response prepared so as not to create too much friction. Most importantly though, make a statement. Those are your children, and while the sentiment behind your advice is appreciated, I’m the parent and I will do what I think is best based on what is best for my child, and there are no negotiations.

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Curse of the Babbling Friend

Sometimes I never find the right words. Stolid seems to wooden, stalwart to posthumous, nothing really fits. I ramble on through cob webbed memories of vocabulary searching for the thought that clears my mind, all in vain.

I know all the cliche’s about “blank slates” and canvasses; but good friends deserve better. I struggle intermittently with “the right thought” to convey something much bigger than you would require. Like a dog with fleas I pause every now and then and go at it like there’s no tomorrow; and damned if there ain’t.

Handshakes are easy. The customary hug with the extra squeeze is comforting. For me though, it’s never enough. I don’t make excuses. Reasons are often selfish explanations, and factors just explain excuses. So in the end I guess words don’t matter as much as the effort.

It’s funny how a phone call can be a bridge to “the next time”. It’s never enough and sentiments are easy when you pretend someone is near. It’s “sweet” of you to make the effort. Then there’s the silent caveat that lingers like a speech bubble in a cartoon, if only I took the time when we were together.

Things left unsaid aren’t alway good, or bad either. Most of us have things we don’t say. The bubble is always there, but everyone’s left to just feel the thoughts, rather than hear the words. Our judgement is clouded by the unknown responses or our own demons.

There is a way to say anything, that seems to be a gift most folks don’t have. I suffer from not being able to write it or say it at times; or maybe even worse, say it or write it the wrong way. It’s that one word that says it all correctly that eludes me until after I say or write the wrong thing that haunts me.

This is why I write, how I care. I can edit what’s on my page. What I say is etched in time. One wrong word in the right moment can’t be edited without intense drama.

It’s not always that dramatic, but it is always that important to me. Sometimes it’s simple things like forgetting a phone call or visit. These situations beg for the right sentiment, but only leave me looking forgetful or uncaring, of which I’m neither.

It seems in hindsight the right words aren’t important between friends. The other speech bubbles I never see are the ones that say “I’m caring” because I tried. I have excuses because I care. I have reasons because I want you to know; and all the factors together mean I want you to understand that you’re important.

Maybe this is where writing and I fall short. It’s the words, the bubbles, and the actions together that satisfy our soul. Love is the only word that conveys this triad of affirmation.

For me the right “word” is important. I don’t expect to hear it or see it, but I strive to write, say, or demonstrate it. I’ve fell short more times than I care to remember. I’ve been speechless in words, actions, and thought. I’ve regretted not having the right words, and having the right words at the wrong time. I never regret trying.

So if I’m speechless know I’m caring enough to think. Silence is a word and an action that conveys concern. It’s when I’m at my best unfortunately. It’s not that I don’t care or you’re not important. It’s that you are worth the right word that not even bubbles and hugs can explain.

Empathy

Surreality chokes the world with fear
While everyone fades to myst
And yesterday falls in a tear

Memories and fear share tomorrow
As if never is here
And joy cannot overcome sorrow

My self lies within crumpled dreams
As I rise to the reality
The words I spoke were a silent scream

Tears of the soul carry silent cries
Not heard or seen
By untrained eyes.

I feel the tears of a thousand souls
Carrying burdens and hope
And the the unbearable toll

Grief isn’t silent to those who listen
It screams through silent eyes
And tears that never glisten

So listen my friend to a story of old
Hardly ever heard, but often told
You can hear with your eyes
And see with your ears
If you listen with your heart
And embrace your own fears

Gathering Ghosts

Some days I feel like a haloed reaper. I carry memories and tears like wings on a gargoyle. Frozen outstretched emotions of guilt that no longer feather air. Just a concrete memory that I wish I could paint back to life.

It’s time that ticks off the emotions. Weather, seasons, darkness all come like lightening. Unexpected flashes of childhood folly or adult dramas playing out as a reminder. I wonder at the places they’ve traveled in spirit; do they know?

I wonder if life in spirit is more colorful than life in body. Does pain dissipate like myst in the spirit, or does it choke you like smoke. Are you smiling down on my naïveté or cynical about my faults. Either way you speak to my understandings in a way I can’t describe and you can’t communicate.

These friends of mine aren’t “up there”. They’re everywhere I remember. Breakfast tables, playgrounds, even the train tracks we romped. I listen to us on the radio and silently hope you would approve, but in the end I am reminded you had your own ghosts.

So to carry these people and places around is an honor. I’m still here creating my ghost. Hoping I can leave the trace of an unknown smile, or a tear in a rear view mirror. I hope I can create a space where yesterday and today come together without the burden of tomorrow. A space where my loved ones can carry with them a moment in the sound of rubber in asphalt. Until then, I’ll carry Ya’all in the summer breeze and winter storm with the same warmth you’ve given me.

Breathing Ashes

Two hearts beat at opposite ends of the earth. One thuds slowly in the heat of the day while another races to sleep on a cold winter night. Human, they share the beat of a different rhythm.

Like minds stretch across continents to join a conversation of cosmic concern. One contemplates the trials of hunger while another struggles with life under fire. Human, they share the trials of life with an empathetic tone and open mind.

We share characteristics and chemicals the transcend borders and flags, but the words between us are garbled in the distance. I see you in plasma and pixels, I hear you in surround sound, but you must be more than an excerpt.

The currency and thick hands that strangle us are illusions, our blood is real, warm, and too precious to dye sidewalks and sand. Hate is the mirage that those crows caw and flap their wings at trying to stir up grit and thermal winds. If we stop for one second and look past their shiny feathers and listen to the silence we can share the wind and warm our souls, rather than scorch the earth.

I know your human, I know outside your temples, mosques, and churches you love me, I’m you, human and flesh. You can’t think of me as a person, then your dogma transgresses humanity. Silence those voices that scream and twist our humanity into a competition for an afterlife that rots in a tomb.

Now is important. You and I together can remove our amamah’s and ties, leave our books on the table, and share a meal to celebrate enlightenment from man and all his fears or greed. No one has, nor ever will, own this earth. We will all return to it and become one in the end.

Two dreamers hungry for the truth that we stand on. Feet firmly planted in souls instead of soil. We go unnoticed like the insects that forge their lives in the dirt. It’s important work, handshakes and smiles, kind words and thoughts, just two dreamers lucid and true.

Two souls dancing in a boreal existence. Colors and directions swaying between the realm of possibility and and the reality that the only places we’ll ever meet is within the wind as long as we breathe and within the earth when our ashes become dust.

Faith with legs and feet!

Show me where Christ put others before his beliefs. Never!!! Not even on the cross when others couldn’t understand did He fall to the pressures of family, culture, or religion. He hung alone with His Father. So where are you justifying being a lamb of men?

How do you justify being a follower? Christ taught us to lead, and step up your game under duress. There are so many layers to society and little room at the top; so who do you bow down to? Parents, Jesus referred to his mother as “woman”! Your community? Jesus rebuked his friends constantly. Your state? Jesus let them have what was theirs. Your church? Jesus put the Pharisees in their place along with the money changers. So how are you sitting around justifying your faith by showing up.

It’s like the guy who’s shows up to work everyday, but doesn’t do anything meaningful, except make others folks job harder. Or the friend or family member who shows up during tragic moments to find out “the scoop”. Or maybe it’s worse. You could be the one who shows up does what their told no matter and is afraid to confront the other two aforementioned folks. Jesus had no problem putting folks on blast.

Maintaining my faith is easier outside of all these places that attempt to define us. Family, culture, religion, government; all of them run contrary to your relationship with Christ. Look how many times He had to get away to come back and set things straight. We’re no different. I’m away right now, and it’s ok.

I know I’ll never be the same Christian again. I’ve had great examples of friends who demonstrated true friendship. I’ve had examples of folks whose faith “has legs and feet”. Now it’s Him and I finding me in this earthly jungle of vines. I’m happy though; and although I’m not in touch with many folks, I’m in touch with Christ and it’s good.

I don’t need religion to understand my salvation and the role it plays with others. I don’t need denominations to do good works. I don’t need corporate bible studies to network and learn about popular beliefs of Christian doctrine. I don’t need prayer groups , we’re all supposed to be doing that anyway, constantly is still a challenge though!

My relationship with Christ is no longer influenced and hopefully the little works I do here and there inspire others to reach out. I don’t hate, but won’t concede. I don’t judge, but I’ll consider. I try and fail daily to rise above my humanness, while remaining humble.

I see through these quasi political religious aristocrats espousing verses and euphemisms for political, financial, and personal gain. They don’t effect my life for the most part, but I keep abreast of the lies and misdeeds that weaken the culture and society I live in. There are beautiful folks out there doing wonderful deeds just for the sake of humanity. These are the heights I aspire to.

I’m stronger in my faith and stronger in my heart. I hope everyone steps out with their faith and we don’t need labels or causes to do good things for the sake of good. Christ will survive religion or denominations in my heart. Until then I’ll just continue to try to look for the good in everyone and pray for the best.

Opaque Facade

I’m particular in pieces and parts you cannot see. I’m light years away from all that noise that that leaves you pasty and jittering like flesh without sun. I’m past tired and exhausted with your glazed twitching eyes.

I’m whole now that you are fragmented. Walking a path of broken mosaic hearts that bleed mud every step you take. You stumble and stutter spewing broken shards of plastic along a wooded landscape. I see your trail of trash talk echoing from dank corners. Your eyes quivering in the dark recesses of yesterday.

You can’t come into the light for all to hear or see. Once your known the fear will become laughter and joy will replace apprehension. The lie will dissipate into a truth seen by all. Then you’ll have to return to who you really are, us.

So now your dark opaque facade is melting. A glass menagerie of past dread, present fear, and future anxiety. You tried to hide behind me, but us is stronger than fear, we is stronger than apprehension, and together they make us whole. This is where life resides.