Archive for November, 2009

365 Days to Thank You

November 27, 2009

I know the story of the Pilgrims and the help they received from the “Indians” that enabled them to survive their first winter in the “new” world.

Oprah talked to the masses years ago about the wonders and healing powers of gratitude and millions rushed out to purchase journals to scribble their thanks each day.

Some of us who kinda get the part of the holiday that has nothing to do with turkey and cranberry sauce participate in the pre-dinner ritual of having everyone present share one thing for which he/she is grateful BEFORE eating his/herself into a turkey coma!

But there are 365 days (366 for Leap Years) to say THANK YOU. It just seems ridiculous to save it all for the 4th Thursday in November.

Let’s be THANKFUL everyday AND take the time to thank someone.
Look the salesperson or checker in the eye and THANK them, particularly today when most are out stimulating an economy that’s abused us all royally (let me stop…that’s a conversation for another day.) THANK your parents or folks who served in their place for some life lesson or experience that helped shape you. You can even thank those parents that fell short of your needs and/or expectations. They taught you what NOT to be/do. THANK your child(ren) teacher. He/she shows up every day, sometimes unable to do what he/she signed up for – to teach – because so many of our children arrive in classrooms each day needing mommy, daddy, nurse, psychologist, etc. that it make teaching the ABCs almost impossible.

THANK your spouses and partners. As terrific as you think you are sometimes you can make those who love you answer “YES” to the Southwest question, “Wanna get away?”

During this recession (which by the way, I heard on the news a couple of nights ago is over – my memo must be lost in the mail because it is still alive and well at my house) I’ve even felt a twinge of gratitude while paying bills.

So, that’s enough of blog reading for today…go say THANK YOU to somebody!

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From The Heart of a Black Mother

November 20, 2009

24 years ago I arrived home to my small, one bedroom apartment with an 8lbs. 4 1/2 oz. 20in. long beautiful baby boy  Having skipped the ultrasound that would have revealed the baby’s sex (I wanted to be surprised) it was at the moment of his birth that I was overcome with JOY – a healthy baby and TERROR – a BLACK, male child in America!  Just how strong did God think I was? 

He grew strong and healthy surrounded by unconditional love.  I parented wide awake and intentionally, knowing that each moment we experienced would become a memory for him.  He thrived. While I taught him to play “patty cake”, I was preparing for the day I’d have to  tell him that the world feared his greatness and strength and would come at him with a full frontal attack to destroy him, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I wondered how much easier it must be white  for white mothers(raising white sons)…they could just let their little boys pretend to be caped superheros and one day dream of being President (he was born in 1985 BEFORE we sat in the Oval Office and I didn’t even dream that for him.) 

It’s not enough for Black mothers (or other mothers raising Black sons, but that’s a discussion for another day) raising Black sons to teach them their ABCs, how to say the magic words, “please” and “thank you”.  Black sons have to be taught how to maintain their dignity and self-worth when the world around them takes every opportunity to dehumanize them.  It’s not enough to teach them to say grace before a meal or their prayers before bed.  Black sons must be taught the strategies for staying alive WHEN (that’s right WHEN not IF) they are stopped by the police for driving, walking, breathing….

My Black son has grown to be a well rounded, loved and lovable young man.  He was a scholar-athlete (emphasis was ALWAYS on the scholar part in our house) in high school.  He graduated from college and is gainfully employed.  He pays his taxes, goes to church on Sunday and loves his Mama….

And a couple of weeks ago while exiting his job (in suit and tie), getting into his car, he was followed and stopped by a white police officer.  There was no speeding, no expired tags, no broken tail lights or illegal turns.  As a matter of fact the officer was in the parking lot when my son left his job and got into his car WITH A KEY!

The JOY and TERROR combo showed up again when he called me to tell me about it moments after it occured.  JOY – he was alive and on his way home after an encounter with a police officer and TERROR – at the thought of how it could’ve gone.

Maybe that’s why Black mothers raising Black sons, pray with such passion and consistency.  We know from the time they leave the safety of our wombs that we can no longer protect them.  We know that no matter how well we raise them, how wonderful they are as human beings, they will become feared and hunted. 

All I had to give him when he called angry and frustrated was my love.  Black mothers, you better make sure you have enough to give your Black sons when they call.