Friday, May 1, 2009


This week seemed to FLY by to me! I hope you all had a productive week, and I hope will have an even better weekend!

So, yesterday Rameer mentioned that he had gone out and spoken to a group of young girls about self respect. I think it's one thing to hear from our mothers, grandmothers and sister-friends about self respect, but it's quite another to get a man's perspective. I was so impressed that Rameer took the time to do this, because our young girls need to learn more than ever that they are more than their bodies and their sexuality. They should know their worth, know that they are beautiful, and know that they are God's children.

Last night as I browsed through my friends' status updates, links and photos on Facebook, I clicked on a link from that featured Michelle Obama. In the story, she was quoted from People Magazine:

"I had a father and a brother who thought I was beautiful, and they made me feel that way every single day," says Obama, 45. "I grew up with very strong male role models who thought I was smart and fast and funny, so I heard that a lot. I know that there are many young girls who don’t hear it."

Good parenting - especially the love, support and encouragement she received from her father - helped her to become the intelligent, beautiful, confident woman, wife, mother and First Lady that she is today.

This morning as I signed into email and Blogger to post my blog for today, I received my daily notice from Makes Me Wanna Holler - E. Payne's blog about family, being a husband and a father. The title of his post for today was Father Involvement, so of course I had to read it since it seems that between yesterday and today, that seems to be the recurring theme. He posted a video of a commercial I'm sure you've all seen before, but I love I'm posting it again.

The first time I saw that commercial, I laughed...and then got very emotional. While I knew my father and spent time with him and his side of the family growing up, I didn't grow up with him in my home on a daily basis. My parents divorced when I was 12 years old, but were separated for years before then. My dad always told me I was beautiful and smart, but the daily encouragement and love that allowed me to love myself came from my mother. She told me that I was smart, beautiful and worthy everyday. She always said I could do anything...and I believed her. She was always there to listen to me as I read my essays and reports to her. She stayed up with me doing homework that she didn't quite understand; and she was there front and center at all of my awards ceremonies - ever the proud mother. She did the same for my sister. A day never went by where she didn't tell us how much she loved us. She does this still.

But TWO parents telling you that everyday - a mother AND a father? How powerful that is! If you had/have that in your life, you're truly blessed. I'm not just talking about two people living under the same roof who happen to be married with kids. I'm talking about two people who take a vested interest in raising their children to feel loved, to be encouraged, to feel like they matter and who validate their existence everyday. Being a parent is more than conceiving a child and putting clothes on their back. It's about shaping a mind, cultivating a spirit and loving unconditionally.

And it doesn't stop at parenting. Like Rameer, you can "parent" by mentoring - to both young girls AND young boys. To whom much is given, much is required. Share your heart, your time and your knowledge and wisdom with a young person who may need encouragement and love. You have no idea how much you can change a life simply by giving of yourself.

While I could have waited to write this blog for Father's Day, I feel the urgency is now. If you are a parent, soon will be, would like to be one day or are a mentor, the responsibility is great - but the rewards are ten times greater!

Have a great weekend!



AH said...

FIRST B*tches......(I feel bad now...*sad face*)....LMAO!

Brooke said...

LOL!! Don't feel bad...but then again...Annamaria might tase you!

Protect ya neck! :)

AH said...

My father was my BEST friend.....he could do no wrong. While he walked out on my Mom the day before my 1st birthday (took all the furniture except for my crib...yeah, she was traumatized), I saw that man everyday of my life....until his death when I was 16. He always let me know how special and pretty I was, even when I went through the ugly duckling phase....and that last until after college. LOL. Unfortunately, my mother never did that (that's another story for another blog), so when I lost that one person who let me know that supported me, things went downhill from there. One thing I emphasize to my male friends with daughters (who are not with the mother) is to make sure they maintain STRONG bonds with her/the daughter. He will be that one person she will need in the future in more areas than one. Whoops....appointment is here....

Rameer said...

Wow...I'm kinda taken aback that my action resonated with you and was referred to in your blog. I'm kinda...I don't know what I am.

Thank you for mentioning it. I really didn't think about it, nor do I think about anything I do with kids or young adults. I just do it, cuz the older gods put me on, and it's my duty to give back. I had tons of people who helped me - and continue to help me - in my life. From male relatives who stepped in when my biological didn't bother; to the many women in my fam, to the brothers & sisters in the neighborhood who would scold me and guide me on the right path, to the Catholic school and youth system, to even the Pops, Dres and Dions of the world at S.U. Hell, even Daoud (who didn't much care for me) hit a brother with some science.

People of color have a history of taking care of each other, especially our youth. And I love children, especially BAD ones - cuz I was there. So anytime I can do something, I do it. I don't even think about it, or make a big deal about it, cuz I was raised that you're SUPPOSED to help on in any little way you can.

Imparting my knowledge, advice or whatever I can is simple for me, and I never expect anyone to notice it, cuz I've always been the "responsible one" of the kids in the family and in the neighborhood (yet I was bad - figure THAT out).

Thanks for making me feel funny, If I was standing near you, I probably wouldn't even look you in the eye for making me shy.

Great blog - without all the Rameer references...


Brooke said...

Didn’t mean to make you feel funny. I just noticed that there seemed to be a message resonating over the last 24 hours that began with you, continued with that quote that I read last night by Michelle Obama, and was capped off with E’s blog today. While we seem to always hear about a mother’s impact on young girls – hell, I even reference my mother’s impact on me in my blog today – we rarely hear about the impact that fathers and male role models have on young girls. We usually leaving the mentoring of young girls up to adult women. But as AH said, some women don’t naturally fall in line or feel comfortable in that role. Mentoring can come from anyone at any age. I am constantly seeking the wisdom of older men and women – mentoring never gets old.

AH, I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your father and your mother not giving you the support and encouragement you deserved. But it sounds as if your father’s presence in your life left a healthy, lasting impression that laid the foundation for the woman you are today.

Rameer said...

Women are the backbone of every society. Historically speaking, when an invader/enemy wanted to crush a society, they killed/raped/took their women. Why? Cuz that's the way you truly destroy a society. You kill as many men as you want, but take away the women...the battle is lost. They are the most treasured things in civilization - the life-carriers, mothers, nurturers, sustainers...the FOUNDATION.

One of the most hurtful devices of slavery, and much of the reasoning that the Black community is STILL messed up in a general sense today, was the separation of the Black family. The white oppressors knew that keeping us separated, dividing us up, raping and breeding our women, etc. would keep us in a state of disarray and slavery (mental, emotional, spiritual) that would last long beyond the physical trappings of the institution of slavery. It gets deep...

Growing up in a family of women, I'm always a bit partial to young women and making sure they come out okay. But I'm like that with all younger heads...but just a little extra with women, cuz they've got extra things to deal with, and a societal viewing them as less equal and forcing self-image concerns upon them.

I read that Michelle Obama quote as well. It made me smile.

Anonymous said...

B...good topic babe! it is a beautiful thing to know you are making a positive difference in someone's life....this is great! AH you inspired me in a special way!

Annamaria said...

OK I posted earlier but I guess it didn't stick...(SIGH)

FIRST OFF...My taser is now fully charged...LMAO


Third this topic is especially near & dear to my heart. My parents had a tremendous impact on me growing up. I never felt unloved & always felt beautiful. My parents still tell me to this day...
And maybe it's just me but although she is still in my belly I ADORE MY DAUGHTER ALREADY!!! My life means soo much more now because of her I can just imagine when she gets here. I tell her EVERY day that I love her & that she is beautiful!!! AND sooo does her daddy thank god!!!
Hope everyone has an amazing weekend.
Brooke give the kids & your sister a hug for me!! :)

Annamaria said...

One last thing I would like to note...Sometimes it's not what we do as parents that make us better it's what we don't do. My mom was "BLESSED" with the 2 worst parents. They have mentally abused her since birth. AND every day I THANK GOD FOR THEM...
Because my mother is the most AMAZING, CARING, LOVING, WONDERFUL MOTHER I HAVE EVER EVER MET. If I am 1/4 the woman & mother she is I would be proud. She is one of the most selfless women I have ever met in my entire life & has always strived to be there for her kids. I love her immensely. And she did that with NO role model!!!

Brooke said...

This is true, sometimes life puts people in our lives to show us what NOT to do or how NOT to be. Some men I know who are fathers say they're great fathers because their fathers weren't. It can easily go the other way, but thank God that in your mother's case it didn't.

Rameer, as mean as you SAY you are, you're a teddy bear inside - and a positive influence :)

Tanya said...

Great comments from everyone...

I have to say that the impact of my father was lasting. My parents were separated since I was 7 years old...but Daddy was always there. He went to parent teacher conference with my mom by his side...and was there for me. He didn't even flinch when it came to me. I am so very grateful for that. I think that is why I am so selfless when I work with the youth I work with. I hate to see that many youth don't have both the mom and dad...the ying/yang to a child's existence until they learn to be a responsible adult.

It saddens me that so many men are not a part of their children's lives. Children benefit so much from having both parents. I know that my younger sister has been slighted by this. My father's untimely departure from us in 1994 (I miss him so very much) left my younger sister at 2 years old with out that part in her life. Unfortunately for her...her mom wasn't willing to allow for others to step in and provide some help. I hope that now that she is almost I can be more of an influence and put in that good stuff so that she is better for it.

I encourage mentoring...but do it for real...don't be fake...all children pick up on those that are fake. Trust me...LOL...the kids I work with tell you in a minute. But it is about building positive relationships with children and adults that make our communities stronger and richer. So mentor that little cousin...who everyone rolls their eyes about...because that is the one that needs it the most.

I can keep going...but thanks Brooke for the blog. I don't usually get to write because I am at work...but I am home I got to add my 2 cents (or more LOL)

Much luv and have a great weekend!!

Rameer said...

Hey! Tanya posted! Yay!!! For those who don't know...I LOVE Tanya! I really of the sweetest women I've ever met. Beautiful inside and out...complete marriage material from the first day I met her. =)

And what she says is true - the worst thing is to deal with young'uns and be fake about it. They ALWAYS pick up on it - I've watched adults play themselves! But then again, I remember I always picked up on it when I was young, too.

Everything Tanya wrote is dead-on...but what it's Tanya, so that doesn't surprise me!

Brooke...have you been talking to some of my Facebook female friends behind my back?? Cuz that "teddy bear" crap sounds like it's right out of their playbook...grrr!!!

Lol...have a great weekend, everyone!!!

Brooke said...

Nope, haven't been talking to your friends behind your back, it's just that we're all right in our assessment of you :-)

Tanya, you are so right- people know when you're being fake. If it's not genuine or you can't sincerely find the time, then don't do it.

It's great that you had a father growing up. While I didn't have my biological father with me on a daily basis, my mother met someone when I was 16 that she dated until he passed. They never married, but he was my step-father. He did things with us and took us places when my mother couldn't. He even came up with my mom to take me to Syracuse and met all of my professors - and then moved me back home. He easily stepped in where my father was absent, and I will love him forever for that and I miss him tremendously. Fathers don't have to be biological - just there.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a great topic. I agree a fathers presence is vital to a childs development. My own father had a serious heroin addiction that he kept hidden from me. Despite his faults as a man he sent for me every summer from ages 8 to 15. He bought all my school supplies and clothes. But most importantly he always took the time to get to know me and always give me a positive self image. I was quite the ugly duckling as a kid.He would always ak questions and get in my head. Some of my favorite menories are of us going to Central Park. He'd bring a couple of sandwhiches and sodas and we'd sit for hours and talk about everything under the sun. He'd tell me how much he loved me and how smart I was. He always stressed the importance of family and made sure I knew mine. He was the kind of man who would shut down our block and get all the kids to play games. like hopsctoch, freeze tag, hide and seek dodge ball and stick ball.To top it off he would buy all the kids the old 10 cent icees.Now that he has passed away those times mean the world to me. People use to ask me if I was ashamed of him due to his durg addiction. I'd have to say no,not at all he was a wonderful loving and caring father despite his personal demons as a man. So to all the great fathers out there. Keep doing what you do, your kids need my father I want to say,I love you DAD and I miss you.

Brooke said...

Wow Stephanie, thanks for sharing that. And I know what you mean. My father is a recovering alcoholic, so I know all about demons...which is why he and my mother aren't together anymore. And my father is one of the most intelligent men I know. He's been sober for years now, but I know he still struggles with the decisions he's made and the regrets he has. But because he was who he was, I am who I am. And I thank my mother for being strong, keeping our family strong (I spent summers with my father's side growing up too...thanks to my mom trekking us down to Maryland) and making sure we knew that we were loved everyday.

Sounds to me like your father was good man despite his demons. As much as some of us may have certain feelings towards our parents, good or bad, we always miss them when they're gone.

Annamaria said...

Stephanie your story made me cry (pregnancy hormones sorry)

BUT sounds like he loved you to death despite his battles within. YOU are an extremely lucky lady!

Georgia Peach said...

It's so true - I heard about Mrs. Obama's comments the other day and it's funny because this is something I think about a lot as an adult. Parents don't realize how much impact they have on their kids and if I ever decide to have any I want to make sure that I instill in them the belief that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to...that's important as well as feeling loved and beautiful. Great topic.

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