Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Funny thing happened as I was checking my email the other day...

"When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things." - I Corinthians 13:11

What does it mean to be a full-grown man. Because there are a lot of folks, a lot of brothers, who are walking around and they look like men.... They've got whiskers, they might even have a child, but it's not clear to me that they are full-grown men.

As a consequence, there are a lot of 30, 40, 50, even 60-year-olds who never quite grew up, who still engage in childish things, who are more concerned about what they want than what's good for other people, who may not treat their women the way their women deserve to be treated, who may not engage their children an nurture their children in the way their children need to be engaged.

The first thing is setting an example of excellence for our children..... If we are to pass on high expectations to our children we've got to have high expectations for ourselves.

One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy, Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else's shoes, being able to look through their eyes. Sometimes we get so caught up in "US" that it's hard to see that there are other people and that your behavior has an impact on them. And sometimes brothers in particular don't like to feel empathy, don't like to think in terms of "How does this affect other people?" because that's considered being soft. There's a culture in our society that says we can't show weakness and we can't, therefore, show kindness. That we can't be considerate because sometimes that makes us look weak. That sometimes we can't listen to what our women say because we don't want to act like they're in charge.

And our young boys see that. They see when their mother is being ignored. They see when you are inconsiderate. They see, they watch, and they observe. We have to change that cycle for them. So that they can grow up to make better choices and value life for their families.

You can tell what's important to somebody, not by what they say, but by what they do. Where they put their bite, where they put their energy, where they put their time......

You're not strong by putting other people down, you're strong by lifting them up.

In a Father's Day sermon at a South Side church, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama appealed to fathers in the black community to begin acting like "full-grown" men in order to earn the devotion and respect of their loved ones.

Ok, everybody get all of that? Here is the funny thing that happened to me. I almost accepted that the entire thing, although I really couldn't see myself in every aspect of what it said! 

Now, let me preface this comment by stating: The views and opinions expressed on Ya' Heard are not necessarily those of the guy who actually posts them (me). The posting of said comments are strictly (well, primarily) for entertainment purposes and do not necessarily (well they kinda - after all I did write them) reflect the views and opinions of the author! DONE!

Now boys and girls, hang on for a lesson in objectivity. See what I failed to do initially was to exegete the email message. 

First off, I had to consider WHO the message was coming from. Albeit a nearly anonymous email, I did recognize the person who actually sent it to me... a WOMAN!!! Aha - he says! Now the email was direct, succinct, and moving... but biased. I perceive that this was probably authored by a woman. 

What man in his right mind would actually write those types of things about himself or any other man (see Sen. Barack Obama)? I thought he was married? His comments sounds like something I would have said at an all women's mixer for the NAACP and I was the guest speaker or something. Probably a great pickup line, right??? 

Wait, he WAS at a BLACK church on Father's Day. More women than men heard that message that day! Bet he pocketed some numbers on the back of programs in the foyer, eh?! Anyway, the perspective was that of a woman.

Secondly, WHO was the message FOR? Obviously, it was meant to give the impression to men that it was them, but it went to a lot more women than men so it got reversed and was targeting women. Black women to be more precise. See how slick women are? Anyway, it was written BY a woman FOR women.

Now here's the topper, WHAT was being said? Basically, it was a woman telling men - well - how to be men? I know, I'll repeat it... A woman was telling us men how to do the "man thing". 

I'm quite sure that after the thousand of generations of men who have graced this world throughout history, none of us could figure it out and none of us bothered to pass down what we knew - so the women had to do it for us. 

Before I completely put my head on the chopping block here, remember my disclaimer!!! Thank you. 

I read and I saw a lot of bashing. I'm not saying that I expected to see a great deal of praise! In fact, even when quoting what the Distinguished Gentleman said, we only got the "blast" part of his speech. On Father's Day! COME ON!!!!! I know that SOME positive things were said regarding black men. Where dat at??? She (the author of the email) commented on how black men haven't "matured" and are still portraying men with child-like mentalities, mistreating the black women, and embarrassing our black sons and daughters. 

We are insensitive brutes with no perception of consequences and passing on that negative legacy for our sons to follow. (Tisk, tisk!) Shame on you Black Man!!!! Shame! (walking away in disgust, shaking my head)

Sistas, I was raised by a single black mother in the ghetto projects on the Chicago southside in the 70's and 80's. Yep, she raised 6 of us (4 boys)
alone! We all managed to make it through those times and I believe we have all done pretty well in terms of learning our lessons. 

As men and fathers, well I believe that we had to learn those on the streets and through trial and ERROR. Yes, there are a lot of men out there who just don't get it yet. Some very good women have become victims of society's native sons and have suffered great losses and make great sacrifices in order to recoup. BUT, you all are not off the hook either. 

There are many sistas out there chewing up good black men and fathers and spitting us out like old chewin' tabacky... You are looking for strong yet sensitive men. You are looking for aggressive yet tender men. A man who will cry with you one minute and think he's the best and then call him a wimp for being compassionate and for reciting poetry. You take our kindness for weakness (that aint right)!!!

You tell us to be a man - have you ANY reasonable idea of what a MAN is supposed to be? Oh, you were going by what your father did... I see... so, uh he had it together, did he? That's terrific... 

Do you suppose he just popped out of the womb endowed with these traits? I know his father set a good example or he had other male role models! AHA!!! Well, what role models do we have today? Sports athletes, rappers, and street pharmacists. Nice outlook... Why is it that way? 

Prestige is inherent with wealth in today's black society. A man making $60K working a steady job and barely getting by (due to the cost of living and maintaining one of those OTHER women) is enough to get a man thinking that he had better jump on the bandwagon and write a hit hip-hop groove. Just listen to the lyrics of the top 10 black R&B or Hip-Hop songs. What they talking 'bout Willis? Well, look at the rewards... big cars, half naked women, bling and cash to blow... what's the downside? 

Look at the confusion we have to deal with! Put a good man in those circumstances; insensitive woman, nagging, unkempt, not willing to do the things that a good woman/wife is supposed to do for her man - despite how she feels, the lure of quick money, loose women (who he doesn't have to care about), and respect (as long as he has money and is still making records) - and you get the topic of last Sunday's message.

Well, I have exhausted myself on that one.


Anonymous said...

You have exhausted- me with alll of that.
I would like to say something about damaged goods. Good women who are damaged goods cant do for themselves what they need to do for othersin order to fulfill self.
As we are created and known by God before he placed us in our mothers womb, we must come to know that the dammage that occures during residents in and a upon leaving the womb is evidence of not knowing one self. We must go to God as women in order to have a true father whom can give us the love that builds confidence to begin knowing whom we ougt to be,instad of whom we thought we were to be. See there is no vision of self without the original blueprint. I have learnt to love my brothers only as much as I have learnt to love myself, I am still working on self, myselfish self will become selflessly someones someday that is what I am giving to myself and others..

ShakespearNoir said...

What an earful!!! I don't really know if you were addressing me directly or just making a statement but I truly appreciate your insight.

I agree that we ALL need our Heavenly Father's guidance and continued construction to help us to become who we need to be in order to fit into another person's life. Love of self is the window to discovering love in and for others.

As for damaged goods, let me say that I am NOT a misogynist! I just hate the misguided and destructive outcry of "hurt" women in American, especially that of Black women against Black men. Sistas, can't you all just get along with the brothas, huh? I promise it'll get better... Acknowledge that we ALL have issues and need to be working on them and put our trust in the Lord Jesus. Only then will we know who and whose we are and can proceed to flower and beautify the lives of others...