Human Interest

Familial Aspirations

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My husband and daughters attended their 2nd annual father-daughter dance recently and I can’t tell you who was more excited, him or the girls.  For the last two years our group of dance dad’s get together and take all their daughters to dinner before the dance; like a father daughter date night (the sweetest thing).  A week or so later I partook in my guilty pleasure, the season premiere of Love & Hip Hop and got sick to my stomach as they previewed the upcoming episodes.  Once again, a portrayal of a father being arrested on national television.  Allegedly, the show has added 3 new cast members who are wanted for the murder of their father/husband.  During the episode I watched this young man talk about how important it is for him to be in his son’s life but how can that happen if he is incarcerated? Let’s be clear on my position, if he did the crime then justice should be served, but VH1 plays a major role in this and they are not taking any responsibility; morally or ethically and why just to boost ratings?  Is this the message that we want to continue to deliver to our young men and women?  Women, work hard because if you become a mother you can expect to be raising that child by yourself!  Men, go out and do something foolish, VH1 will make you famous and before the arrest is made you can have your five seconds of fame a few thousand dollars to leave to your child and oh yea a video clip of you getting arrested for your child to put in his/her electronic scrap book!  The reality about reality shows is that ratings drop if anything positive is depicted.  My mantra “You don’t have to be a product of your environment” is challenged by this because if one is not exposed to anything other than negatively portrayed men or none at all then there is nothing to aspire to.

There are real dads out here taking care of their children and families daily; working hard to ensure there’s a roof over their heads, food stocked in the fridge, and clothes and shoes on everyone’s body.  More importantly, these dads are showing their sons how to be men and their daughters what to expect and how to be treated by men.  When my daughters and I are with my husband the three of us step aside so he can open the door, it’s natural for them.  Father’s play an invaluable role in their children’s lives but many men are only exposed to the negative images they see on TV and environment in which they live.  As of late I’ve convinced my husband to help with building several projects around the house and this has equated to many trips to the lumber yard some of which by myself.  There has been several times when I’ve been in the parking lot struggling trying to put wood in the car, plastic I had it covered with blowing away, one end of the wood falling on my toes, and saw dust literally covering my body and though multiple men passed me none of them stopped to ask if I needed help.  One trip I was down to my last piece of wood and was wrapping it before putting it in the back seat on the floor and this older gentleman who had to be about 60 years old came up and said “let me help you with that” and before I could say anything or finish wrapping the wood it was in the car.  He said “there you go but you may want to vacuum that out later” while I was looking at the pile of saw dust on my car floor I thanked him (probably twice) and he went into the store.

My initial thought was chivalry isn’t dead, there are some older men who will still get the door for you, clear the sidewalk so you don’t have to walk on the grass, and catch the elevator so you don’t have to wait.  The current generation of late teens and 20+ may need some reminders but I think my daughter’s generation has a fighting chance.  I listen to my daughters daily stories on the way home from school uninterrupted so they can continue to keep the information flowing.  Aniyah says “Karbon says he wants to give me a kiss and marry me but I told him he has to get me a ring first and he said ok”.  I smile because she knows not to let anyone kiss her and because she has standards, no marriage without the ring.  Now I’m sure this is the part where most moms would get concerned, I did too for a moment after smiling about what she’s learned from observing our household behavior but then I thought about it.  The lesson here was not to become afraid about the discussion of a kiss but more so to thank Jennifer and Guy Pullen for setting such a great example for what marriage looks like for their son and daughter (Karbon and Rain).  Girls are taught to aspire to marriage and motherhood from a very young age but boys aren’t.  After she told me that I said I have meet this Karbon and introduced me the next morning.  That weekend we were all at a birthday party together and we meet Jennifer and Guy and quickly understood where he got his good manners, kindness, and sweet spirit from. Everyday for the past week young Karbon is either waiting at the door or nearby to greet Aniyah or show her something.  One morning he was at the door with a Doc McStuffins book and said “look what I have Aniyah” but saw she wasn’t in a good mood, he looked at me I said she’s a little tired but I’m sure she would love to see your book, Doc McStuffins is one of her favorite characters. So he kindly asked again and she went.  Another day, once again in a bad mood because she was tired he came and gave her this huge bear hug and it made us both smile. 

The point simply is The Pullen’s have set the stage for Karbon and even at a tender age he knows how to treat girls and they’ve taught him that not only should Rain aspire to marriage and having a family but Karbon should as well. Growing up in this type of environment produces high hopes for the future because divorce rates will lower, the percentage of single mothers will decrease, and the possibility of domestic violence will lessen if we are teaching our sons and daughter to aspire to some of the same things: marriage, respect and cherish the opposite sex, family is important, chivalry is not dead, women are delicate and are a gift from God, and fathers are just as important as mothers.  

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