When children misbehave we punish them by putting them in a time-out. This usually involves having the child go sit quietly alone in order to calm themselves and depending on the age, reflect upon their behavior.
But what about grown-ups? Do we sometimes need a time-out too? Have you ever felt that your world is spinning out of control at a moment and you became angry, belligerent and insolent? Have you ever felt hurt, lonely, afraid, and uncertain? If you are human, I am sure you have felt many of these feelings. Sometimes we don’t know the answers to our problems. Sometimes we don’t understand our problems. In an effort to solve our problems, we sometimes create more problems by not taking the time to deal with our issues at hand. Avoidance of our problems often manifest in behaviors such as excessive indulgence in alcohol, drugs, sex, over-spending, lying, cheating and being neglectful of our responsibilities to ourselves and others. We often end up not only hurting ourselves in the process but damaging our relationships with the people that we claim to be important in our lives.
It is in the midst of our pain that we sometimes have to call a time-out. There is no one to punish us and tell us we need a time-out. Most people will not tell you when you are self-destructing and it is highly likely you are not willing to listen to the few who may tell you. Even when we know we need to stop, sometimes we are afraid to because that means admitting that we have a problem.
We all have problems. That’s life. That’s okay. It’s also okay to take a time-out. We sometimes need a time-out to listen to our inner voice (called intuition) that guides us. Sometimes we already know the answers to our questions and the solutions to our problems, but we won’t just stop and listen. We don’t have to always do something. Sometimes we first need to stop, listen, and think before we do.
We live in a technological society where we have access to information instantaneously 24/7. Yet many of us are still uninformed and misinformed. We only received a fraction of information via television, the Internet (if it’s on the internet it must be true) and social media and half of it it’s not factual. The reason why so many people are uninformed or misinformed is because we have become a society who does not read. Because we rely on the idiot box and social media to keep us current, many of have little to no knowledge about how we have arrived at the point we are right now and we don’t know where we are heading for the future. We are also losing our ability to have real dialogue with one another. We rely so much on texting and emailing that many people shutter at the thought of having a face-to-face conversation with another human being.
There is a wealth of information that cannot be learned from social media or the internet. Sometimes you have to pick up a book. And for those who can no longer fathom the thought of picking up that thing with pages and a cover, or for those who are environmentally conscious of the trees sacrificed to make books, many of them are available electronically. Cliché as it may be…reading IS fundamental.
The next time before sending that email or text, pick up the phone and call or pay someone a visit. So much miscommunication happens via email and text. You can learn a lot from non-verbal cues and sometimes people are willing to share more sensitive information that they are not comfortable sharing via text and email.
I don’t think technology was ever meant to take the place of human interaction and reading for real content and information. I think it was meant to enhance what we already do so we can just do it better.
Is a two-parent household inherently better than a single-parent household? Some would answer with a resounding yes! I dare to challenge the notion that this is always ideal. I think a lot of people speak on wishes and longing. I wonder how many people who champion that the only model that works is a two-parent household model actually really come from a two-parent household? Is it a fantasy based on some idealization which they believe would have made them a better person? Do they think if they had been raised with both parents that they would have had a life similar to the one portrayed on The Cosby Show or Family Matters or The Fresh Prince of Belair or Blackish? Or was that their life? Or was their life really more like the single mothers portrayed on shows such as Julia or The Parkers or something that could be a scene from The Wire? Ironically, few television shows aimed at the Black audience portray Black single mother households and when they do, they rarely do so negatively. So where do we get this idea that most children who are raised by single mothers (namely Black single mothers) grow up to become rapists, murderers, prostitutes, drug addicts, drop-outs, and other misfits of society? Are Black single mothers being unfairly targeted as being largely responsible for raising children who commit most of the crimes of society? Or is that the media spin? Furthermore, how do people who come from two-parent families really feel about being raised by both parents? Do most of them think they lived charmed lives because mom and dad were both in the home? Or do a number of these people have different stories–some good, some not so much?
I think most of us can agree that in a FUNCTIONAL, yes I emphasize the word “functional” two-parent home, children can benefit from the a better quality of life because of more household income and the practical teachings and wisdom from both parents. However, there are too many situations when children have grown up in highly DYSFUNCTIONAL two-parent homes which would question if those children would not have been better off if the parents had not lived together. Some children have tales of being physically, emotionally and worse, sexually abused by one parent or both. Some witnessed a parent being abused by the other parent. Some children lived in homes where the parents constantly argued and showed very little love and affection towards one another. Some lived in a home where a parent was chronically unemployed or underemployed which put the family in poverty. I am certain some have been raised in two-parent households and can recall a very happy childhood. This may cause them to believe that this happiness as a child was due to both parents being in the home when in fact it was due to the type of people the parents were and HOW they raised them.
As always economics and social standing are always factors when it comes to raising children. When a child is raised in ignorance and poverty, the future for that child is dismal regardless of the presence of both parents. With anything in life, it is not just about the quantity, it is the quality. There is no formula to raising children who will grow up to be mentally and emotionally healthy adults who make positive contributions to this society. We are products of our homes and external environment. I believe most of us try to raise our children the best way we know how, giving them the best we can.
Life can be hard sometimes. There isn’t a shortage of things to stress you out. Relationships with family, friends, children, and co-workers can sometimes be emotionally draining. Let’s not even get started on stress about finances, health, and safety. Add a personal tragedy or life changing event to the mix and you might be headed for an emotional melt down.
Nothing in this world is available in an infinite abundance. We must always replenish what we use. When we stop replenishing what we use or if we use at a pace faster than we replenish, eventually we deplete our supply. This does not just apply to material things we use each day. This also applies to our emotional well-being. Just as a bank account that falls to a negative balance if we do not replace the money we use, our emotional bank account becomes low if we do not replenish it. It is possible to give so much of our emotional selves to something or someone, that we become emotionally bankrupt. How can you continue to help anyone if you have nothing left to give? How do you keep from becoming emotionally bankrupt? How do you maintain your own emotional stability when you feel like you have given everything to everyone and everything else and you have nothing left for yourself? Who do turn to? Where do you go? What do you do?
One thing is certain is that you cannot ask those whom you give to, to replenish your supply. If they had it to give, they wouldn’t be asking you to give it to them. You can’t get something from nothing. But the key is that you recognize that you too need something. This is the reason why we all need a circle of support. Our circle of support should consist of different people who play different roles in our lives. We all need that person who will listen to us without judgment. We need that person who will offer us their wisdom and good advice. We need that person who will keep our secrets. We need that person who makes us laugh. We need that person who lets us cry. We need that person who wipes our tears and make us feel like we can go on another day. We need that person who helps us see the truth about ourselves. We need that person who helps us dream. We need that person who helps us realize our dreams.
If all of these people are wrapped up into one single person, then you are one of the lucky few. Most likely they are not. Not one of us is fully capable of giving all things to anyone. We are capable of giving the very best that we have to some. It is okay to give your best. Just remember to pay yourself first. That could mean taking a bubble bath, a day at the spa, seeing a movie or getting away on your own for a weekend. Most of all, don’t give it all away. As much as we sometimes love to help others, sometimes you have to let others help themselves. Most often, people only learn life lessons when they are allowed to figure things out for themselves. Don’t be so quick to rush to the aid of those in need. Allow people to ask for your help and be specific about what it is you will help them do. When we over extend ourselves, we end up going into overdraft. We later become resentful and feel unappreciated when others seem less than appreciative of our efforts.
Be good to yourself. Then be good to others.
Each of us come here for a purpose. Sometimes we often wonder what our purpose is. Whether we know it or not, we are all teachers and students. Many times, our experiences are lessons for others as well as ourselves. We are also comforters and servers. We have the power to comfort and serve others with kindness, generosity, and selflessness. Teaching and learning, comforting and serving is not always easy. Sometimes these come as the hardest challenges in our lives. Yet this is our purpose. Teaching does not come without learning and comforting does not come without serving. We will never figure out all the answers to the questions of why. It is when we recognize and accept the teacher, the student, the comforter and the server within ourselves that we find some purpose and joy while we are on this journey called life.
I am not a big fan of social media. I joined Facebook long after many others were up to a thousand friends and I still don’t quite get the concept of Twitter. I have yet to join Instagram because I just don’t think what I do in my everyday life is that picture-worthy and I would say I feel the same about others. Of all the Facebook friends we usually have, many of us probably only know half of them really well in real life (half is being generous depending on the number of friends), most are mere acquaintances, many are friends of a friend of a friend, some we don’t know at all, and some we probably wouldn’t want to know in real life.
I do understand the entertainment and usefulness of social media. Social media has is pluses. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your friends and family. It makes is easy to share our pictures and experiences, coordinate plans, or discuss hot topics of the day. You can easily connect with those you have lost touch with and sometimes meet great new people. With all of this easy access, there are bound to be a few problems. What could possibly be wrong with one of the greatest inventions since the automobile? Let’s go back to that break-down of who are Facebook “friends” most likely are. The half we actually know in real life is not usually the biggest problem. These are the people who are mostly our family and friends, meaning people you have most likely shared a meal with and know what you looked like BEFORE marriage and kids (better or worse). This does not mean that sharing with this group is 100% drama free. An angry tweet or a sarcastic post can result in a phone call from a relative or friend with hurt feelings, whether your message was directed toward them or not. Maybe your sister annoyed the hell of you today, but do you really mean to hurt her feelings by telling her this?
Social media is a playground and some of us love to play. This is another way social media gets us into trouble. I have heard so much about Facebook ruining people’s marriages and relationships. My response is always, Facebook didn’t ruin your relationship, YOU ruined your relationship. The thing is, when we talk to people on social media, we feel that because we aren’t actually with that person, touching that person, we aren’t doing anything wrong when we say certain things. Flirting seems harmless. Having sexual conversations and even sending explicit pictures may seem okay, but it is referred to as cyber cheating. Cyber cheating often causes problems between couples because of the real or imagined admirable attention being given to another person, usually of the opposite sex, on social media. “Liking” someone’s sexy picture or spending too much time privately chatting with another man or woman can land you in hot water with a significant other. My advice is to check yourself. Here’s how. If you are saying things to someone that you wouldn’t want your significant other to hear, or if you would feel hurt if your significant other was saying it to someone else, then perhaps you shouldn’t be saying it. It’s that simple.
Sometimes we talk too much. We over share. Yes, you had the biggest fight ever with your significant other, but does everyone really need to know this? Should everyone know this? When you share things like this, you diminish the sanctity of your personal relationships. Do you really want your mother asking you personal questions about your relationship? Do you want your friends meddling and offering you unsolicited advice? Well if you do, by all means, please keep updating your relationship status every 6 months and posting details of your every meal, every thought, and every opinion in your life. As for me, I still enjoy having a little privacy. Always keep ‘em guessing. 😉