Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Fathers Day!!!

I was recently talking to a friend who likes to call himself a 'reformed player'. I wanted tips to give to the young ladies I was speaking to later in the day. I was to talk to them about things we do and say as ladies, and vibes we give off, consciously or unconsciously that make us prime target for hit and run bad boys, players, etc. Who better to ask than a 'reformed player'?

I asked him what he thought was the greatest common denominator for all the 'prey' he was successful with. He promptly replied "Daddy issues". Fathers who were not there, fathers who did not care, fathers who made home such a living hell that their daughter could break every rule with you and not care so long as you kept her from the harsh reality that was home a little longer.

Fathers! Some of them seem so oblivious to their God-given roles and mandates in the lives of their children, sons and daughters alike. Today is fathers day and to quote Bishop T. D. Jakes, good men need appreciation... the othere need encouragement. So I will like to encourage those fathers who need encouragement,fatherhood is more than a sperm and some money.

I understand that sometimes, society does not help you out, making it seem like all you 'owe' your children is food, shelter, clothing and some form of training. And even then, it's an 'attempt all' not 'answer all' exam so you can choose which obligations you want to fufil, especially where there is no strict law enforcement to compel you.

Fatherhood is more, however. The man your son becomes and the husband your daughter takes are dependent on the man you are. They will be looking for same or exact opposite of you; and thus your legacy affects the next generation. Your approval makes a world of difference to their sense of self-worth and the heights they attain in life. You wield a lot of power over their lives, so please tread carefully.

I will also like to encourage all those who have been wronged in one way or another by their fathers, and those who have never had a father. Remember that the greatest father of all is God and He is always there for you even when your father and/or mother forsake you (Psalm 27:10)

To those who have strained relationships with their fathers, today is a great opportunity to reconnect if they are still alive. As much as is safe and humanly possible, it is a good idea to relate with your father knowing him may help you understand you. Ask for the grace to give a perfect love to an imperfect man. 

That said, I will like to thank and pray for continued grace for all GOOD fathers, step-fathers, spiritual fathers, mentors and all other father figures. Thank you for being here on earth, a representation of our heavenly father. We LOVE you all. 

To the up and coming ones, I pray for the grace to be good fathers when the time comes.

And to the single fathers and mothers who are both mum and dad to their children, Happy Fathers Day, and God bless you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Snapshots of Human Nature: An Unusual Glimpse at Mental Illness...

There are moments in life that are just frozen in your memory, as clear as if it had been printed as a photograph and stored in a physical album. One of these is this glimpse at mental illness I got one Christmas...

I loved Christmas growing up. My uncles, aunties and cousins from Kumasi would come down to Accra and we'd all be merry together. Christmas day would meet the house filled with assorted aromas to suit the peculiar tastes present. 

On one such day, dinner was being served when we heard a knock at the gate. It was a homeless, mentally ill woman. A wave of sadness went around the house as it's always sad to see lack, suffering and loneliness when surrounded by abundant food, family and happiness.

My Aunt went to get some money and offered it to the lady. She refused saying that she just wanted to eat a home-cooked meal and that she could not remember the last time she had a home-cooked meal. The nostalgia in her voice was heart-breaking.

As a portion was dished out to her, she washed her hands and began to eat with a delight that was heart-warming to watch. She began to talk of her children and husband and her life before she 'lost it'. It was a perfectly sane woman that spoke. 

When she was done, she offered profuse thanks and went her way with a spring in her step. When offered money, she refused, saying that by the food and the company, we'd done more than enough...

This is a snapshot of human nature. When stripped bare of everything, our true needs and desires manifest; all we really need is sustenance and some love (and compassion)... the rest is dessert.

Feel free to share a story, or situation that gave you snapshot of human nature, good or bad. I'd love to hear them. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Today, I decided to love you

Today, I decided to love you
Cos love is a verb and not a noun
It's what I do day after day
Not what I say or feel today

Today, I decided to love you
Not cos there was no one else to love
Not cos you're the most perfect I found
But cos I chose you, above all the others

Today, I decided to love you
Not cos I've closed my eyes to your faults
But cos I've seen some, know there may be more
And love you anyway, maybe more

Today, I decided to love you
Not cos love is an easy thing to do
Nor cos I expect the same measure of love from you
But cos I want to, in fact, I already do

Today, I decided to love you
Not cos I expect you'll never do me wrong
But cos love forgives and keeps no record of wrongs
And though I hope I wont have to,
I pray I'll be able to

I decided to love you today,
Cos love is patient and kind and faithful
Cos love is not self-seeking or all me,me,me
Cos love doesn't ask- "what's in it for me"

Cos love is giving & giving and giving
And even when you're not getting any back 
Still giving some more till u can give no more
Today, I decided to love you

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Natural Hair Revolution???

I read a blog the other day that convicted me. This lady had just completed school in the UK and a lot of people were asking her what she intended to do next. Scratch that, actually, they were just asking her what school she intended to go to for graduate school. Since she graduated second in her class, everyone just took for granted that her next step was going to be graduate school. In her blog, however, she explained that all she really wants to do is get married and have kids and that all her life, she's just wanted to be a wife and a mother. 

As I read this, I fumed about how she was erasing all the hardwork feminists all over the world had wrought over the years and that this was exactly why women are still where we are. I thought, in the two steps forward, one step back dance, she was one of the steps taken back. And then I got to her next paragraph and bowed my head in shame. 

She said she knew 'feminists' and women's rights whatevers would jump on her back for this, but she had one question; isn't our cause the right to choice? Isn't all the advocacy to give women a choice in what they wanted to do instead of what society dictates for them from history? Why then would we take those chains off only to put a new set on? Why claim we are fighting for choice and yet she is not free to choose? 

She went to University and beat all the guys in her class to graduate second in her class in a science programme; the first was a lady too. Surely, this is enough proof that she believes a woman can do what a man can do too (or even better). She just chooses to be a housewife because that's what she's dreamed of all her life. Isn't that another goal, to free and empower women to pursue their dreams? We are fighting for a little girl in Africa's dream to become a doctor and condemning her dreams, calling her a sellout, because she does not dream the dreams we want her to dream... 

I feel like this is a little like what the natural hair community is becoming. I understand the passion behind the 'freedom from the slave mentality' cause and all. However, I believe we are allowing something that should bring us together to drive us apart because of our approach. We are not going to get people to wear their natural hair by calling them mentally enslaved, self-hating, etc. We cannot blame slavery for creating a divide, and turn around and do the same. 

We claim racism made us very aware of the different shades of 'chocolate', from coffee chocolate to milk chocolate, and also made us all too aware of how kinks and coils got tighter with darkening skin tones, causing us to reject our skin and hair, leading to self-hate, etc. So now once we get rid of our last relaxer, we turn around and hate on those who have not seen 'the light' and are still perming their hair.  

Correct me if I'm wrong, I feel like we are on the verge of the hair version of reverse racism. I thought the whole idea was to educate people about the historical reasons why they are conditioned to think their hair is not good hair and encourage them that kinks, naps, coils and curls are beautiful too so they should wear their own hair out. When did it become about forcing them, by calling them names, trying to make them feel inferior, etc. to conform to what you believe is right? I've heard folks call others victims, slaves, unenlightened, etc. because they choose to wear their hair permed. Isn't this exactly what went on in the past? Haven't we just changed the team doing the name calling? 

I truly believe that the natural community would serve the cause they are advocating better by educating the 'unconverted' , and leaving them well-alone to choose what they want to do with their hair. Yes, o, now it is comparable to religion. I asked someone why she fought others so hard and she asked me whether when I accepted Christ, I didn't go around convincing my friends they were wrong and that Christ was the only answer. 

I told her, yes, I shared. However, it's the Holy Spirit that convicts and so in the understanding that sometimes, Paul sows the seed, Apollo waters and someone else harvests, I share and if they do not accept, leave them alone, pray for them and continue working on myself in the hope that my life would be a good letter of recommendation and draw them to God. Maybe she could do the same? She scoffed.

You can encourage them to come-over to your side by rocking your hair so hard she'll want to rock hers too because really, just like  hellfire and damnation sermons are not as effective (in the long-term) as the message of love, all the name-calling isn't going to get us very far. I for one was drawn to natural hair by someone's hair. She didn't have to say a word. I went and asked all the questions and she patiently explained her whys and hows. If my hair is completely natural the next time you see me, it's because of her.

I honestly don't think any race has time for us, to figure out who is self-hating, etc. and laugh at us without our help. Most of them do not know enough about us and our features to do so. We are the ones using what should bring us together, to drive us apart. 

*natural hair here has been used to refer to hair that is not permed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are we losing focus?

I've seen and heard of countless girls and on the lower side guys get broken hearts and weep their eyes out and even sometimes go mad or commit suicide as a result of failed human relationships.

However, I have never seen anyone & I've heard of very few become that broken about losing their relationship with God.

We claim we want the best when it comes to love but very often turn our backs on the best love of all.

We value the valueless & disregard the invaluable

Are we not losing focus?