Monday, February 22, 2016

I Know More "Never Married" Parents Than I Do Married Ones

Is marriage before having children officially a thing of the past?

I won't make this a cultural or race thing, although it's very difficult not to do so.  After all, it is Black History Month, so I want my black brothers and sisters to understand how extremely important this is to us.

Of course, my intent is not to offend anyone, but I'm pretty sure that some will be offended.  So let me say in advance that I am not picking on a group people.  I'm just sharing my life's experiences like I normally do on this blog.  I've seen some evidence of co-parenting working well.  The father and mother are in different households and they share custody.  For some, it works.  However, for many, it doesn't.

Sometimes the reasons for a mom and dad to not be together is completely understandable.  Maybe one of them is abusive to the other physically or emotionally.  Maybe one of them doesn't understand the concept of loyalty and commitment.  Whatever the reason, not everyone is meant to be a married couple.

For kids' sakes, it would be nice for people to realize this before they bring a child into this world, but to sum it up in society's terms: "things happen."

But it really doesn't matter how or why "things happen" after everything is said and done.  We all wish that we could change or rearrange certain aspects about our past.  The problem that I have with the whole "Team Single Parent" thing is that I rarely see never married parents promoting the traditional order towards being a family:

Couple + Marriage = Family.

I realize that not everyone believes in my traditional marriage formula or that it's some sort of cure-all.  Some people divorce.  Some couples are cool with co-habitation.  But the aforementioned formula was the traditional route to having a family 50 years ago.  I don't see single parents stressing marriage to their children and here's my two cents to why that's the case: to do so could be considered admitting failure.

How many never married parents want to tell their child to get married before having children only to get the response, "Why didn't you do it?"

Who wants to have to answer that question?  Not many people like teaching life lessons when they are the case study.  Even though the lesson could make the child's life easier/better in the long run, most never married parents would rather not look bad in front of their kids.

Which is a reason why never married parenting is celebrated by so many people today.  Instead of saying, "Don't make the mistake that I did," we hear people saying "I've got this."  It's why we hear some people proudly boast, "my baby doesn't want for nothing." 

That may be true.  But because of that "I can do it myself attitude," their children, more times than not, will grow up and do the same thing.  And that's one of the reasons I now know more never married parents than I do married ones.

A lot more.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Black People Just Need to Focus

Black parents need to teach their kids not just how to survive, but how to thrive.

I come across a lot of Facebook videos over the course of a day, but one recent clip I came across really stuck with me.  It was a video of three black men sitting around a tree discussing why black people have difficulties succeeding.

To hear them break down the plight of my race seemed basic.  How can our problems seem so simple, yet take such a Herculean effort to attempt to correct?  One guy in particular spoke so many truths that I couldn't keep up.  It made me wonder why we don't seem to be able to have the success that other races have.  Whites had a head start, so I won't compare blacks to them.  But Asians, Indians, Middle Eastern, and other races are arriving to this country after us and are transitioning quite well in some cases.

Why is it that black people appear to be stuck in the mud?

Then I heard it in the video.  The mention of the word "wealth."  So many of us black people have spent most of our adult lives wanting to be "rich" because no one taught us how to focus on being "wealthy."  There's a difference.  We need to teach our kids how to leave something behind other than a burial debt owed to the funeral home.

Is it the YOLO life style that keeps us focused on today and not tomorrow?  To a certain extent, it is, but there's more to it than that.  Black families just simply need to focus and teach.  That's all.  It's that simple, but we just won't do it.  Some of us would rather be seen in public than heard by our children.  Think about that.  So many black people would rather spend their time entertaining themselves than raising their children.

How do we fix it?  In my opinion, it starts with the men.  We're the key to all of it.  It's not to say that women don't contribute, because they do in a mighty way.  But black men are the starting points to the success of black people.  We need to teach our sons how to handle their business.  We need to teach them that there's a time and a place for everything!  You can have fun like a baller and still be a financially stable child of God in the process.

But it takes FOCUS!

Keep your eye on the prize!  Don't let a pair of $200 shoes cause you to ignore your power bill.  Don't let a disagreement with the mother of your kid prevent you from being a father to your child.  Don't let something as trendy as tattoos affect your earning potential in the workplace.  Focus!

Black people spend more money on fashion and entertainment than probably any other race, but what do we have to show for it?  When you die, what will you leave your children?  Nikes?  Bottles of Ciroc?  What?

You deal with life just like you deal with emergencies: make sure that your loved ones are safe first and then take care of yourself.

  • Make sure that you have life insurance and plenty of it.  A lot of millionaires came up on what their parents left them in life insurance policies. 
  • Make an effort to own property if given the opportunity to invest.  It's one of the best legacies that you can ever leave your child. 
  • Lastly, and it's probably the most important: make sure you condition your child's mind to do the same for their children.
The difference between black culture and other cultures is that we don't always prepare our kids properly.  Black parents need to teach their kids not just how to survive, but how to thrive.  We get so caught up in day-to-day, check-to-check things that we fail to teach our kids that they can do better than what we did.  We owe it to them to give them a little boost when possible.  Leave them with something to build upon so they can leave that and more for their children.

Don't send your kids into the world without a weapon.  Arm them with knowledge and opportunity by focusing on their futures.  Only then will your job as a parent be complete.

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Take on Cam Newton and Super Bowl 50

Is Cam a sympathetic figure or not?

The Super Bowl has come and gone for the 50th time.  Although I wasn't impressed very much by the game, it still had some interesting story lines.  The main one is the story of one Cam Newton.  The guy with the huge grin who terrorized defenses all season long.

Here is why I think that he's being treated unfairly, but how he brought it on himself:

Muhammad Ali was one of the biggest trash talkers of all-time back during his hey-day.  What made him loved by few and hated by many is that he didn't mind telling you how good his was.  He didn't have to worry about social media criticism.  He came along decades before Facebook and Twitter.  He didn't have to worry about the media that much because they idolized athletes during those days.  The media would sometimes even protect an athlete by not disclosing certain stories rather than exposing them.

However, as good as Ali was, he got put on his tail quite a few times.  He lost 5 bouts.  But he never stopped talking about being The Greatest no matter how badly he lost.

Fast forward to 2016 and the atmosphere is completely different.  The media waits to prey on athletes with "gotcha journalism".  Athletes are subjected to fan scrutiny from social media and blogs like this one.  TV stations have a 24 hour rotation of talking heads who tell us what should make us feel outraged and what shouldn't.

Enter Cam Newton into that environment.  He has the bravado of Muhammad Ali, but at the moment appears to lack the resiliency. 

Last night, when the game ended, he walked through the hoard of media types to shake hands with Peyton Manning to congratulate him.  It was classy of him to do so, but I can't give him credit for it because that's what he's supposed to do.  You don't get credit for things you should do anyway.  However, his display of professionalism during that exchange is a lot more than Peyton Manning did in 2010.

Manning lost the Super Bowl in 2010 and didn't congratulate the winning quarterback (Drew Brees) on his team's victory.  Instead, he walked to the locker room with a look of dejection.  Completely classless and unprofessional, although you'd never know it because the media has its tongue inserted in Manning's butt cheeks on the regular.  They refused to bad mouth him to the extent that they are with Cam Newton.

Cam has been blasted over the past 24 hours for walking out of a press conference before it was completed.  He got tired of answering questions on why Carolina lost and he got tired of overhearing a nearby Bronco explaining how Carolina lost.  So, he just got up and left.

Completely unprofessional, but not even remotely as big of a deal as Peyton Manning not shaking hands.  However, unprofessional nonetheless.

But it's only a big deal because he made it one.  He spent the entire season essentially saying "look at me!"  His team destroyed their opponents throughout most of the season and Cam didn't have a problem celebrating that fact.  He invited the pressure that he received going into the game last night.  He said, and I'm paraphrasing, "if you want to stop me from dancing, stop me from scoring." 

Denver was up for that challenge.  Like Mike Tyson once said, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

And Cam got punched early and often and he didn't know what to do.  What was so easy for him all season long turned out to be the most difficult thing for him to do on the biggest stage there is.  Cam didn't just get punched in the mouth, he got KO'd.  And now all of the people who told him to "stop dancing and smiling" were dying to ask him questions on why he couldn't win the Big One.

That's rough.  Anyone would have a difficult time getting through those 3 minutes of questions, but again, Cam invited this.  He's been a champion on multiple levels and it never crossed his mind (nor should it have) that he could lose this game.  But he did and he should have dealt with it better than what he did.

Someone on my Facebook said, "He's only 26.  How was he supposed to handle it?"

Seriously?  26 years old is over halfway to 30.  At what point do you consider a person to be grown?  Geesh.

Someone else said, "Until you've lost a Super Bowl you wouldn't understand."

No, I've never lost a Super Bowl, but 40-something other quarterbacks have.  I wonder how many of them walked out of press conferences? 

Another said, "Cam's human. What is he supposed to do?"

True.  He's human.  He got caught in his feelings.  But, let me drop this quote on you:

"Too bad they don't make Band-Aids for feelings." 

Guess who said that?  Cameron Jerrell Newton.  I guess he need one for his last night.

Cam Newton is a lightning rod for media bias because of he is a black QB.  Let's be honest there.  That's a huge part of it.  He invited even more scrutiny with his actions.  I have no problem with that whatsoever.  But he let the media and the haters win with his actions and that's why I'm disappointed.

I want Cam to get back out there and do his thing.  I enjoy him giving footballs to the kids, the dancing, and Superman poses.  Heck, I grew up in a culture of trash-talking.  But you have to pay the piper when someone beats you.  You don't have to give an eloquent speech after the biggest loss of your career, but you have to live up to your obligations.  That's what makes you a "professional football player" and not just a "football player."

He could have said "no comment" for 3 minutes last night and I personally wouldn't have cared.  But to walk away in the middle gave the haters and racists all of the ammunition that they needed.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What Time Is The Super Bowl?

Manning vs. Newton - Who ya got????
That's the question thousands of people will be asking on Super Sunday.  Two weeks of anticipation ends with the most camera flashes and eyes glued to the TV screen than any other time during the year.  The 50th Super Bowl will kickoff and parties across the country will celebrate as the most entertaining sporting event in history commences.

By the way, 6:30 PM Eastern Time is the answer.

However, you definitely want to peep in about 30 minutes earlier to ensure that you catch Lady Gaga's rendition of the National Anthem.  Vegas has "prop bets" based on how long it will take her to sing it.  You can bet less than or more than 2 minutes and 20 seconds.  Take the under on this one.  Lady Gaga like to show off, but only Alicia Keys has gone past 2:20 in the last 10 years.

I personally prefer to tune in just before the National Anthem.  As much as I like football, I can't do the 10 hour pre-game show that the talking heads will throw at me.  When 50 different people make their expert analysis on the game, the contradiction in the opinions leave you more confused than convinced that any of them know what they're talking about.

Hopefully, the commercials will be great again.  It's been awhile since they have been.  There are too many "feel good" commercials with lost dogs and helpful horses than they are funny and entertaining ads.  I'm hoping that Lil' Sweet makes multiple appearances for Dr. Pepper.

Enjoy the game, all!

Oh, I almost forgot!  My prediction: Carolina 21, Denver 16.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This is Why I'm Worth A Million

Thanks a million!
Achieving a million dollars is not an easy feat. Even if you're an athlete or a movie star, it takes a lot of time and effort to reach the point that you've earned a million.

Well, this blog post isn't about me earning a million dollars. I wish that it were!  But I am proud of what I did earn: a million page views.

Since July 2010, I've posted over 600 blog posts.  Some of them are strong opinions on how I view the world.  My perspectives may not always be popular, but I'm not afraid to give them.  And apparently, you all love it!  For that, I'm very thankful.  Because some things just need to be said.

Sometimes you have to talk to people indirectly and this blog allows me to address many issues going on in the world that may even apply to those who are reading it at the time.  It may even apply to me and things that I'm going through or have witnessed.  Yes, blogging can be therapeutic as well.

Other posts are just stories that I've rarely shared about my life.  Thanks to my father, I'm a natural-born story teller.  I tend to remember a lot of details from situations that brought about a big laugh or created some sort of turning point in my life.  Readers can use the keyword search on this site and click on "storytelling" to learn so much about me in just three or four stories.

1,000,000 was a number that I never really thought was realistic.  I remember hitting 10,000 and thinking to myself, "why does someone care enough about what I think to view this 10,000 times?"

I was stunned by it.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that things would get to this point.  For those who helped contribute to the count, I am grateful.  I just hope that this blog has helped you see things from a different perspective, raised awareness on something important, made you laugh/cry, or even just helped you kill a few minutes in the waiting room of the doctor's office.  Whatever purpose "Thank, Q" has served, I'm just glad that it was useful.

Hmmmmm...  I can say "Over 1 Million Served" now, huh?

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