Does your daddy dictate your career, your spouse, or maybe how you think?
In 1492 Columbus sails the ocean blue. One hundred and 30 years later, colonists and their slaves settled in the future United States of America. It takes another 245 years before 1865 when slavery is abolished through the 13th Amendment. Again, another hundred years later, in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I have a dream” speech. In 2020 Black Lives Matter fights for change across America.
Follow me for a second; a generation is approximately 25 years. Therefore, between the discovery of America and the beginning of colonization by immigrants from Europe and Africa, there were 5 generations. It then took 10 generations to abolish slavery, 4 more generations for nationwide social changes, and 2 more generations to let us know that America is still a racist nation. I know some will balk at that last statement, feel free to disagree, but I stand by that statement. I am excited for the next 25 years.
But how is this relevant to our daddy topic?
The simple fact is that no matter how much we don’t want to be like our fathers, a piece of daddy influences each one of us. The older I get, the more I find myself looking, sounding, and thinking like my father. Even though I do admire my own dad, this still comes as a shock each time I hear my daddy and look in the mirror to find my own reflection. I read in The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, that our action is a direct result of our thoughts, and our thoughts are a direct result of our faith or beliefs. And where does the basis of our faith come from? You guessed it, our parents, or guardians.
Even when we disagree with our parents’ beliefs, a part of that belief system is in our own minds until we ask ourselves the right questions. Many of us, unfortunately, don’t ever question our daddy beliefs. Therefore, we end up thinking much like our parents think. Yes, this is a gross generalization as if everyone did this, our society would not progress. The good news is that some do practice critical thinking and question their upbringing and make appropriate changes based on the answers they discover. The sad part is even when a person is as beaten down as African Americans it takes many generations to change society.
Daddy, are we complex or simple?
A simple mind would say that social change is easy. All you must do is convince 1 generation that change is necessary. Just 1 generation that does not want to listen to daddy and all will be well. History, however, teaches us a different lesson. That lesson is that to change an inherent belief in society, it takes generations to cause people to question their upbringing. As I write this, I am 42 years old. My parents did a phenomenal job of ensuring racism was not a part of our home. My parents preach a message of love and acceptance regardless of a person’s race, gender, or social standing.
I took this message to heart and throughout my twenties and thirties I would pride myself that I wasn’t “racist.” As if I am racking up points or something. The sad part is that now, I realize I am racist. Yes, that was a hard sentence to write. So how is it I say I am racist, but I believe all people were created by God with equal rights and liberties? The simple fact is the racist generations that went before me, and those influences still impact the way I think and act. I am proud to admit that I do not make a single conscious decision about a person based on their race. However, what decisions do I make subconsciously that are inherently racist?
But why does this internal struggle even exist?
God created us, especially men, to want to become better versions of the generations before us. Unfortunately, we are human beings and flawed to the bone. So even with the best of intentions, we may subconsciously make the same mistakes our fathers made before us. And that there is the key. We must become less subconscious and more conscious about change.
I want to say that again. We must become less subconscious and more conscious about change.
In July of 2010, my fiancé, 2 kids, and I drove to Texas to visit my family. For my wife, this would be the first time she met everyone. During that visit, my dad sat all his children and their spouses down for an intense conversation. He called the conversation his “Blessing.” What he did next opened a door to change. He spent the previous year or so meditating on his successes and failures as a father. What stuck out in my mind was how apologetic he was for not “loving us.” The funny thing is that I always knew my dad loved me. But what he was particularly concerned with is that he didn’t express this emotion often enough to his satisfaction. His apology really got me thinking and I decided to ensure my kids heard the words ‘I love you’ daily.
I LOVE YOU Daddy
Yes, I know I haven’t done that to perfection, but I am certain I say it more than my father did. However, if he never had his talk, would I have made the same decision? I can confidently say that I would not have been so intentional about it. Sure, I may have increased my words of affection as I am naturally more affectionate than my father, but it would not have been intentional. My dad opened a door I didn’t even know was there.
What do you want to take from your father and what do you want to leave behind? Take a moment and look at your life. Do your life choices reflect your desires?
Let me know. I would love to talk about it.
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