For as long as I can remember, I’ve never run away or shied away from who I am. By that I mean my birthright or race. Oh, I’ve had my questions of why I had to live with my father instead of my mother after their divorce. But then I finally resolved that idea by realizing God always put you where you should be in his plans. You might not see it at the time, but over time you will come to know you were placed in a specific household for a reason.
Nowadays, as I approach the latter part of my years on this earth, I am struck by how many people can’t or maybe won’t come to the same conclusion. They seem to curse their luck or blame God for not putting them…say in a more favorable (as in the rich and famous) environment.
As they grow up and meet other kids, they wonder why their likable neighbor, Mr. Johnson, or somebody like James Brown, Puff Daddy, Martin Luther King Jr. Joe Kennedy (JFK’s father) or even Bill Gates (Microsoft founder) wasn’t their father. Unfortunately, some do wish they were born to a different race. Some would be surprised to know that some white kids feel the same way. If only they were born black instead of white. They may be able to dance better, rap and possess rhythm that seems to elude them. The fact is most of the time, its just kids trying to figure out who they are in this society. Exactly where do they fit in and how successful will they become…as tried and true born Americans.
The problem arises when they take it to the next level. They may become rebellious as teenagers. A time when hormones are raging, anxiety to be independent and living on their own. Anywhere but in their parents, or other relatives home. This doesn’t apply to all kids, but it does cross a lot of our children’s minds. You don’t have to be an accredited phycologist to reach this conclusion.
Kids, primarily teenagers develop this air of nothing their parents or other adults say makes sense. Mostly they feel like they are better than most and certainly smarter than given credit by their elders. They become rebellious when parents or others are forcing them to accept a reality in which they don’t necessarily believe in. In my opinion, that is a significant reason for so much distrust among parents and kids at that point in their lives. Some even do the unthinkable, they run away from home to live with whoever. Again, anybody but their parents.
I look at the political awakening of the Parkland Teenagers and see hope for our Democracy in spite of the doom and gloom of Trump World. “Out of the mouth of babes” came the cry that the NRA is just like any schoolyard bully. If you hit them where it hurts they too will feel the pain. They like most Americans have had enough of this self-centered, self-promoting, truth-bending, me, me and to hell with anybody else societal attitude. Where the rights of a selective few overrule the concerns of the majority. It is a welcome change of conversation on a national level. For the record, I know the difference between a target rifle and an assault weapon. The assault weapon belongs in a military arena, not my neighbors closet.
Keep in mind this is just an opinion piece based on my experience and observations. If there is a good foundation of love, respect for self and others provided by the adults in the home, all involve survives the teenage years.
The problem, as I see it is when the child grows into an adult and has not adequately dealt with their childish conclusions. Remember, as adults’ decisions we make govern our life choices. These type people don’t mature as fast as others. Their reasoning always seems to be off key, when they are based upon a false assumption of who they think they are. Or worse yet, who they imagine their parents to be. Rather than whom we are as people. They interpret guidance and any discipline as an attack on their person. It can be a trying time during a relevant period in the family lives.
To be sure, I can only go back to how I came out of this teenage cloud of superiority. I merely watched and admitted others were better than I at specific processes. I started to listen, believe when older people told me that I would have to work on improving me as a person. I became my own worst critic which was monumental for me. The reward was that I would get better at things I was already good at doing. Again, believing people in specific fields that counseled me.
Once I began to listen to other points of view including my parents, I found my own piece of mind. I was able to learn lessons from my and others experiences. Adding those lessons to what I already knew and continued to gain helped me to become a more evolved person. It didn’t happen overnight. But I can honestly look back at my life and see a lifetime of changing views based on the reality of situations. Make no mistake about it, looking at life through a realistic prism is the only way to grow and prosper.
We expect our offspring to be smarter than we are but not blind to pumped up self-importance without any meaningful accomplishment. As parents, we accept the role of the adult in the house. We believe in quotes such as,
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
I will only add one other thing that I’ve learned as a father and parent. The child MUST accept their responsibility in the process of growing up too. Was I successful as a parent? At this point, I would say the jury is still out debating. My father was effective in laying the proper foundation in me. My mother, even with her oddities of opinion was a sincere person. I know she loved me while passing on traits that have and continue to serve me well throughout my life.
Now I write and speak with confidence of knowledge learned, practiced, and even evolved. I still get up every day with the expectation that I will hear and possibly learn something new.
Another quote that I have lived by while understanding that I have the responsibility to be aware and understand the problem before I can indeed say these Frederick Douglass words. “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
I now have an unquenchable thirst to leave something behind that my benefit somebody. It is why I write and choosing the subjects to write about. My latest book, Misguided Intentions is a riveting story about family relationships. At least that was my intention at the outset. I have decided to update and re-release my semi-biography, Unchon-ni, this summer. Next, I’ve chosen to take on a project for a relative by telling her story to be released this fall. All accounts are about real-life experiences as ordinary folk. I ask you to remember my reasoning for writing these type books as you read them. If you don’t get to read any of my books, remember this blog and take note of the subject matter. For I am always writing or speaking from the heart. I know of no more honest way to communicate with anyone.
Peace & Blessing…stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a 2018 day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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We are in a continuing effort to publicize my book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. It examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of my latest and fifth book, Misguided Intentions. Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions
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