The Grandparents? My Parents Became

BY: - 6 Jul '10 | Parenting

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by Harriet Hairston

Bill Cosby once told his children that  his parents  were not the people he grew up with. He said of his mother,  “You’re looking at an old person who’s trying to get into heaven now!”

I  have had the opportunity to watch my sons interact with their grandmothers  this summer, and to  some extent, I feel the same way Bill Cosby did.   Grandparents are like the sequels to the stories we tell of our parents growing up.   To make it interesting, they are more patient, fun and loving than what we witnessed growing up.

This is not to say that my parents were not patient or  loving.   Quite the contrary!   I just think both sides of our family get a kick out of watching us try to do what we complained about them doing years ago.   They  laugh behind our backs and tell jokes to one another about the way they successfully cursed us with the “I hope you   have a child that acts just like you!”  hex, then exacerbate  our troubles by giving  our children candy after candy and hug after hug when we’re trying to be serious.

Of course I’m being facetious (kinda), but it’s a joy to see my children interacting with  our parents.   Their wisdom now is so  refreshing, and there are many  times when I sneak and use it when they’re not looking.   Then I act like it was my idea  the  whole time (don’t  act like you don’t do that).

Either way, I appreciate the grandparents my parents became in a very genuine way.   The so-called “mistakes” they said they made while raising us (I think I turned out OK, though) gives us the opportunity to learn an even more excellent way of raising our own children.   That alone should give them reserved seating in heaven.   :o)

BMWK, how have your parents taught you how to better raise   your children?   What memories do you have of them allowing your children to get away with things you never were able to get away with growing up?

God bless!

~ Harriet

Harriet Hairston  is a woman who slips and slides in and out of labels (military officer, human resource manager, minister, mentor, spoken word artist and  teacher).   The only ones that have stuck so far are “wife” and “mother”  (the most important  in her estimation).  The rest have taught her well that only what she does for Christ will last. There is one more permanent label she holds:    “author.”   You can purchase her first book,  “Who Are You?”   simply by clicking on the link.   You can also contact her at harriet_hairston@yahoo.com.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.

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One thought on “The Grandparents? My Parents Became

  1. TheMrs

    Hahaha, I don't know who these people are that claim to be my kids grandparents but why weren't they here when I was growing up? Just recently I was talking on the phone with my parents after giving my children a detailed list of chores for the day…clean their rooms and load the dishwasher(they have a luxury I didn't have growing up, all they have to do is rinse the dish and stick it in the rack). At this point, however, I am completely exasperated with them since the room cleaning never really got done and we are in about month 6 of me telling them to get it done….let's see I am a slave driver by telling them to clean up behind themselves, it's my fault that their rooms look like this because I bought them all the toys and crafts and clothes, since it is so easy to do I need to load the dishwasher, how dare I expect them to put away their own clothes(mind you everything is already folded sorted and what needs to be ironed is done and on hangers), and those babies are thirsty and I can't not let them get something to drink(30th water and bathroom break in an hour)….rewind to my childhood and I clearly remember getting a spanking when my room wasn't kept up, I had way too much of everything, we had to bust suds everyday, I had to iron and fold my own clothes, and I shudder everytime I think about how my mother got us when we asked for something to drink…swallow your spit…lol.

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Lessons From My Father

BY: - 6 Jul '10 | Parenting

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by Delano Squires

June was a good month for my father. Both of his children were home for Father’s Day and he celebrated a birthday shortly thereafter. While our relationship has had its fair share of mountains and valleys, my father has taught me many life lessons that have had a lasting impact on me as I have matured. While applicable to many different types of relationships, I hope to remember these nuggets of wisdom if I am fortunate enough to become a father.

1. Play D

As a young man, I often wished I had some of the freedoms of my peers. I wasn’t allowed to go to parties or many other social events like other kids in high school. My father also made sure that I contributed more to the household than consuming food and electricity. At that time, I didn’t enjoy living in a strict and structured household but I have come to appreciate the discipline he instilled in me as I’ve matured. The Bible says that a father disciplines a child that he loves, whereas an unloved, unclaimed child is allowed to do whatever he/she pleases. Ultimately, when children don’t feel loved at home they search for love in other places, often with negative consequences.

2. Tap the Mine

I’ve learned that some people easily and readily make the most of their potential and natural abilities. Others only scratch the surface of all they can accomplish. The latter group are like mines, with precious material trapped deep within but unable to access their full value on their own. My father was my miner. His extraction process was at times uncomfortable and unpleasant (see Lesson #1), but he saw potential in me and committed himself to not letting me waste it. He pushed me to strive for excellence in every endeavor and never allowed me to make excuses for failure. He expected a lot from me and I, in turn, have come to expect a lot from myself.

3. Leave a Legacy

In a recent interview with P. Diddy, the interviewer questioned the media mogul about the example he is setting as a father, given the fact that he has six children by three women. Diddy conceded that while his children deserve more personal time from him, they are all well taken care of financially. The entire interview was indicative of the way our society often measures men according to their earning potential, possessions, titles, degrees, and other indicators of financial and social status. While these things have their place in my own life story, I often tell friends that my greatest impact as a future father will hopefully be in the lives of the generations that I have the privilege of helping to create. My goal will be intergenerational prosperity, but the legacy I want to leave is more than just money. For instance, I am more thankful for the examples of character, integrity, wisdom, and dependability that I saw in my father than any expensive gifts that he could have given me. My hope is that I’ll be able to do the same thing for my children.

4. Don’t forget your anchor

One thing I love about my current church is the number of men who are active in service and ministry. These brothers remind me of the central role that faith has played in my father’s life. In fact, I was extremely fortunate as a young man because almost all of the men who were most influential in my life were Christian brothers. They, like my own father, taught me lessons that were both spiritual and practical in nature. As I’ve developed my own relationship with God, I often remember them when I think about what it means to be a Christian man in an increasingly secular world.

5. Spy Games

All of us are being watched by siblings, friends, co-workers, spouses, and others who are close to us. They take notice of the way we carry ourselves and treat others. They also want to see whether our private practices match our public proclamations. This does not mean one must live a perfect life. People can forgive mistakes but they are much less forgiving of hypocrisy. I learned that it is important, particularly for parents, to be examples that you would want your children to follow.

This list is certainly not exhaustive and it doesn’t fully account for all of the life lessons I learned from my mother and the other influential women in my life. These life lessons simply help me navigate the rugged terrain of everyday life. They are useful at work, with friends, and in relationships. My hope is that I will one day be able to pass on a few pearls to my own children, but until then I’ll keep using the ones that have been left for me.

BMWK, what are some of the most important life lessons that you’ve learned from your parents, friends, and loved ones? What life lessons do you intend to pass on to your children?

Delano Squires is currently a graduate student in Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy at the George Washington University. His focus is contemporary African American culture, urban education, and child development. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Squires.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.

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