Like father like son, is the expression that comes to mind when I received this image over text message. A father's hope is that his child would grow in knowledge, health, and spirituality. Well at least this is what one of my best friends, Adelras Johnson, wants for his son. More opportunities and a better childhood than the one he had. Not having his biological father around during his upbringing, unlike most others, created an even broader awareness of the importance of being active and available when it came to raising his child. So what happens when that responsibility is questioned due to the moral implications that accompany being a good father, but not wanting to extend that goodness to establishing a relationship with the woman who bore the child? Many have propagated their own opinions concerning the matter but none can compare to those who have been directly affected by this decision, the mother's.
How many of us know someone who has been affected by not creating a relationship with the other parent, often times, experience an unprecedented amount of tension, mostly stemming from rejection, resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness . I've witnessed co parenting fail, not due to a lack of parenting, but more so because one of the parents can't quite accept that having a child doesn't make it packaged deal. Sad to say, many have taken on this approach creating an unhealthy environment for children to be raised in. Visitations of the other parent are revoked, unprovoked. Money is laundered. New relationships are tethered because of envy and strife. Imagine all the ruined date nights. Just when you thought that you would never see your child again, the phone rings after you naively posted your plans on social media, and your visitation rights have now been restored. Your current situations soon becomes your past situation as you constantly get strung along and they decide that they're no longer willing to be strung along with you.
In adolescence, we often find it hard to formulate appropriate responses not based upon our emotional state. Our minds weren't yet developed enough to see beyond what it is that we were feeling. Understandable. However, what's not so understandable is being an adult, recognizing that there are unresolved emotions that need dealing with, ignoring them, and creating a behavioral pattern that makes parenting one child feel like two. When is enough, enough? When does the emotional well being of the child supersede personal vendettas? The court system is left with the responsibility of telling adults when and when they can't visit with the child that they created because adults can't come to terms with the fact that a relationship, or the lack of establishing one, has failed.
It takes a significant amount of love and strength for someone else, to be able to see beyond what the heart may want. I say may only because who actually wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with them? How unhappy would that make life? Waiting on a suitable companion and parent would be far more rewarding.
To all of the parents who have done nothing wrong by way of their child, but are yet under constant scrutiny due to someone else not healing properly or just choosing not to, keep doing what you're doing. The latter reward is a happy, healthy and emotionally stable child. I would that you find solace in this. Depend on God in prayer and the support of your family and friends. Those who may be able to provide comfort during those times when you feel entrapped and greatly unappreciated. Although your little one isn't able to articulate how much they love and appreciate you understand that in those moments when they kiss your nose or cry when you leave are all expressions of a child's endearment.
In relationships, individuals bring separate everything to the table. Separate lifestyles, finances, values, and sometimes even beliefs. But at what point do indifferences become a stumbling block to the growth of a relationship? Can two people actually have a fulfilled, functional relationship when so many vital differences are at play?
Some may agree that opposites attract but I believe that notion applies best when considering personality types. Because when it comes down to it, many relationships tend to falter when too many aspects of their separate lives can't be conjoin. Consider, for instance, dating someone who likes to live beyond their means. Who doesn't value their money or see the importance in saving. A prudent person whose had to work hard for everything they own more than likely won't be able to coexist with the aforementioned. They'll constantly be at odds when each party continues making choices based on the established values that were already set in place prior to the beginning of the relationship. Just imagine saving $40,000 to put down on a house and you've been exclusively dating a person whose been spending non stop frivolously, neglecting their financial responsibilities. You sit down and discuss building a future together and discover that Discover is owed that $40,000 before any bank will consider financing your mortgage. Talk about a blow and a let down. You now have the fiscally responsible one feeling remorseful and discontent and the other feeling despondent for disappointing them and dropping the ball, which unfortunately in the case of many, causes that person to spend even more. Sometimes the easiest way that people deal with debt is by ignoring it and not dealing with it at all. This is never a good thing.
When considering lifestyle, values, and beliefs, you must not ignore the differences to avoid confrontation because in one form or another, it's inevitable. It's important to be transparent when it comes to your beliefs and equally important not to hide any aspects of who you truly are. Why spend the rest of your life pretending while the other person lives comfortably within their own skin. I've observed that many Christians aren't really open about abstaining from intercourse until marriage because they're afraid that it's played out, but can your faith really be 'played out?' Be honest, be open, you never know how your perspectives may influence someone else.
If you're currently getting to know someone or even if you've been together for a duration of time, consider discussing your differences. Never assume that over time the other person will change or bend their will. After all, communication is the lifeline of any relationship.
Have you ever heard the saying, "What you see is what you get?" Now count how many times that saying couldn't be furthest from the truth because what we see is often only an illusion of what's desired but just not yet, or potentially never, acquired. Existing under this kind of delusion is so common because it seems easiest, or so we think. The difficulty comes into play when we never actually give ourselves the opportunity to develop and we end up working on the outside and leaving is with very little intrinsic value. It's actually a lot of work when you take into consideration the amount of effort that goes into pretending to be something that you're not. So the question is, why do we spend so much of our resources working to perfect what's on the surface versus developing what's on the inside.
Everyone, for the most part, had some knowledge of what they wanted to be upon reaching adulthood.
I find it most interesting that after college, a large portion of people live as though they've reached that place without actually reaching that place. You see the images flashed across the television screen and displayed on the cover of magazines and the imagery reminds you of a place where you want to be, so you do what's necessary or easier to do, which is to mock and play adult pretend. We get into credit card debt, not because we're motivated to help back a designer who contributes 70 percent of their profits to our dear charity, but because it satisfies the illusion. We purchase fancy cars that we can't afford to upkeep because we're living within a system that tells us that we haven't made it until we're able to afford the more advanced version of things we wanted in your adolescence.
I can remember a time when there were so many hair growth products on the market. Now, what's mostly bought is weave. We'd rather give the illusion that we're eating the right amount of nutrients to sustain a healthy head of hair than to actually eat healthy to sustain a healthy head of hair. We'll give the illusion of having a small waistline by wearing girdles, rather than eating right and exercising and actually getting a smaller waistline.
Our goal to satisfy what others may think of us can also greatly cloud judgment. Isn't that how many get sucked into the illegal narcotics game? You see the cars, clothing, and houses and get an immediate idea as to how to obtain it quickly, with as little effort as possible but consider this. Would you rather make 9 dollars an hour at 16 or 9 dollars an hour as an adult after serving a 10 year prison sentence?
I once wished for a lot. I wanted to have a certain level of understanding and intelligence but rarely read. I wanted to maintain my size 6 frame but stopped working out. I wanted to perfect my gifts and talents but neglected to put the proper work and time into them. So I often gave people the illusion that I knew more than what I actually knew, I wore bigger clothes to make myself appear smaller and I impressed people by offering a mere fraction of what my gifts and talents could produce. We all may be in one form or another, guilty of pretending to be something that we truly aren't but the best way to actually become it is by forgetting about impressing people and doing the work within yourself and for yourself. Without the extra effort, what's truly underneath will begin to surface naturally. You may even begin to weed out all of the pretenders in your life, making room for more genuine and healthy relationships.