Girlfriend’s Guide to Family Values

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Thought for the Day:

“The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.”

John Adams

Question for the Day:

Have you abandoned family values?

Hey everybody!  I apologize in advance because I’m kind of ‘on one’ today and there’s a distinct possibility that I might offend someone.  Of course, that is never my intent but you know how that pesky truth can be.  It has a funny way of disregarding one’s feelings.  Anyway, I recently made the mistake of trying to watch an episode of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and it instantly inspired me to get off my dusty and post something.  Now, as I’ve previously stated, I try to limit my viewing of reality television because, in my opinion, most of these shows are metaphorically assassinating womanhood, particularly Black womanhood with every unnecessary use of the word “shade.”  (See: A Ratchet Reality)  But, the episode I just watched was so ridiculous that it made me wonder what  in the world has happened to the moral fiber of this country?  The irony of this show is that they’re casting people for the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” despite the fact that virtually no one on the show is even married or seems to have the slightest idea about how to maintain a healthy relationship.  You couple all this garbage television with a President who’s been married three times and believes in groping married women’s genitals, and its no wonder America’s sense of family values is as backwards as Kriss Kross in Cross Colours.  But, I think it’s time for somebody to take a stand against this insanity and, as Iyanla Vanzant would say, call a thing a thing.  What we as a society are doing in our homes and in our relationships should be called anything but family much like the women on RHOA are anything but housewives.

In the episode I watched, Kandi (an entrepreneur and married mother of two) was threatening to “choke the s**t out this b**ch.”  The “b**ch” in question was Porsha (an entrepreneur and radio personality).  Apparently, Kandi was none too pleased about how Porsha allegedly lied and accused Kandi and her husband of wanting to have sex with her and have their way with her in Kandi’s hidden sex dungeon.  Porsha implied that Kandi wanted to drug her before taking advantage of her.  Kandi vehemently denied the allegations and had proof that it was Porsha who wanted to have sex with her after a drunken night at a club where the two were intimate and Porsha apparently offered sexual favors.  Kandi had proof of all of this because she pulled out some old text messages from Porsha assuring her that she wouldn’t “rape her on camera.”  (Side note to my older readers including my mama: No, I’m not making this up).  It was about this time that Kandi distributed hard copies of the vulgar texts to all her friends at a formal dinner party to prove her allegations against Porsha.  This was also the moment when I realized that “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” had gone completely off the rails, much like society’s family values in general.

Now God knows, I’m not trying to come off judgmental.  I’m actually a pretty open- minded person.  As a social worker, I am genuinely respectful of people’s differences but being open and accepting of others preferences and just saying that every single thing we can imagine doing in our homes and in our bedrooms is okay are two different things.  When there is absolutely no standard, then our kids will be at a loss for how to gauge what is healthy behavior in a relationship.   This is about right verses wrong, plain and simple.  There are some things that are just flat out indecent no matter who you are or what your lifestyle.  And with our country’s moral compass proving to be so far off course, as evidenced by Donald Trump’s election, I believe it is imperative to return our focus to building strong families that work.  The best defense against poverty, disenfranchisement, inadequate education, incarceration, and  limited access to wealth building resources is the security and influence of an intact and functional family unit.  It is certain that the Trump administration will take few steps to ensure the playing field is level, so it’s up to us to look after our own and set ourselves up for success.

Now, family values are not just about having the standard two parent home, 2.5 kids and a picket fence.  I would never knock non-traditional families, especially if there is no love or safety lost for a child raised only by grandmamma or in a foster care situation, for example.  Families look all sorts of ways, but the basic reality and empirical evidence is clear.  Children who are raised by two people in safe and secure environments are more likely to do well in school and graduate, abstain from premature sex,  live above the poverty line, and avoid the criminal justice system.  When we blow off basic family values and turn weddings into Instagram fodder, marriage into threesomes, divorce into something as routine as a mammogram, and minimize the importance of modeling self-control, decorum, respect and fidelity in our relationships, the consequences for our kids are severe.  A generation of broken and confused children will have far-reaching effects on not just our individual families but broader society as a whole.  All one has to do is watch a little cable television or turn on the radio and it will be perfectly clear why five year olds are twerking, ten years olds are sexting, and twelve year olds are having babies.  How are we going to encourage our children to stop fighting and killing each other, when that’s all the trap music on the radio describes?  Heck, when wealthy professional people get on television and attempt to claw each other’s eyes out, what do you expect an inner city kid without a job to do?  Ill wait…

So with that being said, I’ve comprised a quick list of basic rules, I’m talking about the ground zero fundamentals that could support a reasonable sense of family values.  I’ll call this “Family Values for Dummies.”  As always, feel free to take notes.

  1. Three is a Crowd – To watch a show like “Love and Hip Hop” for example would seem to suggest that a marriage is nothing without an extra set of genitals to choose from.  I’m all for having a choice but relationships can be difficult enough with one person, let alone trying to manage the sensitivities and expectations of extra folks.  I don’t really buy that having an extra person in your bed will make your relationship stronger.  I can’t imagine staying in love with someone if the next man is making my toes curl. If you’re bumped to coach in your marriage when you paid for a first class seat, eventually you’ll want a refund.
  2. Don’t screw other people – No, cheating is not the new normal and EVERYBODY DOES NOT DO IT.  I am so sick of people who cheat trying to perpetuate that BS to justify their lack of self control.  There are plenty of monogamous couples who do not cheat on each other.  But if you’re entering into a marriage with the hidden belief that fidelity is impossible or unrealistic, then you wont set high standards and will allow behavior from your mate that you really don’t desire.  No, you don’t owe your man an extra vagina if he doesn’t believe yours is enough.  Maturity is realizing that sometimes, there isn’t more and you need to make the most out of what you’ve got.  You can’t always go back for seconds and never being satisfied with what’s put in front of you means, you’re just greedy.
  3. Fist fighting is for the playground – I know everybody still loves Chris Brown despite the fact that he went upside Rihanna’s head and we swoon over Empire’s Terrance Howard despite his numerous incidents of domestic violence but let’s be careful not to continue this tradition of normalizing abuse.  Fist fighting the ones you love is not what happens in a healthy family. You put up your dukes on the school yard not in your backyard.
  4. Watch your mouth – Your husband or mate is not a “nigga, fool, punk ass, or a mf” and your woman is not a “bitch.”  If you believe those words apply, then what’s your malfunction for deciding to spend your life with them?  Your words have the power to build up those you love or break them down to the very last compound.  Don’t go complaining about what a “real man” or a “real woman” should be doing if you are not even willing to speak to them like a real person with real feelings.
  5. If they’re not trying to marry you, don’t have their baby – If he has not proposed marriage, he does not see you in his life for the long haul.  So why then do we women insist on intentionally making permanent babies with people who are likely just transitional.  That’s like buying a house because you finally got a decent paying temp job.  You’ll be underwater in no time and there are no benefits! (Especially for the child) #FACTS
  6. Marriage is supposed to be permanent – If you’re going to get married, can you at least entertain the possibility of forever?  There’s not supposed to be an escape hatch that’ll conveniently present itself every time you’re relationship hits a rough patch.  If you want to be married, you want to work on a marriage…forever.  Happily ever after does not exist, but a relationship that two people commit to working on for a lifetime, just might. (See: Forever, Forever Ever? (Part I)
  7. If you make a baby, raise a baby – There is no good that comes from deadbeat parenting.  You will essentially be starting a child’s life with the burden of a broken heart and a void that they may never be able to fill.  On some level, he or she may always wonder if they were the reason their parent was not around.  The result is often a diminished sense of self-worth which can lead one to make the unfortunate decision to become a cast member on a show like Love and Hip Hop.  Lord knows, we don’t need anymore of those.
  8. Your butt shouldn’t be on social media if you you’re married with kids – Do you really want your son’s friends enjoying your booty shots, twerking videos, or sex tapes online?  What exactly are you doing when you’re secretly trying to accumulate more followers on social media than your daughter?  It’s no wonder marriage feels so tangential these days.  Not only are people assuming cheating is normal, but online flirting, solicitation, and inappropriate chatting is going down in the DM though we cant seem to properly “follow” our mates or “like” our own families.  Seriously, log off already and focus on being a spouse and a parent. (See: Assed Out )
  9. Work and take care of your family – Michael Jackson famously stated in his hit “Wanna Be Starting Something” that “if you can’t feed the baby, then don’t have a baby.” Those babies you had so much fun making will need food, diapers, clothes, shoes, field trip money, football cleats, school supplies, braces, shots, daycare, summer camp, dance lessons, haircuts, school pictures, band instruments, glasses, prom money, and college tuition.  If you’re only plan to support your family is to marry a baller, hit a million views on YouTube or get cast in a music video or reality show, then you do not need a family.  And if you are in love with a man who does not work, I hope you love Uncle Sam just as much because he’s likely going to become your new Sugar Daddy.  (See: Wake up, Wake up! (It’s The First of the Month)
  10. Invite God back into your family – I know it’s 2017 and everybody is too “woke” for Jesus but no matter what you believe, you have to agree that there is a strong correlation between a strong faith and family values.  People who defer to a higher authority instead of making their own rules tend to set more boundaries in relationships and have a greater sense of accountability that governs their behavior.  Everything won’t fly if you believe in a God who is all-knowing and invested in what you do with this life He’s given you. When one recognizes and appreciates God’s love, he/she will be mindful of how that love should show up in relationships.  I’m sure many people will disagree, but it may be very difficult to succeed at the game of life if you make up the rules as you go. A playbook (Bible) and a coach (God) go a long way in building a strong team (Family) and winning in our relationships and in life. (Joy)

 So, my best advice for anyone wanting to tighten up on their family values and forge new and improved relationships is to start by submitting to the Most High God, loving oneself enough to understand and receive the blessing of family, and to love, cherish and respect those in your life without exception.  It would be kind of hard to be a “dummy” in relationships with that kind of game plan.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

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