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- I think it’s more than just a black vs. white problem. The other day I was in the doctor’s office getting tested for the BRCA 1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes. The nurse administrating the test was asking about the paper work I filled out on my family’s genealogy. I had to explain to her how everyone died in my family so that she could determine if my mother’s breast cancer was genetic or environmental.
- In my family, three males have died at the age of 21. My brother was murdered, my two cousins died of accidents, boat and car. The nurse said, “I don’t think you have a cancer problem, I think …” then she stopped to figure out what our problem is.
- “What I think we have a problem with in America, just not my family, is properly launching our men into adulthood,” I told the nurse. This issue transcends race, and I suppose gender, too. But it certainly seems like our males have a harder time than our females. Our males, be it whatever color they are, are having a hard time making it in our society. They are not thriving. “My number one goal in life,” I explained to the nurse, “is to properly launch my boys into adulthood. To make it past the age of 21. It’s not that easy.”
- “How do you do that?” asked the nurse.
- “I don’t know exactly. I want them to finish high school and attend college. We have a college saving program for each of them. I want them to move away and learn about different places other than Phoenix, Arizona.” That’s where we currently live. “I want them to know how navigate the globe and have respect for the people and life that inhabits this planet. I want them to be financially independent and live within their means. To find a good partner that will not nag at them constantly, but rather teach them how to be good spouses. My hope is that they will take good care of each other like my husband takes good care of me and our children. And if they don’t marry, that they will be a part of a good community, where they will have friends. That they will keep being curious and want to learn about new things.”
- “That sounds like a good plan,” the nurse said.
- “Yeah,” I thought of the statistics, (see below). “Before I had my three boys, I used to be all about girl power.” Feminism. “Now I realize how that is hurting our men. It should have been good competition for them, but I think what the problem is, is that it’s hard to find anyone to champion men. The other day we were at Kumon and the owner called my son lazy, even though, he is on the Junior Honor Roll program, and he tries really hard. Girls get most of the accolades these days. They are so neat and tidy, and they can focus. We need a system that builds up our men up. They need cheerleaders, not the Dallas Cowboy type, although that might help, but people that will cheer them on so that they can be successful and not lost. They need skills.”
- I know that when my brother was murdered, he was at that age, (21), when young adults sort of flounder. He had a job, but it wasn’t his passion. It wasn’t a career job. He was going to school, but it was a community college and it didn’t challenge him. It wasn’t time to get married. He had moved out of the house and was living with friends, (parents are no longer around). He was young enough to still take risks. I think this time in a young man’s life is a tricky time. You want them to grow up and take on more responsibility, but our society is fraught with danger. And, that’s the point I want to make. We have raised an entire generation of young males that don’t know how to be men or there are not great opportunities to be a man, and many of them feel completely lost. Sometimes they feel so lost that they “snap” in very destructive ways. The Zimmerman that killed my brother was on crystal meth. I think it’s more than a color issue …I think we need to make sure this age group has good opportunities and directions on how to stay safe in a society of drugs, accidents, suicide. We need to cheer them on, not baby them or handle them with kit gloves or be helicopter parents, but make sure they understand the dangers and how to avoid them.
- Back to genetic testing …I do think for centuries boys/men didn’t sit in school for 8 hours a day, maybe a very few. They had time to wander around. They had to hunt and gather their food. They had to reproduce so that they could have additional help on the farm. And when the sun went down, they went to sleep. They didn’t have access to powerful drugs. They didn’t drive cars. They didn’t have a lot of money. And, there weren’t a lot of people around to trip them up. I know that accidents still happened back then and they did die younger, but in the last 100 years, things have changed dramatically and I’m not sure our genetics or the way we are wired, have caught up.
- I often hear parents say that I want my children to grow up to be happy. “One of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that the key to satisfaction is doing things that feel risky, uncomfortable, and occasionally bad.” I got that quote from the August edition of Psychology Today. “Curious people knowingly invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks. It turns out that activities that lead us to feel uncertainty, discomfort, and even a dash of guilt are associated with some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of people’s lives.”
- Raising children, especially boys, is very challenging. There are many aspects that I still don’t know or understand. My hope is that we will pull together as a society and properly launch our kids into adulthood, both boys and girls. By now, you should know my code … to forgive. I write about it all of the time. It’s what my books are about. I do think forgiveness is the key to a healthy society, and for raising healthy adults.
- “I heal society by healing myself. Just as life is lived one day at a time, the world will heal one person at a time. Each time I think positive, loving thoughts, it goes into the ether and vibrates. This is nothing particularly mystical; I have but to sit near someone and look at her face to feel how her thoughts affect me. I take ownership of my own inner workings and their effect on myself and others. I do my part to heal the world.” This quote is from the book called The Magic of Forgiveness by Tian Dayton.
- Forgiveness is how you end war, violence, murder, and abuse.