Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Father Passing on the RIGHT PLAYS

As I have said time and time again:
The black man has more on his mind these days. Hell, he always has. Unfortunately, they have never asked: What do you think/believe? - in a way to get the REAL answer. But, here on this blog which is dedicated to TRUTH, the Black Man does not have to wait to be asked. He speaks and he ain't PLAYING:
Last night my wonderful girlfriend made a very innocent comment that pierced my soul and provoked me to go into a "speech" laced with emotion. Yes, we do have Emotions. Yes, some of us are passionate about our roles and responsibilities as parents.

Her comment:

"I find it hard to believe that you have not taught your son how to PLAY basketball." Look at Michael Jordan. He has passed on his craft to his sons."

My blood began to boil. I probably need therapy, as most Black Men do to help deal with these emotions and experiences that were never digested properly as a child, and continue to be a part of my fabric to this day. Yes, I PLAYED basketball. I was named an ALL-STAR my first year on an organized team at age eleven. I earned 3 full scholarships running up and down courts on the eastern shore of the United States. I made many associates, had plenty of admirers, learned the value of: discipline, teamwork, sacrifice, goal setting, hard work, and sportsmanship all which have proven to be positives in my life. In the end Basketball did not PLAY me as it has far too many black males in our country.
I discovered years ago that too many black males are pushed, influenced, and even expected to play sports to fulfill the dreams and entertainment desires of others.
As for Michael Jordan.......................He is simply the greatest basketball PLAYER of all time. I choose not to hold him or sports up to the following people and their causes: Mary McCloud Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Harriet Tubman, Shaka Zulu, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Ben Carson, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - all adorn my son's bedroom wall and bookshelf.

More importantly, I choose to influence my child to learn about and believe in God. I attempt to "train him and run drills" on how to be a good citizen, open doors for ladies, say thank you to teachers, compliment his neighbor, local mechanic, and the teenagers working the cash registers throughout the community. None of these people may ever become famous or gain financial riches for their crafts yet they contribute something more than 2-3 hours of entertainment as most sports and athletes do.
What am I really saying?
For those parents who really care about teaching our kids (especially black males) what and how to PLAY; PLEASE consider the following avenues: Education, Citizenship, Responsibility, Accountability, Spirituality, Carpentry, Masonry, Medicine, Electronics, and Entrepreneurship. Determination and practice in these areas will help prepare them to PLAY a much bigger game. The game of LIFE!

Written by Patrick Medley.

6 comments:

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader response:

I echo your sentiments 100%. Keep doing what your doing!

-RS

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Very well stated and I’m so proud of you for teaching your son so many life lessons that are often overlooked.

-DM

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to Patrick's commentary:

While I feel you. I truly do, and I function in this capacity when it comes to parenting as a black man. We are on the same page. However, we (you and I) need not be so restrictive in our approach that we forget that sports have been tools to acquire financial riches that should be used to uplift our people. So, you are right in pushing the elements of life that makes a man a good HUMAN. But, lets not forget that money is gained via a sports, and WE (black folk) need money to make significant impact in this world. I am so tired of black men dying as honorable men (that is wonderful) - but why can't we die as honorable men who used his abilities to gain loot? Loot that benefited other black folk? My biggest mistake a long the lines of track and field: I did not use my skills to acquire some financial gain. Guess why? Because I detested the man. The system. I was tired of being used. I, instead, should have used them. In the end, you, me, and others will die at peace because we did not 'sell-out' - but, Pat, I am not financially secure. I would have been if I would not have told white America to go to hell in this particular situation. Should held my tongue and kept running. Of course, America still can kiss my azz on SEVERAL fronts.

-Muata

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Patrick responds to Muata:

I mentioned Entrepreneuship and have a long term plan that has been discussed regarding economics. Good Credit and the use of a good education can get you that "loot". My son can shoot a jump shot. Hit a tennis ball, Kick you in several different areas with precision via karate lessons, and block a soccer ball. I could give a damn if he pursues neither. My mom taught me years ago that money does not buy happiness. Way too many of our "fortunate million dollar slaves" have proven over and over again that don't even know how to manage their "riches". As for me and my house, we are going to serve manking and feast off of the "riches" that God and our mental and physical sweat earns mostly on our terms.

-Patrick

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

I enjoyed reading Pat's commentary. I think as black folks we just refuse to think outside of the box! I think I mentioned to you before about my eating habits. I have never been a horrible eater, but since I had G, I am more conscious of everything! I made all of her baby food myself, all natural. Now, I have been taking my food intake to a different level. I am a vegetarian...I haven't gone full vegan yet (still eat dairy and eggs), but maybe one day. I still give G chicken breast and my husband eats chicken and fish, he never ate red meat or pork.
My whole point is that when we went back east for the inauguration, my husband's grandmother passed away so we ended up visiting North Carolina for a few days. His family whom I adore got on my last nerve with the teasing because I was trying to feed my child healthy food. AND, I barely ate because no one had any healthy options at their homes.
One of my close friends called yesterday and we were talking about healthy options in Prince Georges County. She said she tried to go vegetarian but almost passed out and asked her why. She said because she doesn't really cook so she kept trying to grab a quick bite to eat or fast food and none of the places had healthy food so she just would not eat. My sister and I have been complaining for years about the lack of healthy restaurants and options in the most affluent black county.
Now that I have lived in California for three years, I notice a huge difference between black communities (even with a little bit of money) and white areas. We live in a predominantly white neighborhood. I can walk Gabby to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Pavillions (Safeway), Ralphs (largest grocery chain in Cali), World Market and countless vegan, asian, indian, salad, health smoothie places, etc. I barely have to drive my car. Even Costco is just 5 minutes away by car.

Okay, you are asking what does this have to do with what Pat said? It goes beyond the expectation of a child to play basketball. It is just wanting better for ourselves. The best lifestyle. The healthiest foods and diet. A pedestrian friendly neighborhood. When black people have that we are teased or called "boo jee" lol. Only here in California can I have and do these things and have so much support!

-*&^

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

PM, I want to say, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful words of wisdom with us. WOW! You really moved me. It was so poignant and on point. I do know that men have feelings, and I also think as women we tend to forget that small virtue. I have never had the pleasure of meeting your son, but from what I have just read as an eleven year old, he could probably teach me a thing or two. Thanks so much for being the man that you are and the wonderful father that you have been to your son. I know you don’t need me to tell you any of this, I just want to recognize the outstanding contributions and impressions that parents make on our children. The lessons and manners you are teaching your son will stay with him for a lifetime. As a woman I wish my father who lived in the house with us had taken the time to share life’s lessons with me or teach me how a man should treat a woman.

-FS