The Pathology of Parenting…
I saw commercials recently for an episode of Iyanla Vanzant’s “Fix My Life” that caught my attention. It seems Mr Terrell Owens, ex- super star of the NFL, was the subject of the moment and in my head, all I heard and saw was this;
Release the Kraken!!
I have watched T.O. for years and each time would shake my head and ask where IS his momma? While arguably one of the best players the NFL has seen, his antics on AND off the field made me cringe. What was worse, were the people who watched him destroy himself and took full advantage of his “fame” knowing all too well it was fleeting because let’s face it; one cannot survive on an ego that large for too long.
Sure enough, things started spiralling out of control and the once celebrated athlete/ diva went down the drain in the vortex he created. I also knew most assuredly, there was some seriously bad pathology behind that, shall we say, less than stellar behaviour. I was soon to find out it was worse than I thought.
If you watched the show, you learned that Terrell’s mom was a teen who slept with the married father of two across the street from her momma’s house, got preggers, somehow left her child with his grandmother and he had NO idea his dad lived across said street from him until he was eleven and liked a girl who turned out to be his sister.. Sweet mother of God… That, sweet pea, is how he found out who is daddy was.
Say what now? Oh but it got better. Daddy lived across that street from his son for all those years AFTER his kid found out and never fully acknowledged him. Terrell watched the family across that street and wondered why was he not special enough to have that kind of acceptance and the thirsty desire for attention was born. The NFL became his family and the fans his arena for gaining the “love” he sought.
Lawd, did he EVER take advantage too.. It was almost painful to watch and see what he was going to do next. I will spare you the gory details of said drama because one would have to be in a cave, Under a boulder to not have experienced the beast he was. As the story unfolded and the pieces came together, one could visibly see a new T.O. being born. The Terrell that was robbed of a childhood where he felt loved and wanted. The Terrell who was treated ( in his head and heart) like he was an “issue” that his grandmother took on. The Terrell who never saw his parents together in a room being decent to each other until he was darn near forty years old. That Terrell was being replaced with one who began to fully recognize his “stuff” and saw his responsibility in his downfall. Not the media, not the NFL, not his baby mamas but HIM.
That could ONLY happen once his own father acknowledged he failed him and that paying child support was not enough to raise a child. I believe T.O. has turned the hard corner into becoming who he really is and pray that he will be a better man to his son than his father was to him. That took work and humility but kudos to the brother, he did it. I wish him the best moving forward.
Which leads to my next point.
One of my biggest passions beside writing of course, is parenting and as a direct result, I travel and am contracted by School Districts to work with families on how to navigate schools while being a collaborative partner. What I have found is that in order to discuss being a parent, schools, how they operate, the chain of command, how to navigate their child’s formative years and work with educators etcetera, we had to go all the way back.
To their childhood.
What has happened as a result of doing this crucial exercise, has been powerful beyond words and opened doors to their collective hearts in minds in ways that still leaves them and the School districts astonished ten plus years later. it never ceases to amaze me just how powerful this work is and until more Districts fully authenticate the need for solid parent work and development as partners with them, we will continue to struggle with the charges we both love dearly; the children. No matter how educated/ uneducated a parent is when they walk through a school door, navigating school systems continues to befuddle them. Heck to be truthful, the continual changes befuddle many educators too. Parents need help, not ridicule.
But I digress.
Parents, raising children is never an easy task. It is understood that your own childhood may not have been perfect and trust me, in my years of doing this work, I think I have heard it all and then some. What I am going to implore of you is this; do the work to heal and forgive as much as you possibly can, so that your off – spring can have a fighting chance in hell not to repeat the pathology that was given to you. It is the only way to start breaking the vicious cycle that abounds. Try to find someone who you can trust to speak with, to release the anxieties you may be experiencing. It requires WORK on your end but the rewards are plentiful. You only have to look in the eyes of your children to see that it is worth the effort.
If you had a wonderful childhood, my ask of YOU is simply this; try not to stand in a place of judgement for those who are doing the best they can. You can even go one step further and be a helpful presence through kindness and deed. Be careful not to make people feel like you are “wonderful” for doing such a thing. Come from a place of authenticity or it most certainly will back- fire.
Above all, remember that children are innocent in the idiosyncrasies of life and need us to shield and raise them with the very BEST we have within.
Posted on November 3, 2013, in Culture, Education, laughter, love, Parent, sons, Sports, Writing and tagged commumities, depression, Education, empowerment, Family, Fatherhood, hot topic, love, mental-health, parenting, society, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.