Monday, May 22, 2017

Expect Or Accept...The Choice Is Yours

There are two basic ways of dealing with other people. One is to have expectations of them, the other is to accept them for who they are. It makes sense to expect certain responses when coping with your children or others you are in charge of, because you have the power to reprimand them. With those who do not feel indebted to you however, children and otherwise, accepting unpleasant responses from them can be difficult to say the least.

Case in point is an excerpt from August Wilson’s play “Fences”, when the youngest son asked his dad “How come you ain't never liked me?” What did the father say? “Liked you? Who the hell says I got to like you?”  It was obvious that the son did not expect that response, and accepting it was the furthest thing from his mind. Nevertheless, it pointed out how important it is to not expect something from anyone or anything over whom we have no control. 

So what do we have control over? Our choices. What we can do is to 1) take a little time out before making mood-altering decisions, and 2) ask ourselves if we are willing to accept the consequences of our actions. We want of course to believe that we know a person well enough to have certain expectations of them, but it’s always safer to consider our inability to control what they say and do.

Making an effort to accept whatever the outcome of our requests might be, is a choice that allows us an opportunity to better know two people… the other person and ourself. After all, we both had choices and our willingness to accept the outcome of whatever the other person’s choice might be, will help us to learn how to accept both the bitter and the sweet.

I have earnestly tried to keep my expectations of others in alignment with what I expect of myself. Life lessons have proven time and time again however, that what I want might be unreasonable because I’m only going to get what another is willing to give.

My intent now is to not ponder over why a person responds in the way they do, but to realize that this is just where they are at this point in their life, and that what I need to do is focus more on how willing and able I am to accept that fact. Easier said then done of course, but it’s what I’ve chosen to do, and thus far, when I’m able to do it, my life becomes much simpler, and all the people in it, a lot easier to deal with. 

I’ll holla…

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Don't Be Skurred

An excerpt found in Richard Wright’s novel ‘Black Boy’ , published in 1945 reads as follows:

Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.”

I was born four (4) years after the 1945 publication of the above Richard Wright description of the United States, and am moved by both his ability to see things as they are, and his fearlessness in conveying them to all who would listen. I am not surprised, yet surely disheartened, that this description held true then, and still holds true today. With an overly assertive being taking on the highest political office in this nation, we might want to involve ourselves in addressing this ongoing description of our country.

Fear is still the tactic employed to keep us hoping that our so-called leaders will not allow harm to come to us as long as we adhere to the statutes that they have agreed upon and use to govern us. We’d like to think that we the people had a say so in the construction of these laws, yet we have no real knowledge of the motives for their imposition and enforcement. Most of us want to know why we must adhere to things that don’t seem fair, yet we don’t even ask the question cause we assume we’ll get the answer my father always gave me…”Cause I said so.”  We’re scared that if we even dare to question Big Daddy’s authority we risk losing protection from the threats of terrorism, global warming, xenophobia and other oft repeated fears. 

Now these fears are all justifiable, however they mask the fear that undergirds this country’s strategy. The United States’ fostering of racial inequity, its advocation of being right and other countries wrong, and its penalizing of those who dare to challenge its intent, are simply tactics employed by those in proverbial power to both offset and obscure the fear that surpasses all others…the fear of being found out.  

Let’s grow up y’all, and stop being satisfied with what’s being said and find a way to make folk accountable for what’s being done. We all have fears but let’s focus less on those  being perpetuated by folk who want to own and control everything, while convincing us that we can get some of it if we obey. We can then focus more on the practice of the real American dream…that being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, both here and abroad. We must look for, find and share the truth. Then and only then will our unsubstantiated fears have a chance of disappearing.

I thank Richard Wright for the insight and inspiration, my father for inadvertantly furthering my desire to know why, and all of you for lending an ear.

I’ll holla…

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