Friday, May 27, 2011

You are not God, You're a Mom!

A few days ago I posted this thought on facebook: In the toughest season of my life, when I thought I had ruined my children forever in neglect, with no extra money for tutoring or child care...God showed up!!!!They passed their standard exams with some of the highest scores in their class! That's the power of God through Jesus! Whoosh! Do I have a testimony! I'll take that testimony to the old school days! Moms don't fret; God can show up when you can't! This post received thirty likes and twelve comments, most of which were written by other moms whom I believe stand with me in agreement in celebrating my children’s success in spite of the hardships I experienced throughout the year.

But I suspect there are more moms like myself who have experienced many hard, gut wrenching life experiences while at the same time trying to nurture their children. Can we possibly do both? Nurture our children while living through whatever life has to offer.

Our children doing well in school and in life seem to signify many things to us moms. Often times their success seem to have a direct correlation with how good a mom we are. And on the other hand, our children’s failures seem to also expose the most dreaded insult, that we’re terrible moms. What a burden to bear? So let me get this straight, God has given us children so we can gauge how good or bad of a human being we are. Yeah I know, it sounds ridiculous when I phrase it in such a way. But it doesn’t matter how I phrase it, it’s a ridiculous thought process that mostly operate in the subconscious. How about the women who have no children, are they any gooder or badder (yeah I know those aren’t words but you get my drift)? How are they supposed to gauge their significance as a human being?

Side Note, I do believe there are psychopathic moms who either harm their children, or put them in harm’s way and have committed terrible crimes to their children, I’m not referring to those moms. I’m talking about the 98% of moms in the mainstream population.

You see the reality is every human being, under this side of heaven, has a need that can only be fulfilled by One. But we start off not fully knowing that, so what we do is to try to be fulfilled by these other things; a job, a husband and the less fearful, more natural relationship, our children. If truth be told, children seem to fulfill that void. They love you unconditionally, they make you laugh and they seem to have the ability to say the most perfect thing at the right time.

But moms, I want to help free you up and hopefully you can start moving towards taking the load and pressure off of developing the perfect child. The fact is: YOU ARE NOT GOD! Let me say it again, YOU ARE NOT GOD! Our children already have a God watching over them, they don’t need another one. Whether they turn out to be the president of the US, a successful businessman, drunks, abuse drugs and God forbid fall into same sex relationships, YOU DO NOT control those outcomes. You are raising children not robots. Only with robots you can insert a specific type of information and wait for the desired outcome. With children, you can do everything “perfectly”, perfect school, perfect neighborhood, perfect home, healthy two family home environment and they may still end up in rehab. While others may make all of the "wrong" parenting choices; wrong neighborhoods, wrong schools, single parent home, works many hours, moves around a lot and they may end the president of the United States. That makes no sense whatsoever right? How does that happen? Why does that happen? I really don’t know. However the reality is you cannot predict how your children will turn out. You cannot start programming them for a specific career or way of life because in the end you may be disappointed. If you can’t control or manipulate your children into being what you want them to be. If all of that is true, then what exactly is our job as moms?

Over the years I’ve realized my job as an effective mom has had a lot to do with three things:
1) Pray for your children daily! Over and over again, the Bible instructs us to ask for wisdom if we lack it, James 1. I have prayed psalms 121, 91, 23 over them as they leave my presence and into the world.
2) Encourage them daily! My children have had great influences around them, aunts who would often tell them that they were geniuses. And for the past year God has placed in my heart to constantly remind our boys that they were created for greatness. If there’s nothing to encourage them about, make something up. Just encourage them daily and do it often.
3) Tell them you love them daily! I can’t tell you how important it is for your children to hear that you love them daily. Even when they don’t respond back, say it anyway.

Now these things again won’t guarantee you great and perfect children. The outcome, you will never know but in the present just love them and love them well by taking your hands of control off of them and hand them over to God. You are not responsible for how they turn out; you are responsible for how well you love them. Now I’m not perfect at any of this but I am in process. I am in the process of finding freedom as a mom and for my children.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ex-Patriot Haitians-It is time to Go Back!

This Blog is written in honor of the Haitian Flag day on May 18. This year marks the 207th year of independence. I am proud of the Haitian slaves who revolted and won independence. I just realized that Haiti slaves won their freedom 60 years before Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, 60 years! No wonder so many nations feared and shunned Haiti, they were afraid their slaves might also revolt. Revolted slaves are never good for business, right? Ok I’m going off a tangent; I’ll continue that blog some other time.

Last night I had an opportunity to speak briefly at a Haitian Flag day gala and I could not help but to make the connection between Nehemiah from the Bible and our modern day situation. Nehemiah was an ex-patriot in exile in Babylon; many say he was probably born while in exile. The Jews were in captivity for about 70 years; I’ve always wondered what does one do for 70 years in a foreign land? Do you wait to be rescued? Do you fight back? Or do you live according to the rules of your oppressors and live life to the best of your abilities? Nehemiah chose to live life to the fullest; so much so that he worked his way up to a position of influence in government. When Nehemiah heard of the condition of his people upon their return from exile back to Jerusalem, a great grief came over him and he felt the call, the urgency to go back home and serve his people and that’s exactly what he did.

Haitians living abroad could be the modern day example of Nehemiah. Though we are not in exile, we are living in a foreign land. My family has been living in the US for over 35 years. At that time they felt that the only way to provide their 4 daughters with a better future was to leave Haiti and sacrifice everything and be a part of this foreign land. During these 35 years, their now 6 children have received a quality education, and are all working in meaningful ways to contribute to the world and provide for their family’s well being. My family’s story is not unique; there are millions like myself living abroad with that same purpose and that same success rate. Many are doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, business men and women, teachers, professors, pastors and the list goes on and on. And my question for these successful ex-patriots is: are you just about successful enough? Have you achieved the dreams your parents sacrificed so much for you to attain? Like Nehemiah, are we ready to go back and help rebuild our beloved country Haiti?

My challenge is not for the foreign community because they are already in Haiti investing their time and money. When I went back to Haiti after the earthquake, I was shocked by what I saw, I noticed people from all different countries. I met a woman from Brazil. I saw a group from Japan. People from India, Europe, even groups from the Middle East were there. I was even more stunned to hear the Muslim call to prayer at noon as I came off the plane because Haiti has always had a strong catholic and voodoo influence for hundreds of years.

My challenge is to the ex-patriots living abroad. It is time for you to go back; our people are in desperate need of your presence. I understand how difficult it is to go back, heck; it took me 22 years before going back. There was always something going on, something competing for my time. College, getting married, having children, lack of funds (plane tickets are expensive), and if you have a two-week vacation all year, do you really want to spend it taking care of the poor? I get it, I understand, I really do. But listen you ex-patriot doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, business men and women, teachers, professors, pastors and more, you must never forget “home”. You must never forget the land of your ancestors. You must never forget the slaves who fought for your freedom. The pride and dignity that you have that has made you successful come from those same slaves who were appalled by the living condition of their people. The reason you are able to hold your head up and not look at yourself as an inferior is because of your rich history. The reason you are able to walk proudly into a room is because you are from a unique ancestry, the first black republic; the first successful slave insurgence to win. Because of our ancestors’ example of revolting, many others followed. You are the fruit of their labor. We are the reasons they fought such a bloody battle. It is time to go back and continue the fight for freedom of our people. It is time to go back; to enjoy this beautiful land once called the pearl of the Antilles; to invest in the people; to create jobs; to give dignity back to those that gave you dignity.

In honor of our 207th year of independence, let us join the Nehemiah movement and go back to our homeland Haiti. In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey was a strong proponent to the going back to Africa movement. In the spirit of Marcus Garvey and many others who believe in ex-patriots and their value to their homeland, join me and let’s go back!

PS. This is not written as a criticism to my ex-pat brothers and sisters, I hope we can all link arms to the fight of our people. I believe if you know better, you do better.