Honor Your Father and Your Mother: Something to Think About

“Honor your Father and your Mother…..”

These words for the wise are quite sufficient. Or are they? It depends on who you pole. For me, it is a resounding ‘yes’. I thank my parents for inculcating in me, a sense of respect and for modeling just how that was to be used in my lifelong interactions with them, my grand-mother and great-grandfather.

In the company of three people I will forever honor.

The awareness of how my behavior impacts them and their legacy will forever be on default mode for me!

Mama and Papa – Mr. & Mrs. C. R. A. Cole
I could not have wished for a more committed Dad to partner with me in addressing the needs of my children.
How I miss your ever-present wisdom Papa!

In recognition of Father’s Day 2019, I respectfully salute all fathers and father figures who do their very best to have a positive impact on the lives of children – theirs or someone else’s. Thank you for a job well done. In case the fruit of your labor is not as yet that evident to the naked eyes, do not be discouraged, for the time will come when they will acknowledge the seeds of honor you have sown. I extend these sentiments to all mothers and all parent figures too!

Telling It Like It Is
Another perspective that begs for examination places the onus solely on the children. In today’s society, some mothers and fathers have unwittingly placed their children between a rock and a hard place as they play mind games with these unsuspecting and “needy” young people. This is found most often in contentious relationships between parents who are engaged in what I term, “DDPD -dangerous distant parenting dynamics” – one which does not necessarily imply physical distance.

This dynamic inevitably pits a child against one parent for the disgustingly sick sense of gratification or revenge of the other parent, while the children are left operating “on empty” when it comes to the integrity side of life.

Questions to Ponder

1. How then can these children develop an appreciation for the targeted parents when they have fallen prey to the antics of their own flesh and blood?

2. How do they pass on the Honor Barton to their own children if they decide to take the risk of bringing children of their own into this world after all this?

My Humble Advice…to children of all mothers and fathers who are indeed deserving of honor:

1. Hold on to your God-given pure sense of integrity – the sense of right or wrong that you displayed when you had no idea of how flattering parental manipulation could be.

2. Be your authentic selves – see your parents for who they are as individuals – pray for them and wish them well.

3. Do not get caught up in being used to inflict one parent’s vandeta on the other. Their flaws are not yours to fix or to bandage, neither are their subliminal or not-so-subliminal narratives yours to promote.

4. Remember that parents/adults are not infallible. They make mistakes too. If it does not sound or feel right, do not engage. Don’t allow yourself to be used in this way even if you think you are in control of how and what you do.

Honor your Father and your Mother..and while you are at it, honor yourself too. This is an order with implications that are pretty loaded.

Folks, it is time to pray most fervently — regardless of whether we are guilty as charged or not. Our time has come to consciously contribute to making this world a much more pleasant place for us and generations to come.

This is my take. What’s yours?

As I sign off, I would like to give credit to Dr. Lizette Wright-Polk for the Facebook post below which inspired me to write this blog post.

Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed.
Program Director/Facilitator
http://www.mytimehascome.org

My Dot-Connecting Mission
http://www.Iconnectthedotsofcreativity.org

Thanksgiving 2018: Thank You Lord!

We thank you, God, for bringing us this far through a journey of dashed hope to a state of improved health that makes it possible for us to celebrate Thanksgiving 2018 with a different frame from of mind.

We have much to be thankful for…even as we journey through the tunnel of uncertainty in areas of our lives we will fear no evil.

Thank you is in order to everyone who has been obedient to the Spirit and reached out to us. Even though they may not have known why they were led to doing so, they did it anyway. May God bless them richly with like-minded people in their lives!

Pay it forward today and…everyday!

As I thank God for the opportunity to learn new lessons of life on a daily basis, I pray that all who read this will reach out to someone they believe might be in need of a hug today…be it virtual, in person or in their own unique way. Consider this a sign of gratitude to humanity that God will approve of.

Have a Happy and Meaningful Thanksgiving!

Parents as Positive Influencers of Their Children From Infancy Through Adulthood!

Three years ago, my father passed away as I held his hand and told him how much it meant to me to have had a father like him. It seems like yesterday as my husband Jim, and his exceptionally compassionate physician, Dr. Hawthorne, who to date, proudly speaks of the reciprocal role Papa played as a mentor to him, rendered their support.

papa-at-my-wedding1 (2)

I feel compelled to mark this day with the brief letter below to the man of few but effective and wise words that I call “Papa”:

Dear Papa:

Three years ago, you took your last breath as I held your hand and seized the moment to send you off with a tear-filled tribute only deserving of the likes of you. Your legacy will forever live on if I have anything to do with it. I thank you for showing by example that it is indeed possible for one to successfully interact with people of differing points of view and orientations to achieve a common goal that speaks to the preservation of humanity.

Thank you, “Mr. Activity Cole”, for giving me something to think about with regards to  your resolve to uphold the true spirit of Fourah Bay College’s motto: Non Sibi Sed Allis  (“Not for themselves, but for others”)— through your service to others.  You know it is not easy, but if you did it, so can I.

It is a wonderful thing to daily recall moments of your caring and engaging fatherly spirit. I thank God for the gift of a father such as you.

Rest in Perfect Peace, Papa.

Your Daughter,

Madona Catherine

Papa 50214

Link

Thankfulness Knows No Boundaries

I am ever so thankful for the ability to give and receive thanks every waking moment of the day! While I will be the first to admit that I have found it impossible to get individual “thank you” notes out as expeditiously as I would love to, it is my hope that sharing my thoughts on thankfulness on this forum would clear any doubts and answer some questions. I thank God on a daily basis for the unfathomable blessings that come my way. These blessings, which come in many forms, include the gift of altruism, patience, and the opportunity to teach and learn brought on by the following people in my life:

My Husband                                                 

I thank my husband for the pillar of support and devoted helpmate he has been to me in a way that has not only taken our relationship to higher heights, but has created a strong foundation of support for my children and parents. I thank him for his unconditional commitment to a union in which the two have undoubtedly become one.

My Children

I thank my children for taking time out to demonstrate that they hear me loudly and clearly, even as they journey through young adulthood into the portals of adulthood where I expect they will freely give and graciously receive in a manner that is way beyond that which has been modeled for them.

My Parents

I thank my parents for a whole lot, and particularly, for the firm foundation they laid for me so many moons ago. It is that invaluable resource that I pull from to navigate the rigors of life today. I thank them in ways that only those who belong to that special ‘Adult Children Society’ can understand and appreciate!

My Siblings

My siblings – how can I not thank them for the position of prominence they have and will forever hold in my life! I thank them for doing their best to understand and appreciate the ‘who that I am’ and for affording me the opportunity to have a go at reciprocating. Family relationship dynamic is priceless, for, it is still a truism that blood is thicker than water, even though water plays an important role in our lives.

My Worldwide Family                           

I am indeed thankful for the various ways the people I encounter in all facets of my life’s journey choose to connect with all or some of what can sometimes appear to be a ‘complex personality’, and I will not give up this wonderfully unique relationship for all the diamonds in Sierra Leone. I find this sometimes complicated relationship to be one that is absolutely necessary for me to grow and flourish. The good news is this: The covert and occasionally overt unhealthy vibes I receive from some members of this important family are just as valuable and appreciated as the manifestation of kindness, gentleness, and generosity exhibited by others.

I am thankful for the lessons taught by those who have the ability to be empathetic, among other virtues. I thank them for the assurance that as I strive to be the best that I can be, I will not be frivolously judged and denigrated par chance I fail to “dot my I’s and cross my T’s“. This, virtue quite naturally, comes from the willingness to easily recall and empathetically connect with situations when the shoe was on the other foot.img_4774What a relief to know that human beings, no matter what their individual agendas, can recognize how valuable they are to one another once they are able to identify the role they are destined to play in the lives of others! This is all the more reason why I am thankful to everyone for being their authentic selves in their dealings with me – be it directly or indirectly!

Thank You, Again.

What are you truly thankful for? Please take a moment to share.

Bridging The Gap: 8 User-Friendly Tips

As I take stock of all that I have learned about the rich history and culture of Black Americans, and Black pioneers around the world as a whole, during the month of February that has been officially designated for the observance of Black History, I cannot help but ask myself how that knowledge and the accompanying mindset can be translated into respect and regard for self and others. My hope is that a large number of us have made a worthwhile contribution to lifting up and keeping Black History alive by engaging in activities and participating in events that can only help people of the human race understand that there is indeed a common denominator inherent in all citizens of the world that is anything but common. For there is so much more to this “common” denominator. It is binding, it is healing, and possesses the ability to forgive and assuage fear and ignorance…and yes, it can quite easily yield the opposite result when it is not given the attention it needs to flourish.

Madona Cole-Lacy - Bl;ack Voices Exhibition

In addition to my contribution to the Black History Month enrichment process, I was blessed with knowledge that I otherwise would not have received had it not been for those who made major contributions by sharing so many “Firsts” by Blacks that were virtually unknown to the masses before now. I was elated to see establishments make a move towards spotlighting people of African descent here on Long Island – a move whose time had come, in light of the unsettling racial climate in this country.

I invite fellow Americans and African Americans to join me in enjoying this sense of pride and desire to understand the rich legacy of people around us, in a manner that will stay with us way beyond the last day of February.

As America welcomes Women’s History Month; followed by Asian Pacific American Heritage, Older Americans Month and Jewish American Heritage Month in May; I want to take it upon myself to ask everyone who understands the need for these special observances, to plan on making some move toward gaining a little bit more knowledge of and appreciation for the spotlighted groups.il_570xN.837801766_b03iI hope that those who do not understand will be open to a briefing from those who do. This, of course, is only a sampling of other significant upcoming observances of various ethnic and special interest groups that make up the diverse fabric of the American culture!

Let it be known that as I make this request, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that some would say, “Why should I care about this or that group?” My response to that question is as follows: If for no other reason that is remotely obvious to you, you should care because the bliss of ignorance must be superseded by the folly of wisdom if we expect to be treated with respect, empathy and even sympathy when it is our turn.  We cannot allow the unwillingness to make wholesome connections to lead us down the path of ignorance.

Newsday Jan 24 2016   (‘Dynamic, multi-ethnic art’- page E6)

The tone has been set with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday and Black History Month Cultural Enrichment activities leading the way to more opportunities for Americans to find that common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind. Let us not miss out on the power of cultural enrichment and social enlightenment that will subscribe to the greatness and security of our neighborhoods and country. What we do with this opportunity will augment the process through which we can make the world a more congenial place in which we can all proudly take on the responsibility of healthy engagement, and build a firmer foundation on which the next generation of the human race can stand. This mindset, by the way, is race, ethnic and gender neutral; and calls for those who are now referred to as “those people” to be equally engaged and appreciated by those who may not have given this a thought in the past. Newsday article January 22, 2016 2 IMG_20160131_162844499 (2)

In conclusion, I would like to offer executable tips on ways we can go about obtaining and maintaining a much-needed cultural enrichment, social enlightenment and racial harmony.

The following starter ideas can, in part, be attributed to my observations last month

  1. Don’t exclude yourself from discussions that are meant to uplift, empower and educate-in person, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or other social media portals-simply because you can’t see yourself relating to “those people”.“Those people” exist in all neighborhoods on all corners of the world, and could use some refreshing input laced with sensitivity and a desire to connect in a healthy way with them.
  2. Make it a point to converse with an associate or co-worker whose race, ethnicity or social group is being celebrated at the time.  This would work well within group settings of professional and community organizations where, more often than not, people are brutally prejudged. 
  3. If you have young children or teenagers in your life, hold a discussion with them to find out their opinion on, or knowledge of the culture or history of the highlighted group for that month. Don’t forget to share helpful resources with them. Encourage them to hold discussions with seniors in the community. This can be arranged with Senior Centers, Churches, Synagogues, Mosques etc.    
  4. Go on a themed exploratory trip to the library, utilize google, see what Wikipedia has to say and visit museums, art galleries and other places that can assist you with a horizon-broadening experience. Write a poem on your impression, do a painting or come up with your own creative form of self-expression that would suggest growth.
  5. Remember that you can neither be held responsible for the atrocities your ancestors might have perpetrated on others nor be pigeonholed as the ultimate helpless victim of circumstance, if you don’t conduct yourself in ways that bring to life the negativity of past experiences or support the perpetuation of the selfless victim syndrome. We cannot wish away the mistakes of the past, but we can surely work toward improving the present climate that we have inherited by acknowledging the resulting pain, hurt and confusion; and formulating a language that will generate camaraderie and healing instead of stone-throwing, name-calling and worse!   
  6. When in doubt, show LOVE, connect with EMPATHY and unleash KINDNESS. These three tools are versatile enough and come in color schemes that do not ever lose their luster without much effort on the part of mankind.
  7. Cast aside the built-in suspicion which invariably leads to defense mechanisms that keep your radar up in the company of people you are meeting for the first time. Be open to interacting with people from whom you may potentially learn something new.
  8. Be genuine in your interactions with others. People tend to switch off when they realize that they are dealing with the disingenuous. 

madona-cole-lacy-workshop4

Workshop -Madona Cole Lacy
My Time Has Come Workshop (2)

West African Surface Design Workshop conducted in observance of Black History Month. Wear Your Art: An African-Inspired textile designing workshop.  

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