Family

Let the Power of Discovery Begin at Home

Black Family

(Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

Before you go out exploring phenomena outside of your home, discover the new things you can learn about those inside of your home.  How often do you ask questions to those in your immediate family?  How well do you really know your family members?  Too often we assume we know a tremendous amount about our immediate family members, but there can be so many things we don’t know about them.  Many people can be so busy trying to find out what’s going on in other people’s homes that they’re missing the greatest attractions developing inside of their own homes.

Parents, how well do you know your children’s friends?  For parents with older children who are in relationships, how well do you know the individuals they’re in relationships with?  Do you know why your children decided to be in relationships with these individuals?  How did they first meet and what attracted them?  Are your children too secretive about their relationships?  Why?  Do you have children you find it strange that they are even in intimate relationships?  Have you asked questions that will provide you with more information to make it less strange?  These aforementioned queries are just some you can posed to members of your immediate family to discover some potentially novel things.

One of the best ways to build and maintain strong families is to place a strong value on communication in your home.  Your home should be a place where frank and open communication are truly valued.  The members of your immediate family should feel comfortable to talking to one another about virtually anything.  One thing I’m very proud of about my immediate family is the members of the family feel comfortable talking to one another about anything.  We can share things with one another without feeling like any member is going to bring condemnation for what’s disclosed.  My immediate family is loving and supportive, and it has been the welcoming and embracing of frank and unrestricted communication that has been essential to the love in my family.

If you talk more to your immediate family members, you may learn ways you can be useful in helping them to overcome physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual challenges and problems.  Before sending a family member to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, determine if this is even necessary.  Those situated inside the home can serve as the only psychologist or psychiatrist the person needs.  We often miss opportunities to be helpful to those who live in our own homes because we allow ourselves to become too busy to look for the potential needs of our family members.

Use this piece as a conversation-starter with the members of your immediate family.  Let this piece become a way for you to ask questions of the members of your immediate family that you’ve always wanted to know or failed to ask.  You may discover some things about your immediate family members you needed to know before they died.  Don’t make your family members think you’ve turned into a private investigator (unless you truly are one).  Just let them know you want to grow closer as a family through the power of discourse and inquiry.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Teenagers Need Curfews

Teenagers

If you want your teenagers to stay out of trouble, you must establish a curfew for them.  Teenagers will make many unwise choices when you let them choose when they are to return home.  When you give your children a curfew, it communicates to them you have quality standards you expect them to meet.  Too many parents allow their children to determine when they’re going to come home from a friend’s house.  How much sense does that make?  As a parent, it’s your job to resolve a curfew for your children—it’s not your children’s job.  Be clear about the time you expect your children to return home.

While it’s important to give your children some freedom, you shouldn’t grant them the liberty to decide their curfew.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with hearing how children feel about a curfew.  Parents must, however, be the ones who ultimately create the curfew.

When you set a curfew for your children, this is a great opportunity for you to engender some guidelines for your children to follow when they’re not going to be at home.  Don’t just give your children a specific time they must come home without telling them other essential things they must do before, during, and after they leave home.  Make sure you know where your children are going when they leave home and who they are going to visit.  If possible, drive your children to their destination to enable you to survey the milieu in which they will be meeting their friends.  Warn them against inappropriate behavior and inform them about the consequences of inappropriate behavior.

You need to learn more about your children’s friends.  Meet with their parents to find out what type of people they are and discover their values.  You don’t want your children hanging out with the wrong type of people who may have imprudent values.

Too many children are dying because they lack structure and discipline.  Many parents across the nation have to do a better job of parenting.  It’s the hope of this piece to offer some suggestions for improving parenting.  We need to keep our children safe and establishing a curfew for them is a vital part of good parenting.

Do you feel it’s necessary to give teenagers curfews?  Why or why not?  What are some other things parents need to do to keep their children safe?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Be a Leech

You should not always have your hands stuck out begging. At some point, you should have something to offer to someone else. When people give to you, learn how to give back to them. People will start to hate seeing you come around them because they know you will have something that you want them to do for you. Do you have people in your life who only call, email, text, and/or visit you when they want something from you and you never hear from them until they want something? Today, I want to let you know they are leeches. If you continue to feed leeches, they will zap all of the blood out of you. You may not understand what’s going on with how you feel,  why things are not going right in your life, why it seems that you don’t have enough time in the day, and/or why you are not able to meet your daily responsibilities. You need to check for leeches in your life. Leeches could be the very reason you are not progressing, improving, and/or feeling the way that you long to feel.

Don’t be so compassionate that you allow people to crumble your foundation. You have to be wise in your giving. Always examine your giving and make sure that you are giving to the right people and places. You are not the savior of the world, so don’t attempt to help too many people because you will be denying yourself from the great things that you need to enjoy for yourself. Helping too many people on your own is simply not healthy and not wise. You will physically, mentally, and emotionally weigh yourself down with stress when you are trying to help everyone. When you need some help, watch how many of those people who you helped will be there for you.

People will hang around you and contact you just to get benefits from you. Now, this can be expected from the complete strangers you may help or the random people you meet, but it’s those friends and family members you have to be more alert about being leeches. Leeches are not always easy to detect. We allow friends and family members to occupy certain spaces in our life that we don’t allow others to occupy. This is the reason why we have to have on more protective clothing when we are around our friends and family—they could be the greatest leeches we have on us. If you are always thoroughly examining yourself, then you will know if your friends and family members are leeches.

We often make ourselves too vulnerable to people who we believe love us and have our best interest in mind. You need to understand that you need to constantly assess those who you make yourself vulnerable to in some way. It can be the venomous people around you who are killing you and pushing you off of your road to greatness. The people who you love and trust can be the very people who are simply using you for what they can get from you. You cannot sit there and allow folks to suck all of the blood out of you and not have enough left for yourself.

I know that it might be difficult to think about your loved ones being leeches, but you have to be willing to examine them as potential leeches. Guard yourself in wise ways. Build necessary walls with certain people in your life. We hear a significant amount of discourse about tearing down walls, but there needs to be more discussion about building necessary walls. Walls exist for a purpose: to make sure that not just anyone can enter.

Beware of the leeches out there—they might be some people you least expect! If you are consciously a leech, stop being one today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Parental Involvement is Crucial to True Education Reform

Although many parents are highly involved in their children’s education, there are many who are not. If you are not seriously involved in your children’s education, you are just as responsible as their schools for not adequately serving your children. Parents, you cannot simply depend on schools to offer your children a comprehensive education. A comprehensive education encompasses children being intellectually stimulated and engaged in their studies when they are at home. If you are a parent who lacks the education to help your children with their homework, the least you can do is make sure they are doing their home and have frequent discussions with them about what they are studying and any problems they are having in school. By doing this, you will be able to see what your children’s teachers see as things you could be doing at home, based on your abilities, to aid them in improving their academic achievement. If you are not able to meet with your children’s teachers in person, arrange to speak with them on the phone, even if it’s just for a brief period of time. If you have access to a computer, then you could communicate with their teachers via email.

Instead of buying your children all of these toys for Christmas, get them some educational material and software that can improve their academic deficiencies. You have to find creative ways to be involved in your children’s education. Being actively involved in your children’s education helps them to recognize that their education should be a top priority because you take their education so seriously. When you are not actively involved in your children’s education, think about what intentional and unintentional values you are communicating to them.

Learning should not end when students leave school. You should work to create an environment in your home that is well-suited for learning to take place. Be sure that your children organize their rooms well so that their rooms become spaces where order and discipline are encouraged and expected. Valuing order and discipline has important transferability in their academic studies.

When your children are not doing well in school, you need to encourage them to do better. Don’t allow them to give up on their academic studies because they are having difficulties with certain subjects. If you don’t know how to do anything else, you can motivate them to keep trying. Let them know that you just want them to give their best efforts in school.

While I was in the K-12 educational pipeline, I had the great fortune to have parents who were tremendously involved and supportive of me achieving at the highest levels academically, athletically, and socially. Even though I did not need any assistance with my homework from them, they would always ask me probing queries about my school work and homework, which communicated to me that I could never stop striving to become a better and better student.

If you are a parent who has the time and ability to help another parent’s child to succeed, then I would encourage you to reach out to that parent and child. Parents, don’t simply blame schools, administrators, and/or teachers for your children’s educational outcomes. Become an active participant in the type of education your children receive.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hold Your Family and Friends Accountable

We have a responsibility to love and support our family and friends, but this does not mean that we should not hold them accountable for the things that they do and say. When your family members and friends tell you that they are going to do something for you, then you must hold them accountable to do whatever it is that they said they were going to do. If they do not do what they said that they were going to do, then it is okay for you to discontinue doing further things for them. You should not feel bad about not doing something for your family members and friends when they consistently and persistently don’t come through for you. When you make the decision to no longer help them until they help you, this does not prevent you from still loving and supporting them; in fact, you can love them even more.

Although I will not take much time to discuss it here, I encourage you to read about Abraham in the bible, a man who had to leave his family to do the will of God. It is my position that you have to stop being so giving to your family and friends when you never receive anything in return from them. Do you ever have family members and friends who only or mostly call you when they want something? Do you ever have family members and friends who want you to go out of the way for them, but never come through when you ask them for something? It’s time to stop doing stuff for them when this happens. You have to love yourself enough to start distancing yourself away from them—this will help them to understand how selfish they are being. While some people will not agree that this is a proper way of handling family and friends, I will just say that family and friends can be some of the greatest deadbeats sometimes.

Start showing your appreciation for your family members and friends who do things for you. When people devote their time, money, and/or assistance to you, you should let them know how you feel about them, you should do something special for them, and you should do something that they want you to do for them sometimes. When these people stop doing things for you, it’s going to make a significant difference in your lives. If my readers need the courage or some support in their efforts to hold their friends and family members accountable, just contact me and I will help you by giving you advice and support. I made a sincere commitment on yesterday to hold my friends and family members accountable, and I encourage you to do the same. I stand with you!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Passionately Advocate for Someone Besides Yourself

At some point, you should understand that it is important to be a passionate advocate for someone besides yourself. I have found that most of the people in my life only advocate for themselves, including family and friends—even those friends who claim to be so close to me! Most of the people in my life would not be where they are today without me—period! On the rare occasions I need something from the people in my life, I never receive close to the support I provide for them. Although I am a truly controversial figure, this does not mean that you should stray away from passionately advocating for me just to stay in good favor with people—just selfish!

The people in my life are going to have to understand that they are going to be in terrible shape if I decide to no longer help them and advocate for them. People always tell me how much they love me and how much they support me, but I have been shown time and time again that these are just lies. I have to say that Santresa Glass and Jesus have been the only constants in my life. I appreciate and love them both so dearly. I also appreciate my loyal readers—you bring much needed joy in my life.

For some of my family members and “close” friends, you are about to arrive at some serious moments and stages in your life. Now, I want you to imagine what will happen if I decide to no longer support you and be there for you.

I am truly frustrated with always helping people who always have their hands out, but never take an opportunity to do anything for me. I am trying to be nice about how I am handling this, but I am only human and I am headed toward just getting away from all the pretenders in my life—whether you are a family member or a friend.

If you really love and support me, you would be willing to sacrifice some things for me, including having to lose the favor of some of the people around you. When you think about it, I have lost the favor of many people by the things I have done to support you. I have given so much of myself to helping people, but rarely do I ever get any support and help in return. Just to be clear, I do not help people so that they can help me, but it would seem that when you are in a time of need that people would help you, especially when you have helped them for years.

My brighter days are in the near future, but I may not allow some of the dead weight to accompany me. I have a significant amount of evaluation to do in my life about the people in my life to determine if I’m going to let them continue to be a part of my life. Be sure to passionately advocate for someone in your life besides yourself! Do not provide people with fake advocacy. If you are not going to zealously advocate for them, then do not advocate for them at all.

Have a great remainder of your Sunday!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison