The Black Family Movement
New Rule: Black people cannot talk about a movement of any form until we heal our families.
Have you or someone you know ever been asked about the status of your family and replied with a sigh because the answer was too complicated and required too many caveats? I know the feeling well and I am sure you can attest to this as well. But no matter how crazy and dysfunctional you think your family is, they are still your family and you could have it worse by not having a family at all. No one to baby-sit your kids, take you to work, and of course, borrow money without “really” having to pay it back.
And while many of us claim that we are close to our family, have you ever thought about why? On Christmas Day, I was doing volunteer work with some of my family and I asked my nephew to rate how close he thinks our family is on a scale of 1-10. He said 10 with confidence. And then I asked him how often he talks to family members outside of his household. He said I don’t. So I then asked him how he can claim that he is close to the family if he never talks to them. I don’t have to explain how the rest of the conversation went to say that even though my nephew is 13, how many people do you know that would answer my questions with almost the same twisted logic that my nephew used? Chances are that if you reading this blog, you probably have a cell phone. Look at your last ten dialed calls and tell me how many of those listed are members of your family.
I think it is unfortunate how many of us take advantage of our family members by not getting to know them on a deeper level and let them pass away with your relationship more affected by society’s distal labels of kinship (i.e. brother, cousin, Grandma, etc.) rather than a relationship that has been forged through the fire of life. Now I know there are some extenuating circumstances that make for familial relationships impossible but chances are, these circumstances don’t represent your entire family. And if they do, just think back to slavery and marvel at the hope and sincerity that remained while families were split apart and scattered across this country like dandelion seeds. We are a strong people because our families are strong and when families are strong, we empower ourselves and our community. Because here’s the thing, I don’t care what you been through as long as you are working towards healing family wounds and reaching out where you once were reluctant. So let me leave you with ten suggestions to help heal your family in 2006 because we here at Superspade believe in providing actionable information that is tangible and practical.
1) If you are reading this blog, then you probably have email. I am willing to bet your family members do too. Get their email addresses and make it happen. And don’t be afraid to email them at work if they don’t have a personal email address.
2) If someone owes you money and you can afford it if they can’t pay you back, let it ride. And if you owe someone money, try to pay them back if you can and if you can’t, be upfront with that family member so you don’t sabotage a relationship over money
3) Play the question game and just ask people questions that you always wanted to know but were too young or too scared to ask.
4) Play spades. Need I say more?
5) Don’t make a bigger deal out of gift giving than sharing time and love.
6) Many times families will meet up when food is involved but breaking bread doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. A veggie tray and some chicken will do you just fine.
7) Meet up with the family and scrapbook because you know the picture with your whole body covered in flour is hilarious
8) If you live too far from your family to hang out, you are not absolved from connecting to your family. Pick up a phone or email somebody. Seriously
9) If you have young people in your family, take them with you to do community service, go to their games, offer to baby-sit, and show them the right path.
10) And last but not least, the best reason is just because. This relates to everything from going out, visiting, calling, emailing, etc.
I know my suggestions will not end crime or give everyone a decent job with healthcare, but it will help us find our footing as a community and improve many of the issues that many of us think require a movement.
Stay up fam,