Saturday, September 1, 2018

What Defines You—Your Work or Your Deeds? (Dedicated in Memory of Aretha Franklin-“Queen of Soul”)

This blog is dedicated in memory of the greatest female singer of all times, Ms. Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul.” Aretha set the stage and the standards for greatness, truth, fairness, and unselfishness in America and the world as a whole. She did so not only by the work she did as a singer, but also by the deeds/works she performed for others on and off stage. The words of Aretha’s songs impacted my life tremendously. Her songs not only penetrated my soul, they penetrated the souls of people worldwide. Her soulful manner was the stream that calmly hit to the core of my being, soothing me when I was sad, strengthening me as a Black woman, helping me to demand “Respect” from any and everyone, while assuring me of my values and my worth, no matter what others said or did. 

Aretha’s music and her deeds/works will remain with many throughout eternity. What a woman, what a woman! She is truly a legend, who was not willing to stand for just anything, but she was determined to stand for something, especially for what was right, and what was truthful. She stood for the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the hopeless, the helpless, the downhearted, the disenfranchised, and the disheartened. Her actions spoke for her as she used her deeds to help others. I love you Aretha forever and a day!

In the same vein of using great deeds as the defining characteristics of an individual, I would also like to pay homage to Senator John McCain, who has also gone on to be with the Lord. Although a Republican in his work, he defied being defined by his work and allowed his deeds to define him. He had a choice and made it; standing for what was right, instead of what was Republican. Rest in peace Senator John McCain, rest in peace! You made a tremendous impact on the lives of many, not just across the aisles, but also across lives of people worldwide who are different from you. We thank you because you have truly been identified by your deeds (works), instead of your work!  

Although Aretha and Senator McCain have transcended to another life realm, they still stand boldly and unashamed through and by the deeds they performed for ALL mankind. They were unwilling to just stand for anything, but through their deeds they stood for something, whether popular or unpopular! Although their work was public, their deeds were often not seen as they worked to help others, who might not look like them, who didn’t think like them, and those who didn't have what they had. Their work might have separated them from others, but their deeds united them with the world.

It seems as if we work all of our lives, sometimes working ourselves to death. And then, what’s next? We work to be accepted; to be loved, to be recognized, to be the first in so many things, to get with the greatest looking man/woman; to be the first to marry; to rise to the top, to get an education, to get the best and most powerful job position, to own the largest house, to have the greatest looking show car, to have the best looking body, to have the best looking and most expensive clothes and shoes, etc. It seems as if we work and then we work some more in order to be defined by the outcome of the work in which we engage. But in the end, who are you? Are you defined by your continuous and never ending work and the things you attain as a result of your work, or are you defined by the deeds you do for others? What about you as a person?

It's amazing how much time we spend working at our crafts in comparison to engaging in many other positive things with others throughout our deeds. I am sure that you like so many other people, cry each and everyday about work-life balance. What does that truly mean for you? If you were to look at the eight areas I include in my “Life’s Balance Wheel” (work, family, spirituality, physical, emotional, psychological, education, leisure), you would come to see that your life has been all about work, more so than any other area. 

Either you are working for someone else, which is often the case, or you might be lucky or blessed to currently or one day work for yourself. But what does any of it actually mean? In the scheme of things you work your ass of to one day succumb to death, which signifies that it’s all over. You take nothing with you, as a result of your hard work. As a matter of fact, you brought nothing here when you came into existence. What made you believe that you would take anything with you? Nothing belongs to you materially, no matter how hard you have worked. 

Who and what are you working for? What deeds/works have you done to enhance the lives of others? Have you ever really thought about it? On the other hand, the activities and actions you engage in throughout your life to help others will have more power and more promise, not just for you, but also for the people you love and others whose lives you have impacted.

If by chance you happen to be defined by your work, when you do not have a job or you no longer have the job, which you currently hold, you will not have a definition of you! If your job makes you who you are, who are you when you no longer have the job? The reality is, your job is an external state of engagement, many times not by choice, but because you were chosen to hold or to have the job you have by someone else, allowing you to do the work you do. When you are no longer the choice of those who chose you, your job and your work will become a thing of the past. You will no longer exist is that position and if the job defined you, you also will no longer exist as a person.

What about those who are not able to work outside of their homes for one reason or another, or those whose work is never seen because they don’t have jobs of record? Do they not have identities? Although they might not have defined work as you and I might ascribe a definition, I am sure that many of these people have some great deeds that they might be performing to and for the benefit of others. They are probably feeding the homeless, sharing the little finances they have with others to help them up, directing an unwed teen mother, redirecting a troubled young man, attending community events, while lending their voices of truth to help a cause of righteousness for others. You might consider them unfortunate because they have no documented form of work. However, they are very fortunate; they are making lasting and everlasting impacts on the lives of others through their works. As a result, they know who they are; they are defined by the deeds they perform, and not the paid work they do. What about you?

While your job and ensuing work are often a result of an inheritance from or an appointment by others, manifested through external controls, your deeds are manifested through internal drives and divine appointments. No one can unseat you or remove you from your deeds; they are the definition of your passion, your vested interest, and your investment in others. Your deeds supersede me, my, and I, transcending to a state of we and us, recognizing that none of us is as great as all of us. In the final analysis, it’s not all about the work you do, as it is what you do for others that will rise to the top! It’s your deeds/works that will count!

The positive actions that you perform to benefit others might not have an instant return that you can hold or see, but if they are honorable, you shouldn’t be looking for one or expecting one anyhow. On many occasions, you don’t even know the overall impact, benefit, or outcome of your deeds for others. However, when you work, you are not only looking for an instant return, but you are also expecting an outcome, some remuneration, and something that gives you credit for your work. Your deeds might never bring you notoriety, because you didn’t and you don’t do them to be noticed. Your deeds are of your heart, and not out of obligation!

It is not your job or the kind of work that you do that should be a part of your self-identification and self-definition, it’s how well and how much you are willing to reach outside of you to not look down on anyone unless you are helping him/her up through the deeds you provide.  It’s your willingness to stand for and with the truth, in the midst of lies, standing for and with the underdog when it is not popular to do so, as well as you meeting people where they are, respecting them for who they are, and treating them like they matter. It’s being the bigger person and admitting wrong, learning to say I am sorry, and lending a hand to those in need. It’s all about the good deeds you perform, not the work you do. Your work will end, but your good deeds/works will stand the test of time!
In the final analysis, the quote from a familiar song, “May the works I’ve done speak for me. When I’m resting in my grave, there’s nothing to be said; May the works I’ve done speak for me.” Notice, the words of the song don’t refer to the ‘work’ or the job you’ve done speaking for you, but instead, it refers to the ‘WORKS’ you’ve done as being the speaker for you. In other words, the good deeds you’ve done should be your identifier, not your work.  
Here is your opportunity to assess the works/deeds of your life. Are they inclusive of helping others unselfishly, or are they exclusive only to the benefit of you and yours? How are you defined? Is it by a smile or a frown, a kind word or words of anger and arrogance, an open hand of kindness or a closed fist of death, a heart of love or a heart of hate, actions of construction or actions of destruction? Are your deeds/works of you building others up instead of tearing them down? What will the dash between your birth and your death dates stand for? What good deeds will matter as a part of your identification now and when life ends for you? 
Clearly, the dash between Aretha Franklin’s, date of birth and date of death as well as Senator John McCain’s birthdate and death date signify more of the good deeds/works they provided for others, rather than the singing and politics of the work in which they engaged. It was the passion placed in their hearts that lead to the kind of works they provided for others, providing satisfaction, while believing that at some point and somehow, their deeds will benefit others. And they most certainly have benefitted others. Their deeds will last into eternity, because others will pass them on.

Whatever type of work you are chosen to do, always do it well. However, it doesn’t take you working 24/7, neglecting your family, friends, yourself, or the other aforementioned areas of my “Life’s Balance Wheel” in order for you to do your job well. You must recognize that you are dispensable! Try being ill for too long or missing too much time from work. Better yet, try dying and see what happens to your job. You will be replaced as soon as possible. The company might allow one or two people to attend your service, but your work will be over and there will be an end, with no identification of you related to your work. However, your deeds/works will not only last for a lifetime, they will still matter after your death. The benefits of your deeds will live in and through others, and you will still matter. 
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,   
 “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
You have a grand opportunity to ensure that you are defined by your deeds (your works) and not by your work (your job). You will be remembered more by the former, rather than by the latter. What actions have you taken to help your fellow man/woman? And if you haven’t taken any actions to help others, when do you plan to start? Even though your work/job is done, your works/deeds will still stand forever! It’s time for you to start standing, not just for you but also for others; not just for the sake of standing, but for what is moral and what is right! I challenge you to stand and be identified by your deeds (works), instead of your work (job)!


©2018 J. Morley Productions, Inc; P.O. Box 1745, Decatur, GA 30031; (770) 808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com

Saturday, August 4, 2018

In 2018 It’s the Survival of the Fittest

It seems as if our daily lives are fraught with one thing after another. As the old saying goes, ‘if ain’t one thing it’s another.’ On a daily basis we are faced with so many issues that require us to make sound and realistic decisions. However, there are times that we are faced with many issues, but very few choices.

In the midst of the various issues we are faced with in our lives, and the limited choices available to us, the problem is often compounded by the noise in our ears. These noises are often filled with filtered rhetoric from family, friends, coworkers, and other loved ones. The rhetoric is often about you, your life, your children, your family members, and your life direction. However, the noise is filtered because it is based on the perspective of the persons making the noise, rather than on your real life experiences and the issues you face. And if the filtered information from the ones you care about, love, and respect is considered noise, the information is an even greater and louder noise from those who control your economic, social, and cultural destinations. In other words, these are the people in power who usually don’t give a damn about you and yours; it’s all about them…’me, my, and I.’

When you think about the social disorder in the world, the disarray in our national government, the lawlessness and criminal acts taking place within the white house, along with threats of nuclear war, many of your fears are exacerbated. Your fears and concerns are heightened even further because of the dysfunction and turmoil among family members, the destruction of the American family system, the discord between law enforcement and racial, ethnic, and social groups, and the lack of trust in politicians. There is daily news regarding the threat of doing away with public education, children being separated from their parents at the borders with the fear of never achieving total reunification, the lack of safety inside and outside our homes, as well as the daily destruction resulting from natural disasters. Sadly, we are not in control of the majority of these occurrences or their outcomes.  Even though you are not in control of the occurrences and their outcomes, you can make yourself fit enough to fight in order to change the direction of the outcomes!

The filtered rhetoric or high-pitched noises from the powerbrokers in control of your financial, social, and cultural destinations are often more confusing, more life consuming, more threatening, and more fearful. They are the lawmakers, gatekeepers, storytellers, policymakers, newsmakers, and lawbreakers. These powerbrokers do not write and make laws that they cannot break; they only write laws that will limit you and me from having a right of passage into receiving the benefits of being a free American citizen.  However, you can combat the unjust laws by becoming fitter in order to strengthen your fight! 

Because their rhetoric is filtered, it has been modified to fit their needs and their wants, processed to fit the time at hand, and refined to confuse you and me. There are filters on their messages, coupled with falsehoods, instead of the facts that come with unfiltered information.  

The powerbrokers are gatekeepers protecting their amassed fortunes and abilities to help maintain the status quo of helping the rich to become richer, making the poor poorer and abolishing the middle class. They tell stories to confuse those who don’t know any better, who won’t or don’t know how to research, or how to find and hold onto the truth. Their stories are truly filtered untruths that are not prone to allowing you and me to see and hear the truth. They also bar us from having choices. Their story telling is an emotional and psychological diatribe designed to lure you into a false sense of reality, in order for them to remain in control. 

Unfortunately, the powerbrokers are policymakers and lawbreakers. They only make policy that will benefit them in the short and long term. And for every policy made by the powerbrokers, they include a loophole that will allow them to exclude themselves from the policies and laws that they make. They ‘fix’ the policies in order for them to reflect a win-lose outcome…a win for them and a loss for you and me.  It is time for you to lift your head out of the sand and decide that fit is the answer and not flight! 

And finally, the powerbrokers pride themselves in being great newsmakers. As does the guy in the white house, they keep themselves in the news, in their attempts to confuse and misdirect the unsuspecting few, hoping to make them the unsuspecting many. They make every attempt to turn you and me against the media by using their own filtered truths, which amount to nothing more than grand lies as they grandstand. They become the pied piper of lies, using reverse psychology to influence your hearing, your thinking, your emotions, your beliefs, and ultimately your actions. In the scheme of things, this tactic influences your ultimate demise, economically, socially, politically, culturally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Hence, it is time for you to get up, stand up, speak up, put up, tighten up, and become fit to fight through your voice, your choice, and your vote!

And if you think you have limited choices in dealing with your life directions with the filtered noises coming from those you care about and love, your back can and will be completely against the wall when you are faced with the high pitched noise from the filtered rhetoric of the politicians and others who are self-serving and not servant leaders. There are too many of these soul sellers, dealmakers, and sellouts attempting to run your neighborhood, run your city/town, run your state, and even run your country into the ground. As they ruin each of these entities, at your expense, you are ultimately faced with emotional and psychological disarray, along with financial uncertainty and instability, as well as a state o emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. It is time for you to clear your mind, strengthen your heart, recharge your spirit, tighten your economic belt and stand in the fit lane with others who are fit and those becoming even fitter!

It takes much inner drive and inner strength, as well as outer drive, outer strength, your voice, your choice, your stamina, your stance, your stand, and your vote, to not only stand against the filtered rhetoric, but also against negative and debilitating actions espoused by powerbrokers against you and me, in order for them to remain in control. The power of your drive, your strength, your voice, your choice, your stamina, your stance, your stand, and your vote, allows you to be one of the fittest in countering the ills being thrust upon you and me by their filtered rhetoric.

Here is your chance to engage in actions that will help you to combat community and family division, hatred, fear, anger, anxiety, and your seeming lack of control. Because you are you and you are endowed with all of the internal power and fortitude to survive, you CAN begin to filter the rhetoric that comes your way by infusing truth in reality.

You and I must stand and publicly voice our opinions, put our money where our mouth is, grace the voting polls with our presence and our vote, and make conscious decisions to eradicate lies, hate and bigotry. We must either stand for something or fall for anything. We must get in shape emotionally, psychologically, physically, academically, economically, socially, politically, and spiritually. Until you are in top shape in all of these areas, you cannot and will not be fit enough to tangle with, stand against, and fight against the filtered rhetoric and high-pitched noise being put forth by the powerbrokers, in an attempt for them to ensure our ultimate demise.

 You are probably asking how can you remain or become one of the fittest persons in order to stand in front of and against those seeking to destroy you, your family, and your friends, along with all that you all stand for, including the truth. Here it is, totally unfiltered in the midst of mess, along with the truths that guide your reality.

In order for you to be amongst the ‘Fittest’ in 2018, to ensure your survival, it is imperative that the following exist:

·     You are intentionalin what you believe in, take a stance on, and for what you stand for, no matter what others think about you, say about you, or believe about you. You must have a clear plan of direction with goals, objectives, and clear action steps, allowing you to survive against the plots and ploys of the powerbrokers, designed to identify you as a loser, instead of a winner.
·     Take and adopt aprivate and a public position, a posture, a stand, and a stance on where you are, what you believe, as well as what you will and will not take when it comes to dealing with the filtered rhetoric of the powerbrokers. Draw a line in the sand with clear and succinct boundaries, without being afraid of speaking up and out about your position, your posture, where you stand, and your stance. 
·     Stand in unfiltered truthand not filtered lies. Speak truths without fear, stand in truths as a grounder, and act in truths as your reality. The truth not only sets you free, it keeps you free.
·     Remain hopeful, always believing that you were created to be a defeater instead of being defeated. Believe that no matter what seems to be the reality of the powerbrokers, you can, you will, and you are overcoming their filtered rhetoric.
·     Remain connectedto and with positive and constructive family members & friends, recognizing that the intent of the powerbrokers is to cause divisiveness amongst family and friends, in order to isolate you and alienate you from family and friends. The intent of the powerbrokers is to impact you emotionally, psychologically, physically, economically, and spiritually, causing you to believe that you are on an island alone, rendering you hopeless, helpless, and unfit.
·     Engage in constant and daily conversations & communicationwith positive thinking, forwarding thinking, forward moving, and unfiltered family members, friends, and coworkers. These people should also be truth seekers, believers, shakers, movers, and motivators, willing to stand for the truth, stand in the truth and engage in truth on a daily basis. 
·     After engaging in conversations and communicating, it is imperative that you, your rusted family members, and friends come together and put your resources together, in order to become stronger economically in your efforts to stand against the powerbrokers with their filtered conversations and high pitched noise. 
·     You all must develop a plan of survival,economically, emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually, socially, and politically. This plan of survival must not only exist for the short time, but also for the long term. It must also be one of love, caring, and sharing.  You must identify and utilize your resources.
·     You, your trusted loved ones and friends must develop a plan of action,including realistic, attainable, and measurable goals, time frames, action steps, as well as expected outcomes as to how you all will survive against the powerbrokers and other evil intent. Resources, including human, monetary, and others must also be included. 
·     Prayeris essential in you and your loved ones standing against the wiles of evil and ensuring our fitness in 2018. You must pray in season, out of season, morning, noon and night, engaging in corporate prayer with each other. There is strength in prayer and strength in numbers. You must believe in the power of prayer and the presence of a higher power. You must believe that God always has the final say, no matter how things seem. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel!
·     Believe in your presence, your position, and your power through God, by prioritizing what and who is important. Continue standing for the clear and pure unadulterated truths for life and in life!
·     VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!!


© 2018; J. Morley Productions, Inc. P. O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30031; (770) 808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com


Saturday, June 30, 2018

“Your Heart Is Too Large to Hate”

When I was a teenager, I noticed how mean some people would be to me and to others, for no reason at all. I had not done anything to them, and I had also not noticed that others had done anything to them. They would not only say mean things, they would also attempt to do mean things in order to defy, defeat, and control, for no reason at all. They would often spew hateful rhetoric at the expense of others. I can remember asking my mother, ‘why is he/she so mean and angry; I didn’t do anything to him/her.’ My mother would say, ‘you don’t have to do anything to people for them to hate you. They hate you for no reason at all, because of how you look, what they think you have, because you are different, and many times who they think you are.’ She would also go on to say, ‘but love them anyhow!’

The words of my deceased mother resonate in my mind until today. I continue to not only witness the anger and the hatred projected onto my daughters and me for no reason at all, I also witness the anger and hatred projected onto others, just because, and for no reason at all. I have found that many times people hate you because of their own self-hatred.  There just might be a part of you that reminds them of that part within themselves that they dislike and they don’t know how to face, which is deep within their inner self. 

On the other hand, there is the hatred from others that is espoused onto you because you are different. You don’t look like them; based on your race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic level, social status, political affiliation, religious belief, or immigration status. They believe you don’t have what they have. Either you have less than them or more than them; you live in a different part of town; you don’t drive an acceptable automobile; your clothes are not up to par’ or your educational level is not equivalent to theirs. 

For some reason, they believe in their narrow minds that you have come to take what they have or that which they believe they have. No matter what their reason for espousing hate against you, it is not your problem…their heart is dark and narrow!

Mama was right; people don’t have to have a reason for hating you. It seems easier for them to indulge in hate, rather than to express love. Often, because they have hated for so long, they don’t know how to love. Hate isn’t a behavior and action that God has placed in our hearts from birth; it is a learned behavior. However, it seems as if people project onto others the negative behaviors that they have learned, more so than the positive behaviors. Even though hate is learned, it doesn’t mean that you have to practice hating others on a daily basis. You must be accountable for your own behaviors. You have a choice in the matter. When you know better you do better. And if you aren’t sure, ask somebody! 

Fear, anger, and hate go hand in hand. If you were to begin to monitor your hate, you would come to recognize that there is a cycle to your hate. Your fears about the threats others pose against you, whether real or imagined, fuel your anger about your seeming lack of ability to control or stop the perceived threats of losing the things you believe you have or about losing the place you believe you have attained in life. For some reason, it seems as if many of you in this country believe that you are the only one who deserves nice things, nice places, and high levels of attainment. As a result, your hate cycle begins.

Your fears and anger then manifest into hate. All people who are different from you, based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic level, social status, political affiliation, religious belief, or immigration status, are not threats to destroying your neighborhood or moving you from your perceived state of being privileged. But somehow, the made for TV movie you have developed in your mind takes you through the cycle of hate. And then you want to blame others for your actions and claim you ‘just snapped,’ when you put forth negative hateful action against others. It is time for you to begin to recognize that you CAN learn to no longer hate and start loving others, even with their differences.

As has been said by many others, FEAR is false evidence appearing real. In Marvin Gaye’s 1978 album, “Hear My Dear,” he talked about the negative power of anger. Marvin sang, ‘anger makes you sick; anger makes you old, anger destroys your soul!’ He also went on to state that ‘anger injures you, and treats your body bad.’ Not only does anger do all of the things Marvin mentioned in his 1978 song, it negatively encapsulates and impacts your mind, heart, and spirit. Anger is the emotion that keeps your heart small, allowing you to blame everyone else for issues in your life, as well as promoting your fears about the perceived threats of others to you, all because of their differences. Anger helps you to hold people down and hold them back, based on who they are, or who you think they are, based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic level, social status, political affiliation, religious belief, or their immigration status. 

Amazingly, after singing about anger in his 1978 album, Marvin continued with his song, “Everybody Needs Love.” He recognized that hate was not the answer to dealing with anger; love was and is the answer. He took it a little further by stating, ‘ALL of God’s children need love, including you. It doesn’t matter what you are; a thief, a beggar, or superstar.’ Marvin was also correct in stating that ‘you are made for love and made of love.’

Not only do you need love, you must possess love by ridding yourself of hate and share your unconditional love with others! This love comes by way of you stepping outside of your comfort zone and your ‘privileged’ zone to gain awareness, insight, and understanding about people who are different from you. You often spend so much time fighting to be understood that you miss the boat in gaining understanding, which will carry you much farther. 

The reality is that ‘Your Heart is Too Large to Hate!” The problem is, when you engage in hateful thoughts, hateful feelings, and hateful actions, you make excuses, you are not accountable, and you refuse to engage in forgiving yourself and others who haven't done anything to you, all because you spend too much time blaming them. You begin to carry people in your heart, not only for their differences and perceived threats against you, but also because they either ‘did something to you’ or you believe they ‘did something to you.’ Again, there is your made for TV movie that you have concocted in your mind and in your heart. 

My mother also used to say “your heart is too small to carry people in it.” Carrying people in your heart whom you believe have caused real or imagined threats, hurts, and pains against you, doesn’t and won’t allow room for you to carry love in your heart. However, you can come to recognize that love trumps hate and “Your Heart Is Too Large to Hate!”

With the celebration of the Fourth of July, also known as “Independence Day,” it is time for you to take a look in the mirror and begin to ascertain the size and color of your heart when it comes to others who are different from you. Decide if your heart is small and dark, filled with hate, or is it large and pure, filled with love or at least open to the possibility of allowing love to come in.  Independence Day was created to celebrate and commemorate the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. The signing of the document was to indicate freedom for America from Great Britain. Sadly, two hundred and forty-two (242) years later, there are far too many of the masses of people in this country who are still not free.  They are denied their freedom because of the hatred in the hearts of so many Americans, based on their differences and the cycle of hate discussed previously.

As you celebrate the freedom of this country, start celebrating or continue celebrating love for the boys, girls, men, and women, who don’t look like you in this country and outside of this country, based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic level, social status, political affiliation, religious belief, or immigration status. Remember, until all of us are free, none of us are truly free!

If you plan to celebrate freedom during the Fourth of July, you must start celebrating or fight to continue celebrating love for ALL people within America, as well as those who attempt to enter America. You must challenge yourself and challenge others to confront their fears, their self-anger, their displaced anger, and their hate towards others. Remember, “Your heart Is Too Large to Hate,” but it is large enough to love! Start loving and keep loving, starting with love for YOU!

©2018; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745, Decatur, GA 30031; 770-808-6570; joyce@doctorjoyce.comwww.doctorjoyce.com

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Fathers Aren’t Born; They’re Created

Isn’t it amazing that we expect women and men to coalesce, engage sexually, create a child, and immediately become mothers and fathers? The reality is, mothers and fathers are created through a process over time. Although males and females are born with the capacity to one day become parents, they are not born as parents. According to John Locke, humans are born as a blank slate, and the world then writes its imprints on them.

As a man, you are most certainly in an enviable position. You enjoy the pleasures of the sexual intercourse necessary to help the woman procreate. If you choose, you can then walk away after the fertilization process and after you have written your imprint on the child yet to be born. You don’t have to carry the child once it is conceived, or engage in hormonal changes, body changes, or emotional changes, while carrying a child continuously flipping and kicking inside of you. And you have no idea about the art of labor and childbirth. But yet and still, once the baby is born, you are instantly called a ‘father.’

The preparation for males to become fathers starts when they are little boys. It is hoped that male children have a father in their homes, serving as a model and a role model, providing love, direction, moral and spiritual guidance, respect for self and respect for women. The reality, as you and I and are keenly aware, is that there are many boys growing up without a biological or surrogate father in their homes, especially in African-American households. Although mother might have a man in her life and even in her home, providing and meeting some of her needs, this man might neglect the needs of her son. As a matter of fact, even though mom’s man knew she was part of a package deal when he got with her, he often denies one part of the package, which is her children, especially her son.

If mom’s male child has been denied by or rejected by his biological father, and once again rejected by mom’s man, then who teaches him how to be a man, in preparation for becoming a father? Often, the tragedy is that he learns how to be a man and how to be a father all on his own. But, you are probably asking, how does a boy teach himself to be a man and then a father? He doesn’t!  He lives vicariously through the lives of other males who are probably in the same or similar situation as the boy without a father or without positive male role model in his life. Unfortunately, you then have the blind leading the blind.

If mom’s mate is seen as “Mister” or “Uncle,” another problem exists. The male child is cheated of the ability to see a father in action. He has no real connection to “Mister” and although the term “Uncle” carries with it a term of endearment, it is still not dad or father, which carries different meanings for the male child. He witnesses the intimacy mom has with her mate, but rarely, if ever, receives the benefit of fatherhood from this man.

Boys must be groomed from childhood into adulthood, in order for them to be prepared for fatherhood. As a single mother, you can do a great job with rearing your sons from childhood into adulthood. However, they are still in need of strong male models and role models in their lives during their growth and development periods. There is a definite need for every little boy to experience the positive direction, love, and teachings of a strong man in his life. Unfortunately, in many African-American households, the presence of a strong male model and role model is missing.

The reality is, even though the father of the African-American male child or any other child is not in his home, he can still have a strong presence in his life. Parenting and fatherhood should include a relationship with sons that also encompass a presence, even though that presence might not be a permanent one that includes a residential arrangement. As an adult male, it is important that you only create as many children that you can contribute to and take care of financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, morally, time wise, and in other ways. Remember, you are responsible for helping the boy to become a man, in preparation to become a father! And if you decide to abdicate your role and responsibility as father or surrogate father, you are basically setting your son up for failure as a man and as a father. If you are a stepfather and see your mate’s son as a stepson, you will treat him as just that…a stepping stone to get to his mother, but not play a major role in his development and growth as a male child.

In reality, it isn’t that complicated! It’s a no brainer! As a man, if you help to make a baby or take on a woman with children, especially a male child, you are responsible for the upkeep, upbringing, uplifting, and uprising of your biological child, as well as the biological child of your mate, from childhood into adulthood, and eventually fatherhood.
Yes, I know! It’s almost impossible for you to be a father to your own son or the son of your mate if you haven’t had a father in your life. But, guess what? It is never too late for you to learn now what you didn’t learn then! So you say that money is an issue? It wasn’t an issue when you got with your son’s mother or mother of your stepson or the mother of your ‘woman friend.’ Okay...money does help. As a matter of fact, money makes a great impact. However, there are some greater attributes that you, as a man, as a father, as a surrogate father can contribute to the male children with whom you are engaged or should be engaged in their lives.

Whether you are with the mother of your son, the mother of another man’s son, you owe it to this male child to contribute and model love, respect, kindness, unconditional positive regard, morality, honor, understanding, spiritual direction, emotional security, positive conversations, laughter, and all around compassion. Although you might have missed out on being recognized as a prince as you were growing up, it is important for you to recognize and treat your male child, whether biological or not, as a prince. And if this male child is an African-American, he most certainly is in need of stability and to have the aforementioned attributes provided to him on a daily basis.

The reality is that in order for powerful fathers to exist, we must have powerful men. It is expected and hoped that boys will grow into strong men, who will eventually become strong and committed fathers. These fathers must be willing to not only take a stand, but to also take a stance for what is right, moral, proper, and honorable; not just for themselves, but for their children. This responsibility extends beyond biological children. It also extends to those children whose biological fathers might not play an active role in the lives of their children, either by choice or by their inability to do so.

Here are a few words to mothers of sons. If you want your sons to grow and become strong, powerful, and responsible men and fathers, stop taking care of your sons while raising your daughters. Your sons need to have chores and responsibilities around the house. They also need to be accountable for their behaviors and actions, inside and outside of the home, while showing respect for himself, for you as his mother, for others, especially other females. You must also provide clear and specific boundaries, require him to complete his education, and ensure that he is disciplined as you would your daughter. As well, the man in your life who is committed to fatherhood must be allowed to discipline your son with love and compassion. If the man you love and who says he loves you cannot help you to rear your son from boyhood to adulthood, he might not be the man for you!

Further, mothers, boys need to be boys! They cannot replace their missing father, and they cannot be your man! And fathers, by your words, actions, and behaviors, you are the example for your son as to how he will become a man, and eventually a father. You are responsible for teaching your sons right from wrong and guiding them to manhood.

Society also has to play a major role in helping boys to become men and eventually fathers. Compared to any other race in America, African-American males are dying at a disproportionate rate, either by the guns of police officers or by the guns they hold in their own hands. One of the major problems is that America isn’t willing to see, doesn’t want to see, or won’t deal with the fact that there is an epidemic raging in African-American communities across the nation. Unfortunately, although many of you have recognized the problem, too many of the power brokers have turned their heads, closed their eyes, and sealed their lips regarding necessary funds and actions needed to help dry the tears of the mothers and fathers whose faces grace the evening news, on a daily basis.

To not value or respect the boy, the man, and the father in African-American communities, is to deny and decry the God who created all of us. To consider the deaths resulting from the use of opiates an epidemic in one race, but ignore the deaths of African-American males as a result of gun violence and not see the same urgency, is not only a travesty, it is a tragedy! It is time for each of you to begin to question the judges who see African-American fathers as three-fifths of a man, by barring them from engaging with their children. Child support is more than money! Child support encompasses emotional support, spiritual support, a loving touch support, as well as quality of time spent together support. However, when there is no value and no respect for the boys or the men, there won’t be and can’t be any value or respect for the father of the boys.

In all actually, African-American boys can’t and won’t become men and will never see fatherhood if they are continuously being cut down in the early years of their lives. Remember, fathers are created, not born! Although boys are born to be men, they are also born with the capacity to become fathers. However, there is a process for fatherhood and it starts in boyhood, with love, understanding, spiritual and moral guidance, direction, discipline, open and honest communication, as well as specific and clear boundaries.

I challenge you as men and women to recognize that, “Fathers Aren’t Born; They’re Created.” From that vantage point, it is imperative that each of you be willing to engage in the process of helping your sons, the sons of your family members, friends, neighbors, and others to move from boyhood to manhood, and eventually into fatherhood. And it is just that…a process. It is time for you to each take a stand and a stance to ensure that boys, men, and fathers of all races are treated fairly and treated like they are worthy and worthwhile. In other words, showing the boy, the man, and the father that they all matter! 

The size, physical strength, penis, and facial hair don’t make boys men and fathers. It’s the imprints of all the people who contribute to grooming the boy that makes a man and a father. Take time out of your day to assess what positive role, if any, you have played or are playing in helping your son or other boys to become strong, healthy, and powerful men and fathers. And if you haven’t played a role and aren’t playing a role, it’s time for you to start doing so, especially in the lives of African-American boys and men.  “Fathers Aren’t Born; They’re Created! Help to create some amazing father, all because you are one too!



©2018; J. Morley Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30031; (770) 808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Respecting My Womanhood Allows Respect for My Motherhood

Celebrating mothers is always a grand occasion. When you think about it, you should celebrate your mother on a daily basis, not just one day out of the year. She is the person who carried you through a period of gestation (usually nine months), suffered through the pains of labor, and gave you life. And then there are those of you who did not physically carry your child(ren), but you have given them unconditional love, care, direction, and you provided them with all aspects of motherly care necessary  for their healthy and successful growth and development.
Yes, the celebration of mothers is not only a time to recognize your mother, for what she has done, what she is doing, or for what you hope she will or can do for you, but because she was instrumental in contributing to your lifeline! Further, it is also important for you and others to not only celebrate and elevate your mother, but to recognize, respect, and uplift the woman who became your mother. After all, she was a woman before she became your mother. And if you are a mother, as a woman, you deserve the same recognition and respect.
Too often, when women become mothers, they take on motherhood and abate their womanhood. And there are many of you mothers out there who help to perpetuate this unfortunate denial of womanhood after motherhood. Because you become a mother, it doesn’t mean that you are no longer a woman. As a matter of fact, unfortunate situations might not allow you to ever become a biological, surrogate, or adoptive mother, but no matter what your role and status, you will always be a woman. And at some point, it is imperative for you to stop allowing society, your loved ones, and others to define you and your role in life.
It behooves me to understand how a man, who is the product of a woman, meets a female who was a woman when he engaged with her sexually, and with whom he creates beautiful children, can somehow not only begin to disrespect her after she becomes the mother of his child(ren), but he denies her, defies her, and decries her, through disrespect and a stripping of her dignity. To engage in such behavior as a man, you not only denounce the woman who became the mother of your child(ren), you also denounce the woman who became your mother. What the hell is this?! He seems to have difficulty sharing the woman with the children with whom she is now known as mother!
For those of you, as men, who seem inclined to view motherhood as a weakness and opportunity to control, you are basically indicating that you not only disrespect the mother, you disrespect the woman who became the mother of your child(ren). Remember, she was a woman before becoming a mother. The same thing it took to get the woman you’re now with, should be the same thing it takes for you to hold onto the mother, who grew out of the woman. One of the greatest aspects of womanhood is the ability for the woman to grow and transcend to a level of motherhood. However, the process does not eliminate the woman who became the mother.
Women, you also bear a great responsibility for allowing society, your mate, your children, your family, your friends, and others to denounce your womanhood as you transcended into motherhood. As a matter of fact, you are complicit in this unfortunate deed. Somehow, when many of you became a mother, you negated yourself as a woman. Many of you seem to discount yourself, and as a woman, you no longer matter in the scheme of things. Everyone and everything else in your life, around and about you, has become paramount, important, a priority, essential, and important, at your expense. You neglect yourself emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically, socially, and otherwise. You count everyone in the equation as you discount yourself, counting you out of the equation.
As a woman, becoming a mother should never be a replacement, but an enhancement and a boldness that shows the power of womanhood developing into motherhood. It is time for those of you who have become mothers to recognize the strength and the power of the essence and the presence of your role as a woman. If you remember, man was not complete until God made a woman!
As a mother, if you can behold the woman in you, you will hopefully come to behold the woman in your mother and forgive her for all of the things you have held against her. Just as you, she was a woman before she became your mother. No, she is not perfect, and neither are you. She has made mistakes just as you have. But, for some reason, you have held your mother to higher standards. Why? Get over it! Just as you had no book to guide you and no magic formula for you to take on the role of mother, your mother was from a different time and space, with less preparation and direction. However, look at you; didn’t you turn out okay, and in some cases, you might believe that you turned out spectacular? It’s time for you to learn the woman in your mother, and for you to remember the woman in you. As she is not just the mother who emanated from the woman; you aren’t too much different from her. As a matter of fact, you emanated from her! 
Ways to Respect Womanhood After Motherhood:
1.       Respect the feminine aspects of your womanhood once you engage in motherhood, in the way you dress, and in the way you care for your body, your mind, and your spirit.
2.       Take time for yourself, by making ‘YOU’ a priority. It’s not all about your children, your mate, and everything external. Everything starts and ends with you.
3.       Don’t be afraid to spend quality time with yourself; read a book, take a trip, go to the movies, take a bubble bath, indulge yourself in gifts for you, etc.
4.       Demand and command respect for yourself and your time, by not allowing yourself go be slotted into the role of mother, by taking on ALL of the household duties and chores.
5.       Demand and command that you are treated with respect, and that you are also shown unconditional positive regard.
6.       Move away from a sense of desperation to be with somebody, allowing people to choose you for their benefit. You have a choice in the choosing, and in ensuring that you are also benefitting from the people you allow into your life.  
7.       Don’t be afraid to ask for and seek help when you need it. You don’t have to try to be, and you truly aren’t superwoman!
8.       Don't be afraid to ask for what you need and want. Stop accepting what everyone gives to you, when you know it’s not best for you, and it’s not what you need, or what you want!
9.       Don’t be afraid to negotiate in order for you to benefit. It’s okay for you to ask for a raise, negotiate your salary, demand parity with men, and not serve as the ‘coffee girl’ at work. 
10.   Take care of your spiritual needs. Engage in meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, positive affirmations, etc. And if no one else in your house joins you on your day and at your place of worship, GO ALONE!
11.   Take care of your mental and psychological needs by seeing a psychotherapist, reading to keep your mind sharp, and just plain old relaxing.
12.   Take care of your physical needs by having your annual checkups and demanding that your physicians take the time to hear you and listen to you, as well as recognizing and respecting your needs and wishes.
13.   Refrain from, leave from, or do not enter into abusive situations with your mate, your children, boss, friends, or others. You are no one’s walking mat, punching bag, doorknob, or light switch!
14.   Celebrate your womanhood by thanking God for creating you as a woman. Speak positive statements over yourself and about yourself, and allow men to open the door for you, pull out chairs for you, and celebrate you…chivalry is not dead!
15.   Don’t be afraid to look into your mirror, each and everyday, and proudly exclaim: “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of them ALL? It must be the person in the mirror; it must be ME!”

©2018; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30031; 770-808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com