When Everybody Was Your Parent

(The Last Of The Finest)

by Miguel A. Wilder

I don't know about any other people, but I do know about my own. I have been seeing, over the last 20 years, a deterioration of the parental base. Especially in the black home.

Black men, and women of the late 60's, and early 70's were of the last to practiced the old school ways of living. Then we strayed off the path, and started letting the government, and society tell us how to raise our children.

I like to call them the last of the finest.

Do you remember when you were little, and if you acted up at a friends house, their Mother would beat your butt, send you home, then your Mother would beat your butt, for acting up in public, and then tell you to wait until your father got home. When he got home he would beat your butt again for embarrassing the family name, and to make matters worse, he would make you go back to your friends house, and apologize.

Back then, if you cut up, some how, some way, your Mother heard about it. That's because people watched out for one another back then. Your neighbor was exactly that...your neighbor. Next door, down the street, and around the corner, were just extensions of your own home. No one was unwelcome in your house. If you lived in that community, you were family.

I remember leaving our screen door unlocked, and the front door open on those hot summer nights. There was no fear of anyone breaking in.

If your neighbor saw someone snooping around in your yard, they would call the police, fire department, life squad, and you, before the robber could get to your door, and that was long before speed dialing.

Black folks invented neighborhood watch long before there was a name for it.

And your children were safe with them. They never treated the other kids like they were any less important than their own. If they took you some place, you were their's, and if you were good, you were rewarded, but if you cut up...well, see the paragraph 6.

Black folks always placed good values in their children back then. You went to Church, and/or Bible School, whether you wanted to, or not. There were no excuses,..you went.

To some that might sound cruel, but doing that did a few things for the children.

1. You knew where they were, and they were safe.

2. You knew, whether you went or not, they were being good.

3. It taught them how to sit quietly, be still, and have patience.

4. They got a healthy helping of the word, and believe me, it got through to them.

The other day, in a restaurant, I saw a mother tell her son to sit down in his seat, stay still, and eat his food. She most have told him 10 times, but he just kept getting up. When she finally had enough, she grabbed him, and lightly spanked his hand about 4 times, and said, "Don't make me tell you again!"

Get this...the little boy smacked her on her face, and shoulder about 8, or 9 times, screaming, "I'm going to tell my Daddy not to let me come with you, no more! Never again! No more!"

She, and the rest of the people at her table, thought it was funny, and cute that he could articulate himself so well, and she just laughed, and said, "Okay, you do that, and I will never come to see you again.", and the boy started crying over that, made her feel bad for saying it, and he acted a damn fool the rest of the dinner, and she never said another word.

First let me say, her spanking was worse than his. He hit her more times, and harder. On top of that, he had her out witted in the mental game, because he had her feeling so bad, she was scared to hit him, for fear that he wouldn't love her anymore.

Now before I make my point, let me tell you what would have happened had that been a black Mother from back in the day.

First, there would not be 8, or 9 warnings...2 at the most. Then she would not have spanked him at the table(Not enough swinging room.) She would have taken him into the bathroom, cleared it out, and made him take off his belt, and beat his butt until she got tired, snatched him up by his collar, dragged him out of the restaurant, fussing the whole way home, threw him in his room, and told him to get ready for his father to get home. i.e.(paragraph 6)

Another thing is the male role model.

My father use to take us to the barber shop, leave us, and as we sat there waiting for our turn, the older men there made sure they passed on some of their wisdom down to us.

What to do, what not to do, and believe me, if we acted up while Dad was gone...well see paragraph 6 again. We were safe with them. They respected my father, and he trusted them. Men had the strength to love, and trust one another back then, without fear of feeling weak, like some men of today.

Family night was another tie binding event. We all ate together, and the time was for us to talk, and find out about each other's day, how someone was feeling, or just to be with our family.

When I was little, everyone showed up for dinner. There were no excuses. Being late was not an option, and death was the only excuse you had for why you couldn't show up.

My father was always there, no matter where he worked, or how many jobs he had, and the same for my Mother. She would go to work, come home, and cook, after some real hard days. They did it because it was important to them for all of us to be together, and that kind of family bond is all but gone now.

Other kids were a factor too.

There were always one or two kids who always told on you when you cut up, and it used to make you so mad. You would call them snitch, stool pigeon, or rat, but you stayed friends with them anyway. That was because, you knew if you didn't know what was right, and wrong, they sure did, and had no qualms about telling you. I bet you can appreciate a friend like that now, can't you?

Now to make my point...

Parents back then were not afraid to spank their children. There was no 2-4-1 kids, and the government stepping in. They raised their own kids, and if spanking their ass was the answer, then that was the way it had to be.

They were not afraid to talk to their children, or make them feel like it was okay to come to them with a problem. The truth would always make you free, although it didn't always keep you out of trouble. If you think back, you can see for yourself that the uprising of the undisciplined, disrespectful, child coincided with the downfall of the old school parent.

The minute we started letting Sega, Nintendo, and Playstation take the place of their babysitter, music, tv., and movies take the place of their source of information, athletes, stars, pimps, players, hookers, and hoochies their role models, and computers as their best friends, is the minute control was lost.

We now lack, not only the knowledge to raise our children the way we use to, but also the will to do so. Government, society, and even we as a divided people, have made it hard to have the time, patience, understanding, and love of ourselves to get it back.

Yes in all I am saying, there were, and still are bad elements, but even they looked out for the children back then.

Strong family values were stressed at all times. From your friends, family, to the neighbors down the street.

When Everybody Was Your Parent by Miguel A. Wilder

© Copyright 2000. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page