Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching Our Children Responsibility

Watching the Cosby Show is a little slice of heaven. If certain African-Americans or whites thought families like the Huxtables didn't exist in the '80's when it originally aired I wonder what they'd think about it now. A show with an intact family of working professionals and happy well-adjusted kids seems foreign to many of us living in the age of Lil Wayne's BET performance and exposing his daughter to his depravity. 

Thankfully families did exist like the Huxtables and still do today. Increasingly however, they are becoming rare. Thank goodness for DVDs and cable re-runs! For those who didn't have families that resembled their tv counterparts you have something to aspire to. You also have a measuring stick and good evaluation tool. Again, we're talking about the tv representation of the family not of those portraying them. 

So this episode has Cliff guiding Theo on the financial responsibilities of adulthood. It's just one of many lessons he taught Theo on his journey to manhood like every good father does with his son. He didn't even touch on the expense of having children because it was already assumed he'd be married first. I wonder how many young adults would rethink think their choices if they had the economic lesson presented from this episode? This is about establishing standards. If you recall Theo wasn't focused on his studies and needed a firm hand in his youth. Had he not had that guidance you can imagine he would've settled for a life of mediocrity or even turned to crime. Some of our kids' futures are balanced on the width of a dime. Theo thinks being a "regular" person is okay instead of trying harder. Doing better. Pushing past his comfort zone. Being inconvenienced. He had tons of excuses ready as well. 

How often do we hear ourselves or others say "if only it wasn't so hard" or "circumstances were out of my control" or how somebody else was supposed to do something or else we would've done x, y or z. We have to catch ourselves when we do. We don't want to be "regular" where we're grading our life on a curve based on the failings of others. We want to be normative. Exceptional even - but at least in keeping with the general pace and direction of a majority of society.

In another case of serendipity I am reading blogger Taylor-Sara's essay on Why We Must Have HIGH Standards. I'm having a little laugh with myself that I set aside the essay I was working on to do some more research and wrote this one - and then saw Sara's. She writes:
The truth is, today, many people have no standards for their lives. Too many black women have high standards for their own lives (education, career) but low standards for the men in their lives (the any man will do type mentality). Ladies the truth is, anything you don't have standards for will fail in your life! You must have standards for everything you expect to be productive and constructive in your life. This includes but is not limited to: your children, your fiances, your career, education and your HUSBAND. I'm a firm believer in using obstacles to your benefit. This is how many of our ancestors were able to keep pushing, instead of laying down to die.
Doing that kind of work requires diligence and discipline. The economic turmoil isn't helping matters but it's the intention behind our actions that will guide our steps once we've decided to move.  Our choices DO affect our lives.

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ZionFulfilled said...

We don't want to be "regular" where we're grading our life on a curve based on the failings of others.
Thank you Jesus for that comment. You don't have to be a Christian to strive for excellence, but this statement made me shout. Black Americans make this fatal mistake a little too often when we say, "White folks do it all the time, or they're kids are just as bad as ours." Hey, what does that have to do with what goes on in our homes and the lessons we teach to our children. One thing that has disturbed me about America is the over usage of the words, average, regular, average Joe. What is so great about being like everyone else? Jesus calls us to be a strange and peculiar people. We better start answering that call.

bwdb said...

And people wonder why our children cannot function and ill-prepared for adulthood...In my profession I am amazed at how many parents allow their kids to just "run loose"...No structure, discipline, guidance, rules...You get the drift...I just shudder to think what any of my future babies will be attending school with...We will have to start a private/Christian school fund..

Disclaimer: Do not derail the convo by pointing out that private/Christian schooling is not perfect, doesn't solve the problem...yadda, yadda, yadda!...I am here for forward-moving dialogue and possible solutions...Thanx in advance
: )

Felicia said...

Great flashback Faith!

I loved the Cosby show back in the day. It was nice seeing a black family I could relate to.

Yes, you didn't have so blatant back then. You didn't have to spell everything out.

Certain things were simply understood.

Those were the days...

K.C. Jones said...

I loved this episode, especially with Rudy's part! My father once said that watching The Cosby Show was a little hard for him, because Cliff Huxtable set the bar so high-he was such the perfect father and he felt like a failure comparatively, which is so sad, because my father's great. But then, my dad has incredibly high standards for himself and everybody else.


One of my favorite quotes of all time is this: “There are some who exaggerate the importance of taste, who make it a shrine at which they worship. Good taste, like education, simply opens new opportunities for the enjoyment of life.” Stanley Marcus, Quest for the Best (1979).

Mr. Marcus of Neiman Marcus knew about standards, & it wasn't about fashion. He made it a way of life. Neiman Marcus could sell you someting for $2,000 that the guy down the street couldn't sell you for $20 because Mr. Marcus developed standards for himself and his business.

In life, if you do not have standards you can be trusted. Frankly, when you don't have standards you can't trust yourself. We don't have to base our standards on the "norm" or what people think they should be, but our standards must have some viability, structure and functionability that will enable us to navigate through life and excel in our daily life.

We simply need to GO FOR MORE! Why speak one language when you can speak four? Why learn one skill if you can be excellent in three? Why limit yourself when God puts no limit on you, but death? Live in excellence until that time comes; God expects nothiing less from us.

Citizen Ojo said...

Good Points!!! I read your Blog often and you really push accountability. Although everything I don’t necessarily agree with. You are consistent in your beliefs. That I can respect. Keep up the good works.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Christian H: I asked you to tone down the language before you submit. I'm not going to edit your reply so you may resubmit. Also no woman is responsible for teaching males how to behave. That's the role of a man. Which was highlighted rather prominently with the Cosby clip. The fact that so many black women are Raising Him Alone is a huge problem and needs to cease immediately.

Researchbuff: Welcome and thank you for your kind words! Yes lots of excuses do get made and it only hurts the ones making them.

CW: Children having children and women raising them alone is why so many are ill-equipped at dealing with life. I don't think anyone here would get sidetracked by discussing schools. I actually attended Catholic school with a few stints at public and the difference was like night and day. Having to shell out extra money adds a layer of involvement that those who use school as a babysitter, etc miss out on. I wasn't going to let that happen anyway....

Felicia: Well I'm glad we still have these shows to watch every day! I find I get so much more out of them 20+years later and am very grateful.

K.C.: Yes standards ARE the missing link today for everything.

Bluebutterfly: You've got me fired up now!

Citizen Ojo: Thanks so much. Consistency is a GREAT thing so I am very flattered you would mentioned that.

bwdb said...

Thanks Faith:

Actually when in the 4th grade I BEGGED to goto Catholic school...However my DBR father did not do right and mom could not afford it...Therefore I was temporarily stuck in a school with a bunch of "Shenequa's" kids....

*This is a good group...I finds it helpful to counter the 'dissenters' up front by exposing the typical derailment techniques...

And Faith, would you write me please? I need to share some info with you...


Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

CW: I can relate.

Anonymous said...

LOL-- I was just thinking about this the other day; why black folks didn't think that the Cosby's were a real representation of a black family, but not now that the Obama's are in office, they're the ideal???

P.S. I haven't read through the entire post and comments, so I may post something later!