This being the week before Valentine’s Day, where we profess our love to everyone we hold dear. I thought it only fitting to discuss the place where I first learned love. That place is the family. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary roughly defines it as a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. Well in the modern Family that description is hardly seen. I would better describe a family as a group or groups of individuals with common goals. This description is not to be confused with the concept of teams, which can be described as a group coming together for a task.

The Ravens won the Super Bowl this week because they all rallied around a common task, winning the game. However it is my belief that they made it to the Super Bowl because they believed in my concept of Family. Some things can only be achieved where there is a greater investment beyond a task and more importantly beyond a timeframe. That team will forever be locked into that day and can never be separated. During my years in the US Army, I made bonds with men and women that will always be there because we struggled together. The togetherness of a struggle bonds at a molecular level, so much so that the greater the pangs of the struggle the tighter the bond. The more issues that a Family member has, the more they are willing to forgive. For instance, I can talk about him, because he’s my brother but I better not catch you talking about his foolish ways. I can even hit him but, we’ll fight all night if you put your hands on him. GOD gives every man free will to do as he pleases. However you can’t choose your Family and they can’t choose you. It is a place where GOD through the course of time, makes you stay until the lesson is learned. It is a place where, no matter what you do or how high you go, they remember a time when you peed in the bed because you hadn’t learned the lesson of GET UP this is not a dream!

The concept of Family started in my mother’s house and became a more potent reality when we moved to the Government housing projects of Marietta, GA (Lemon Street). During our tenure on “Lemon Street” we did not have much of anything to mention but, my Mother would feed a piece of her most excellent chicken to whom ever came to the door around feeding time. Many can say that they came in and dined with us. There sitting crowded at the table with who ever showed up that day, I learned to share, I learned to forgive, and I learned to love for a lifetime. I will be forever locked to my cousin Kim who shared plenty of meals with us. So much so that she had a permanent seat at the table and in my heart.

Family is about love and at its core, the elephant in the room, has always been success. Every lesson taught had a component of success and the measurement of success was clearly defined. In fact sometimes the very meal hitting the table meant somehow my mother had succeeded. GOD only knows how she fed, clothed and housed us without food stamps or child support. I was nine years of age when my father decided to take a lifelong break in raising children. Someone told me that I was the man of the Family but they forgot to tell me what that meant and neglected to leave instructions with that label. After one of our long talks about me being bossy towards my brothers and sister, my mother provided another lesson that stuck with me and has served me well. She advised me that I didn’t have to be hard or harsh. Her sticking point was that “because you are in the jungle, don’t make you no Tiger and if you go to the zoo, when you leave the animals stay there.” I didn’t figure that one out until I was much older, but to this day my surroundings do not determine how I treat others and its okay to be different. Where can you learn that outside of Family?

This place of fluency is not only found with persons sharing the same blood or last name, more importantly this place determined by GOD, can be found amongst the struggle. Family is about edifying, supporting and reminding one to be humble. I leave you with this notion, if you don’t have Family in your family then go and be the Family in your family. The family here at welcome your comments and suggestions.

Posted in Family

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