Every year for the last couple of years I have posted visions of black love for Valentine’s Day. While this year I sure missed collecting all those photos and hearing the stories behind those photos, I wanted to take a different look at love, I wanted to explore the love languages and how they apply to your life as a parental figure. So journey with me down this lane of love!
Act of Service
It’s imperative we show our children love. Treating them with respect, helping with homework, watching Moana with them for the millionth time, these are acts of love and acts of service. I know that we as parents can get busy, we don’t have time to use the restroom, let alone sit still and watch YouTube videos or make slime, but it’s important that we make time. It’s our responsibility to organize ourselves in such a way that we can be of service to our children. We must be an example of this type of love so that they not only experience it but can give it back to us and others as well. Take the time to figure out what acts of service your child is longing to have you participate in and then create the time and space to do said acts.
I think Acts of Service and Quality Time can cross over sometimes. Kids want us to be present in their lives. Whether it’s a school play, basketball game, a stunt you just have to come outside to see, they want us to spend the time recognizing them. Again, time is sometimes limited, there’s work, house work, social lives (yes parents we can have social lives), how do you create time for quality time with your children?! I thought that this quality time had to designated, special so I had to schedule it, what I learned is that my kids appreciate anytime we spend together as long as I making the effort to acknowledge them. Putting away groceries, sorting laundry, full concert in the car no matter where we are going, these are all moments I enjoy spending time with my kids and they enjoy with me. Quality time is what you make it, it’s up to you to make the effort to share time and be present.
Words of Affirmation
“I love you!” Three simple words, yet can be so hard for people to express, even parents. Our kids need to know how we feel about them, we need to speak it into them. Pouring words of encouragement into our children help to combat what they might be hearing from the outside world. You are beautiful vs. You need to lose weight, You are loved vs. Nobody likes you, You are intelligent vs. You are stupid, we lay the foundation for opening their minds, eyes, hearts, and ears to accept words that they hear about themselves. Actions and words work together to let our kids know how we feel about them. It’s up to us as parents to make every effort to show and speak love into them on a daily basis.
Who doesn’t like to receive a gift?! Now some may say this is teaching kids to be materialistic, but it can also be an expression of love. I know for me personally I pay attention to things my kids like that will help them be creative. Symone loves to cook so I might pick up some jazzy spices for her, Jamiel loves sports so a new pair of cleats may do the trick, and Anissa LOVES designing for her baby dolls so finding some material on clearance works out. Whatever gift you decide to give your children, let it be from your heart. Children are more perceptive than we think, they can tell a guilt gift over one you put some thought into for them. So give the gift of love and pay attention to who your child is becoming and how you can encourage them to be the best version of themselves through gifting.
I have to admit this is on the lower end of my personal love language so I have to work at it. Yes this extrovert will shy away from physical contact. I have never had this issue however with my children. I love hugging them. Hugging has become the way we greet each other on a daily. One of the brightest moments of my day is when I’m making dinner and my son, who has gained some height, enters the kitchen to bend down and hug me. It means just as much to me as it does to him. Although they are not as often as they use to be Anissa’s Eskimo kisses are always welcome. Even the oldest one comes by with her arms outreached. There has always been something about a hug with me, it’s squeezing a person and allowing their weight to fall into you, almost as it for that embrace all their cares have been dropped off and they or you can be weak, I think this is why I’m careful as to who I hug. My arms are a safe place for my children, I want them to know and feel it whenever we touch. HUGS TO MY BABIES!!!
Our children need our love! Home should be the first place they experience love. No matter the parental role you play please note that determining how the child in your life best receives love is important. Make every effort possible to support their love language.
How do you show the children in your life love? Do you wish as a child you would’ve been shown love in a certain way?
To hear more about Love Is…Tune into The Parental Guidance podcast, episode 5.
In last week’s episode of Black-ish (Season 5, Episode 10) The Johnson family was faced with what many families of color are faced with, the topic of colorism. What is colorism you might asked, well it is defined as prejudice or discrimination against individuals with darker skin tone, typically among people of the same ethic or racial group (dictionary.com). Now you may wonder how can people of the same race be prejudice against each other, but trust it happens especially in African-American families where there can be a variety of shades, light, brown, honey, caramel, dark, black people come in all colors. While we are told to be proud of our brown skin we are the very same people who will tease, bully, harass each other about being too dark, too light. It’s a sad but true fact we can hate each other all because of the color of our skin, the thing that we fight against in so many other arenas we fight with each other with as well. Go on over to ABC.com and check out Black-ish which airs Tuesdays at 9pm, especially this most recent episode if you’d like to delve into the topic on colorism.
Recently in our home we had the topic of colorism come up, which makes the timing of this episode extra special. As with every night before bed I apply my facial cream to remove the residue of the day. As I was standing in the mirror Anissa asked if she could apply some. I explained to her that this was for mommy to remove her makeup and that her skin was gorgeous and she didn’t need the extra, I saw the disappointed look on her face and inquired as to why she looked sad. She explained to me that my cream was making my skin lighter and prettier and that her darker skin didn’t look like mine. GASP! Anissa is 6 years old and I never thought that one she didn’t think her skin was pretty (we always talk about how beautifully black girl magic she is) and I never thought that she thought I was trying to lighten my skin. Just to give you some background I am the lightest skinned member of the household, I just dyed my hair black and I get extremely pale in the winter, which attributes to my lighter tone. I get teased about this all the time, how can I go from tanned to light bright. It never really bothered me because I’m comfortable in my skin no matter what color it turns. But in this moment I felt uncomfortable, I would have given anything to have a tan and stand with Anissa in her honey glow. I explained to my sweet face girl that I was washing my face not getting lighter and that she was gorgeous that her tanned skin was something other people would pay for, then I showed her pictures of me in the summer (optimal tan) and then we looked at me in the mirror now. We both agree that I need a tan and then we pointed out the beautiful things we notice about each other.
In that moment I thought about other little girls and boys and the questions they might have about their skin color, about them being teased, and about them feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. How do we as a community address this issue? Why do we discriminate against each other? How can everyone begin to love the skin they’re in?
Well here are some tips (simple but it’s a start)
- As a family stop bullying, teasing, joking about skin tone. Although it may seem like it’s all fun and games we don’t know the real seed that’s being planted for someone to learn to not love themselves. As long as we allow this to go on we nurture the seed that allows some one to think one shade of skin is better than the other.
- When children have questions about skin tone and why they look different don’t brush it off, ADDRESS IT. We have got to start having conversations that teach our children to love themselves, this is a lesson that we should all want them to learn at home and not out in the world. If we start the conversations in our homes, then we at least give them the tools and preparation to handle these conversations out side of out homes.
- This is a big one for me so agree or disagree, but children should have toys in all shades, this more so falls in the category of baby dolls. Anissa has dolls of all shades and they are all beautiful to her. We as families have to set our own beauty standards and teach our children to do the same.
The tips I gave are something you can do right now to help your children learn to appreciate who they are. Whether you are black, white, yellow, brown, or purple, you are beautiful. Embrace that beauty, appreciate the beauty, then get to the business of letting the world see you walk in that beauty.
How will you handle the topic of colorism if it comes up in your home? Don’t wait start the conversation today.
To hear more about this topic tune into Episode 3 of The Parental Guidance Counselor Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe.
Hey Hotties! Last Saturday Anissa and I took a little Christmas journey to Candy Land at the Penitentiary Glen Reservation. Growing up Candy Land was one of my favorite games. The colors and different characters allow you to transform into a world of gumdrops, lollipops, and dreams. I don’t know who was more excited to go on this adventure myself or Anissa. After about a 30 minute drive where my partner in crime fell asleep we arrive to the magic…
We were greeted by forest rangers who gave us our magical game box. Inside the box were cards just like the game with each flip of a card we were told which space to go to next. We enter the gates of Candy Land and there we find Christmas replication of one of my favorite childhood board games. Anissa is ready to play, I on the other hand want to take in the life-size model of the game. Instead I play, we flip a card and find our square, we continue to flip and find our next move until we reach the end of the game. But guess what, that wasn’t the end for us because we played 6 more times. It was great seeing my little lady enjoy the game as much as I did as a kid. Once we tired of hopping squares we turned in our magic box for our next adventure.
At the ranger station we were given a clipboard and clues. Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt. We were gifted with two scavenger hunts one for outside and one for inside. As we explore the inside fo the building we begin to notice things we hadn’t before. Each clue gave us access to another room/exhibit that we were seeing with new eyes for the first time. With our explorer hats on we touched and read about the animals there and the history of the center. We had an amazing time and learned so much. We started to head outside and then found a craft center. We Hotties love crafts so we enter. We were given the choice to either make a S’mores Bunny or Turtle. What?! We get our craft bag and inside we have materials we need to use to create this ornament. What a great time we had.
To go outside or not to, that is the question. As we put our coats on for the outdoor scavenger hunt it begins to rain. A little rain won’t hurt us, but as Anissa pointed out no one was looking forward to wash day (our hair) so we opted to stay in and grab a snack. We ventured into the gift shop where we found great treats, educational materials and a few furry friends. We decided ice cream treats for the day and a new snake to take home and prank Jamiel.
If you are interested in going on the Candy Land goes Wild adventure click here and take your own journey. What are you all doing to celebrate the holiday season and create new traditions?