I woke up this morning because my throat was as dry as the Sahara. I grabbed some water and went back to bed, but the damage was done, no more sleep for me! I looked at the clock on the cable box and saw that it was 6:20am. DAMN!! What I wouldn’t do for 40 more minutes of sleep. I watched a little bit of the Austatralian Open Tennis tournament ( I like watching tennis), hoping that I would doze off, but it didn’t happen. So I got out of bed. I might as well take advantage of being up early. I have to get ready to go to Atlanta today to shoot the TV One show. I have to get up and write, go for a run and I haven’t even packed yet.
As I lay in bed, thinking about my trip, I thought about my parents. I thought about the fact they are getting older and will not be here forever. They were probably still sleping at that time. I wondered whether they were proud of me. I want them to be proud of me. I think that no matter how rebelious children are, deep down, they still want their parents to be proud of them. Do my parents close their eyes at night and smile, just before sleep carries them away, thinking that my choices in life make them proud? Do they yearn to wake up in the morning just to hear of my accomplishments? I wonder.
Then my thoughts go back to when I was a child, growing up in Enugu, Nigeria. My mom and dad were very tough. My parents are extremely old school. They believed in ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’. I have to put it put it out there that this does not mean that I was spanked with a rod. It’s just an expression. My parents were all about hard work and discpline. And discipline us they did. Spankings were a norm when I was growing up. Physical punishment was not viewed as child abuse when I was growing up. I think that most children could use a spanking or two, but you didn’t hear that from me. It can in some cases, be a bit excessive though. Kids back then never felt that their spanking was isolated because we would all come to school and compare spanking stories. Teachers at school were actually allowed to spank kids on the school compound. I always wondered whether mine was excessive. The battle rages on as to whether I will spank my kids. The jury is still out. Discipline, definitely….spankings, probably, maybe, not sure. See, I still can’t decide.
Even though I believe that most of the disciplinary actions directed towards me was to make me grow up to become a better person, I often wondered as to whether it was done to break my spirit or to make me behave better. Parents often discipline their children out of fear; fear that they would become strippers, become criminals or worse. Most of the time, they worry about what their friends would say about their children’s behaviour or chioces. Many times they worry about what other family members would think or say about their children. In many parents’ minds, their children are their property and must do as they are told. How dare you embarass me?!?! Back then if you weren’t studying to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or architect, you were embarassment and a lost soul. You can only imagine how my decision to become a model went over.
They forget to trust in the fact that leading by example is the best way to raise children. They should trust in the fact that they are not raising a bunch of fools. Parents forget that no matter how much you spank a child, they will still turn out the way they were destined to turn out. I’ve seen many boys and girls raised by extremely strict parents grow up to become their parents’ worst nightmare. Children should be disciplined, but not out of fear. Many of the girls that gracefully slide up and down that golden pole were raised by pastors and so were some of the guys holding up liquor stores.
In closing, I will say that who I am today is a combination of my upbringing and fate. My work ethic and my drive are a product of the environment that I was raised in. I’m not saying that the old school way of thinking is completely wrong, I just think that some adjustment and individuality would not have hurt. I’m not mad at my parents or parents in general. I want them to be proud of me. I also know that at the end of the, THEY DID THE BEST THEY COULD.
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