By Yvonne Sam
Social and Political Commentator
Each and every one of us can sit back and relate, “I remember when” stories. However, what are we doing to bring the “when” of yesterday into our families of today? Are we too busy? Is the concept of family outdated or unimportant? Or are we taking for granted that loved ones will always be there.
For a nano-second let us not forget that family is not defined only by last name, or by blood, but also by love. Blood makes you related; loyalty makes you family.
Beginning from slavery to racism and to us doing each other worse than the mainstream culture ever has, sadly our families have been destroyed. Statistics show that there is an increase in Black, single parent households and all that cannot be attributed to slavery.
Our Black young ladies fail to know their worth and, as such, a degree of promiscuity abounds, where they fall for smooth talking Romeos, all after one known thing. On the other hand, the immaturity of the black males, coupled with their player mindset, runs rampant; so little boys, pretending to be men and shirking responsibility, pervade our communities.
Family is about each and every one doing their part, and everyone being willing to take up the slack, when someone falls behind. Family is about being good examples, role models for our children and taking care of our elderly, who took care of us.
Better put, family is about growth together, tackling problems together and success over those problems — together. Family is about sharing, not about getting yours. It is about quality time, not I am too busy.
Family is about everybody doing their part and everybody being willing to take up the slack, when someone falls behind. Family is about selflessness and sacrifice, even when you are tired, even when you don’t feel well.
When last did everyone in the family turn off the television, the cell (hell) phones, I-pod,
I-pad, tablets and computers to share a meal or even quality time together?
Family is about togetherness. If you have a dollar then your family has a dollar. If you rise, your household rises. And if you fall, the family suffers, so no family member should let another family member fall, if you can help them instead.
It is at this juncture that I plead for careful reading and thoughtful consideration of the written word. In addition to all that has been previously said herein, let this further stand for the record that, while family is about acceptance of the person, not any and every behavior, and not acceptance of foolishness, lack of morality, evil or confusion.
Family is about taking a stand together and not letting anyone or anything divide you. Family is about believing in your family members, encouraging them, building them up and helping them win. Family is about laying great expectations, wanting more for your children and helping them get there.
You cannot know people with whom you never spend time and, if you cannot know your family then you cannot come to know yourself, your history, your legacy or your potential.
Strong families build identity and stability for all of their members. Strong families make strong communities. Strong families make strong congregations. Strong families make strong small businesses.
Every other ethnic group appears to know these are the facts, and it is time that Blacks not only know but also remember, while there is still time. I do not want to be the bearer of bad news or the doom and gloom fairy, but if, as a community, we refuse to know, remember or participate, we can expect more divorces, more domestic violence, more children born out of wedlock, more single parent homes, more disparity, more unnecessary financial struggles and more confusion, where none of us win.
Granted we are not our grandparents, but enough of them should exude out of us to bring our families together, strengthen and unify them. The family is the core launching pad for everything, and a strong, unified, spiritual and focused family cannot be stopped.
How is your family? Be a part of the solution and let them learn from you.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.