Saturday, December 6, 2008

Snoop Dogg and Fatherhood


I was flipping through the channels the other night, unable to sleep. I happened upon Snoop Dogg’s reality show, “Father Hood.”

I’m not a big Snoop Dogg fan, although I do believe his collaboration with Dr. Dre, “The Chronic”, is a rap classic and I can appreciate his smooth style and talent. What I don’t appreciate is his weed-smoking, pimp-promoting ways. What doesn’t agree with me is his portrayal of women.

But on the show the other night, I saw something that I did agree with Snoop Dogg on (a.k.a. Calvin Broadus) and I saw something that I admire. I saw a concerned father who wanted the best for his son.

Apparently, his son, known as “Spank” is a pretty good football player. But his son, who had the opportunity to go to prestigious football camp, was goofing off. The coach of the camp brought in Spank and talked to him about working hard and squandering opportunity. The coach warned him that he would be kicked out if he didn’t straighten up and told him raw talent wasn’t enough. Lots of people can throw the ball, but if he was going to stand out and succeed, he had to hit the books. He had to study the plays. He had to come to practice prepared. He also told him that he couldn’t ride on his father’s name.

His father hammered home the message.

“I made it by luck,” he told his son. “I want you to really make it.”

He told him that he wanted him to be the first in their family to graduate from college. He wanted him to be an example to his younger sister and brother. He told him about meeting the famous quarterback Joe Montana and Montana telling him how proud he was of his son attending the same university that he had graduated from years ago.

“I want to be able to say my son is going to a university,” Snoop said to his son, while having dinner with his wife, the boy’s mother.

His wife responded, “I’ll be happy if he goes to high school.”

What?

I want to yell at the t.v., “Are you crazy?”

Your husband’s talking about excellence and education and you’re talking about just getting by. He’s talking about university and you’re saying if he just makes it through high school, you’ll happy.

I’m sure Mrs. Snoop Dogg meant no harm and that she really loves her son. But too often, too many mothers cripple and coddle our sons. They have low expectations and make excuses because their son is their “Juice”—their main squeeze. Maybe he’s the man they never had or wish they had, but they are raising boys who will grow up to be men who are no good for any woman or themselves.

We raise boys who become men who are irresponsible and lazy. They think that the world owes them. They terrorize and traumatize their families instead of protecting and providing.

Are you smothering instead of mothering? Are you coddling instead of correcting? Are you expecting excellence or making excuses?

We all need mothering. There is nothing like a mother’s love. If no else loves you, you ought to be able to find comfort, understanding, unconditional love and support in your mother’s arms. But unconditional love does not mean anything goes. In the words of Dr. James Dobson, sometimes love must be tough. If you really love someone you will not let them do whatever they want to do to their own detriment. The Bible says that the Lord chastises or disciplines those who he loves.

As the mother of little boy who will grow up to be a black man, I feel that I do my son an even greater disservice when I don’t have high expectations for him because the world will be even tougher for him. It’s hard sometimes, when I see the tears swell up in his little eyes. But I know that sometimes as a mother, when his father is disciplining him or trying to teach him, I need to step back.

I’ve seen the devastating effects of mothers who didn’t. I’ve seen the damage of mothers who fought the father-- I’m talking about good fathers-- on every issue. Not so much because of the issue but just to be contrary with the father because their relationship didn’t work out. I’ve seen the damage of making excuses and the shattered lives left behind as a result. I see one as I continue to flip the channels.

The mug shot of a young man appears on my television. The young man is accused of killing Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew. His mother says, “My son didn’t do that.” Maybe not. But I can’t help but wonder if she was one of those mothers who made excuses and had low expectations.

What if the Mother Eagle, when it was time for the baby eagles to leave the nest and fly on their own said to the Daddy Eagle, “ Why he gotta fly, just cause you fly? Maybe he don’t want to fly. Maybe he want to walk. My uncle June Bug never flew and he was alright. He just hung out with the chickens.”

What if she said, “He ain’t ready to fly. Let’s just let him stay in the nest until he gets ready.”

Eagles fly. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Fly high. That conversation would be rather ridiculous.

Our children are also supposed to fly high. Let’s not clip our sons and daughters wings with negativity and low expectations.

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