It takes an Extraordinary Father to raise up an Extraordinary Mother

There have been many a song written about our mother’s. Our sweet mothers. Called by many names; Mommy, Mama, Ma, Sweet Sadie, the terms of endearment are e dless. Our love for our mothers is so deep; so intrinsic to our very being that this world feels wrong side out when we lose our mothers, after all Mama is the queen of our heart, her love feels like tears from the stars. Mama’s love is food to our soul. We honor them with our words and deeds, especially giving them the first credit for our success and accomplishments.
Every published author has dedicated a book to her. Watch any awards show and you could make a 50 minute mashable of all the mother shout outs.
Mothers are placed on pedestals, sprinkled with love and covered with loyalty. The caring and nurturing spirit feeds us. We seek her sage advice, always looking up for her approval, striving to make her proud. And so on Mother’s Day, as we do on her birthday and just about any day and find ourselves feeling carefree with some extra pennies in our wallet, we aim to please with tokens of our love. That’s our mama’s. And we’d do anything for her.But what about other people’s Mama…like your daughters’? Are you honoring her? It amazes me how many men turn over the earth for their own mothers, but on Mother’s Day begrudge the other mothers in their lives. They love, honor and respect their own, but then give the critical, judgmental side eye to the mother of their children.

Little girls today grow up to be the mothers of tomorrow. The kind of mother they will be highly depends on their fathers today. Having a strong father is a guiding force in supporting our girls natural maternal instincts. And when I say strong fathers, I don’t mean the man who just happens to live in her home. It takes much more.

A strong father brings his A-game to the fatherhood court. He is a team player and practices fundamentals so he can get better. He honors the game and demonstrates good sportsmanship. He recognizes that by giving it his all, he will become MVP in his daughter’s life. And he’ll know he has the championship ring when his game provides his Babygirl with:

  • Confidence to show up and reach for dreams
  • Discernment to recognize good men and make affirming choices
  • Healthy self esteem to be okay with herself
  • Respect for herself and others
  • Love to recognize and honor its power


Did you know that teenage pregnancy, promiscuity, domestic violence are just a few of the areas fathers can guide their daughters away from? Check out more stats and ways you can influence positive outcomes for our mothers of tomorrow.

You are not winning if you see yourself in any of the following scenarios:

M.I.A Daddy
Some of the young ladies I work with express such yearning for their fathers. A few see their fathers sporadically throughout their lives, many others can’t remember the last time they have seen or spoken to the man who contributed to their existence. It is heartbreaking to witness, crushing to live it. It is crazy how this manifests itself in motherhood. That mother who over compensates for her children’s missing dad, she probably had an M.I.A daddy. The mother who makes excuses and believes any daddy is better than no daddy for her children… Yep, she was most likely the daughter of an MI.I.A daddy.

Present Dad
On the flip side of the M.I.A daddy, we all are familiar with the daddy who pays all the bills but spends little time. He’s the dad that spends more time at work than in his home. Our daughters need fathers who are present and intentionally engaged. Otherwise she grows up to be the mama who expects nothing from a man (the father of her children) but a check. She won’t expect, nor welcome, input on how she raises her children, not even from their father.

Daddy’s Little Girl
There is nothing in the world a Daddy’s girl fears that she does not believe her father cannot fix, no dragon (bullies/abusive boyfriend/mean boss/slum landlord) he will not slay to protect her. When little girls grow up knowing they are loved and protected, it gives them permission to go out into the world standing tall with confidence and security.

Spoiled Rotten
Daddy’s little girls take special pride in how much their fathers love them. They get giddy knowing with the right pout of the mouth and tug of the arm will make her daddy do anything to please her. His love and affection for his princess is expressed with material gifts. A strong father recognizes balance is a must or else he is raising the girl who he calls a “gold digger” who also learns to use motherhood as a ploy to get more tokens of affection. She’s the mother many are today begrudging Mother’s Day, that selfish mother who takes child support and purchases designer bags.

Spare the Rod
In our society, fathers have gotten the reputation as disciplinarians. Justified or not, strong fathered understand the difference between discipline and abuse. Strong fathers know often times, the best discipline comes from example and a good conversation. Still if you are the dad who takes the belt off his pants, the situation had better be assessed and resolved with love leading. Your daughters future could hold an abusive man whom she allows to harm her and her children.

Do Right Man
There are little girls who stay on the lookout for their Daddy. But Daddy is slow to show up. When he come around he’s got the I can’t get you those new shoes/glasses blues and a package full f excuses. Seems like he disappears into the room with mama and spends 15 minutes being daddy. This little girl will more than likely grow up to be that bag lady type of mama, bitter and distrustful. She will tell her children not to depend nor trust any man…you know what I’m talking about. Do right by being a dependable and respectable father who gives his best self to his daughter.

Rolling Stone
This one needs no explaining, after all The Temptations made it plain. We all know that father that has children in everywhere part of the city or spread all over our country town. I swear I have heard from young girls who say they met a new friend at camp on in their new school who turned out to be there sibling. For real. There’s a lot to say about this, but that’s another post for another day. Today just know this type of father maps the path for his daughter to be a “Baby Mama.”

Honor thy mother(s)
This is last but belongs at the top. Of course little girls want to see their Nana’s and Grannies honored and respected, but they too are watching how their fathers treat their mothers. This dynamic informs them how they should expect the father of their children to treat and interact with them. If nothing else is key, it is in the example. No child wants to hear you berate her mother, your little girl does not deserve to be a pawn in grown folks’ business. This is a team sport and you and her mother are the franchise owners, coach and teammates. Sometimes you will also need to be the bigger person and referee, yet with love.

How are you  loving your daughter right today so you can honor her on Mother’s Day in the future?

Ladies, how do you think your father shaped your motherhood?

Girls Like Me…so official!

There are no words to capture the emotions that have swept me up this morning. I do know I’m feeling supremely elated and humble all at the same time. I have wept tears of pure joy, fell to my knees in prayer and rejoicing. Shouted out Glory in my empty house. It was almost like I’d had an outer body experience when I saw myself doing this celebratory fast jog in place…I’m so excited! Why? You ask…well on this day, April 26, 2012, something that I have devoted my life to for the past 3 years has elevated to the next level…The Girls Like Me Project is fully incorporated as a not-for-profit in the State of Illinois!

This moment reminds me of only a few other major life events like giving birth to my children. But then too it is akin to my wedding/marriage. Although I have been dedicated to empowering Girls Like Me through workshops, book clubs and advocacy work for a few years, today is the day when that work gets the solid, legal standing, a position for expansion and influence. Just like my wedding day, I had dated my college sweetheart since I was 18, committed to our love but our wedding day was a day of joy as we continued building the foundation for an institution. This feels the same.

Still there is this critical voice of mine who always whispers to me, that girls like me are small time, not major league. Even as I type, a voice of criticism is sneaking in saying “people establish 501c3’s everyday, what’s the big deal.”

Well, the big deal is that this was the vision I set for myself to actually accomplish in 2012. It was one of the first things to go on my vision board. Today is yet another indication that what we believe for ourselves truly manifests, that if you speak your desires the universe will guide you to it.

Then there is this divine order that answers you and sends you every single person/circumstance you need to BE the Higher Power you claim to believe in…the universe gives you the chance to live in that power.

Why am I so ecstatic? Well because again, this is only one of the visions I have for Girls Like Me, ahem I mean the Girls Like Me Project ( I have to get used to saying that, after all, that is the official name). If this is any indication of how dreams come true, the rest of my visions are mind blowing—world changing. Now I’m in position to play the game.

This shifts things majorly. For instance a grant I was chosen for had to be diverted to a fiscal agent simply because I was not incorporated. Resources can now go directly to benefit programs that serve hundreds and eventually thousands of Girls Like Me around the globe.

And when I think of how far I’ve come, the little, skinny feisty Black girl who has been speaking up and out against injustice since I could talk, often times misdirected until my early twenties, can now empower my daughter to begin advocating for herself at a much younger age than I, with proper training and organizing. She will influence  her generation.  I can give my baby girl a legacy, start her out as the inaugural President of the Junior Board of Directors for GLMP, trained and set to lead an institution.

The things God has prepared are beyond this world’s understanding. So I silence my critical voice and embrace this major milestone and say YES to the universe. Thank You Most High for divine order, grace and mercy.

Oh and what would accomplishments be for a Girl Like Me without the famous shout out moment? Shouting out my husband, my other half who lets me go out in the world to be fearless only cause I know he’s got my back. I don’t have to spend my days doing anything I don’t feel serves my purpose because he provides my safety net. My Granny, who lived 86 long years, for making sure I understood the power of God. And my momma who loved me ferociously, acknowledged my voice and fed my spirit of independence. And my Daddy who was my first safety net, believing in my dreams and paying the price for them. lol

So many more people to name, but I’m too full to think clearly.

Thank YOU for reading this blog, commenting, retweeting, and liking. I hope we stay connected through this journey!

Stay tuned for more information on how you can support the Girls Like Me Project, Inc.

For now just keep me in your prayers…and bring the Girls Like Me Project to your school or youth organization.

Moving forward to serve, heal, transform Girls Like Me all over the world.

I’m not a Nicki Minaj fan on any level, but this song sums it up:

Love Taps: A Game that never was

Photo credits: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot

Do you remember those old ladies from long ago? You know the ones who butted into your business and corrected you even though they didn’t know you or your parents? They sternly, but lovingly, gave you their unsolicited two cents about your words or behavior, daring you to go and tell your mother? Those nagging old ladies who you wished would just mind their own business and let you act a fool out in the streets away from your parents’ watchful eye…remember them?

I have to admit…I have turned into that nosey, nagging, old lady.

Maybe it’s because I spend an exorbitant amount of time surrounded by young people. Could be because I’m a mother myself, and so my antennas (in my Katt Williams voice) are sensitive to certain mannerisms and behaviors that somehow are adopted by children as proper behavior.

But when you spend so much time with children, you watch…and listen. You’ll see them mirroring behavior that if allowed to become habit will lead them to less than desirable lives. Not on my watch. I refuse to let a child slip through the cracks and BELIEVE it’s okay to be wayward and wild.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Ms. Crabtree-nitpicking at every little thing kids are doing. For instance, my 8th grade son was in front of his school talking to his buddy whose back was to me. My son saw me walking up, and a sly smile slid across his face. I wondered what nerdy conversation they were having (I proudly believe my son and his friends are nerds. Cool nerds, but nerds nonetheless. That is a wonderful thought to me, but I digress). Lo and behold when I get within earshot I hear the most explicit language coming from this boy’s mouth. I mean he used the worst racial slur, he had a couple of four-letter words in there and some multi-syllable ones for good measure. My son at this point is cracking up when his friend turns to see me and is totally shocked. I just give him a look as he throws his arms around me and tries to play it off. Awkward moment for sure.

In this instant, I don’t nag or lecture. Cursing, while definitely not actions of prideful gentlemen, it is also not a gateway to the penitentiary. Heck, when I was their age I could curse better than any tavern-goer. I was a pro. So that offense called for a mere reminder to choose words that you would be proud for your mother, friends’ mother, or any adult to hear because you never know who is near. Besides, I told him, use words that tell people how smart you are, that language is for small minds.

See, I’m not a meanie.

But there are some things I absolutely have zero tolerance for. Because let’s face it, some of our babies demonstrate behavior (the PC term is “at-risk” behaviors) that you can scope out their future in just six short years. Baby momma; juvenile ex-offender; recipient of a restraining order… you get the picture.

One thing I absolutely do not tolerate is physical “play” between boys and girls.

For some reason, hitting, pushing, pulling, slapping, and choking are passing as “play” among the children. When I see it, I can’t help myself, I pounce into action to redirect and point out how detrimental that type of “play” can be. I know where it can lead to: someone gets hit and then gets serious. The playing is no longer funny because hits become “real.” Also what I know is that most domestic violence cases start from situations like this.

Yet here is the real jaw-dropper. More times than not, the incidents like this that I’ve witnessed have been girls hitting boys. Almost all the time. This incenses me. For one thing, where are they learning to use their hands to communicate with the opposite sex? I rarely see girls hitting each other or slapping their girl friends, they save that only for “playing” with boys.

In fact, what prompted this post was a recent scene at my children’s school. An 8th grade girl (13-14 years old) turned toward the young man she was walking beside and landed a real quick slap to his face. I wasn’t sure if her hit landed or if my eyes were deceiving me, but sure enough she did it again, and again. The boy’s reaction was disturbingly reserved. My mind was racing with all the things wrong with the picture. Why is this child hitting this boy like she is manic? Why is he allowing her to hit him in his face? How is this acceptable behavior less than 50 feet from your school in broad daylight with teachers, parents and classmates around? And more importantly, what will happen to both of them if he decides to retaliate?

From the look on his face I knew my worst fear wasn’t unfounded. I jumped from my car and stepped in. The young lady (or maybe more appropriate to call her little girl) caught much attitude and tried to front me off (I’m giving away my age, I know). I didn’t go in on her, but I def let her know her behavior was NOT cool. That it was completely unacceptable. I also intend to follow up with the administration, as chair of the school’s community engagement/school climate committee, I’ll propose workshops on teen dating violence for students AND parents. Oh, baby girl should trust, it’s not over.

See my biggest issue is 1.) girls get trapped into this cycle of violence simply from a place of seeking emotional validation. Being hit (for some crazy reason) is seen as showing affection or love. It only escalates as they get older so they are involved with boys who also have the idea of affection twisted 2.) boys are taught not to hit girls, that that is a most egregious offense. Yet when they are being hit, no one steps in to advocate for them or to reprimand the girl.

My mind gave a lens into a potential future for this child who hit this boy, left on the side of a road in the dark of night with black eyes and busted lip abandoned and victim to her boyfriend who she has played hitting games with since she met him. The residual shame, physical and emotional wounds will not heal easily and could follow her into every relationship she ever has. It will reach her children, and the cycle continues.

I also see the future of the boys who play these games. That rush of adrenaline and aggressive testosterone will over take him while his buddies tease him about being hit by a girl or a girl fronting on him, the need to “check” his playmate/girlfriend, until his actions have him spiraling out of control in a rage that leaves his play mate in serious condition and him locked away in a jail cell.

This is real.

This is why I do not tolerate anybody, male or female, putting their hands on others. It is not the way to play.

Hitting games…homegirl don’t play that!

Am I being too extreme? What are your non-compromise zones for youth/teens?

Did you know:

  • Across CDC studies, 15-40% of youth report PERPETRATING some form of violence towards a boyfriend/ girlfriend
  • Perpetrating dating violence in adolescence increases the risk of perpetrating violence toward a partner in adulthood

Are you around teens? Recognize the signs…

Click here for research and stats

Check out more teen dating facts from CDC

Raise awareness- February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention & Awareness Month