Exploring the importance of spending quality time with the ones you love!
Hey folks! I hope everyone is doing well on this beautiful Saturday evening. So, I was watching this video on Facebook, and I was reminded of how important time is!
Here’s tonight’s tip!
Take a Break! That’s right. Unplug, turn off the phone/laptop/tablet, and give your family undivided attention.
Invest time into building intimacy with your family! Another word for “intimacy” is “closeness.” This is where you truly get to know the people you live with. Communicate. Ask questions. What makes them happy? Do you know what makes them sad? What are their interests?
Memorable moments. As a country guy from Louisiana, I became extremely familiar with losing power whenever there was a little rain. One of my fondest memories is sitting around a lantern while singing/harmonizing with my family! My parents created such beautiful moments and memories during those times. I encourage you to strive to create and capture (if you can) your own memorable experiences. Your family will appreciate it later!
Enjoy the moment! This is for the super-duper organized planners… Or those that are super-duper busy… Or whatever your “super-duper” is that distracts you. Be an active participant in creating the moment and enjoy every bit of it! Eliminate the distractions.
Alright, that’s enough for this evening. Time for me to get back to the crew. I hope you enjoyed this evening’s Quick Tip about TIME! Check out https://parent-child-connect.com/blog for more great Quick Parent Tips!
Dillon Stokes is the “the rose that grew through the crack!” Raised by a single mother, Dillon has done his best apply himself and overcome any obstacle that comes his way. As a result, Dillon has maintained above a 4.0 Grade Point Average, and he was accepted into several universities, including LATech and Grambling State.
Dillon attributes his success to his faith in God, and his active participation in several departments at Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church Ruston is how he shows his gratitude.
Ashton Jackson knows how to overcome adversity through persistence and resiliency! Active in clubs at Lincoln Preparatory School and his local church, Ashton has learned to apply the resiliency he has built throughout his life to excel at school. A gentleman and a scholar, Ashton knows how to get the job done!
What is the Wisdom, Strength, and Endurance Scholarship?? 🤔
The Ogunyemi Family Foundation, Inc. established the Wisdom, Strength, and Endurance Scholarship to provide underrepresented minority students the opportunity to pursue higher education by alleviating and/or eliminating the financial barriers to the student’s success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69.7% of 2016 high school graduates had enrolled in college by October 2016. The college enrollment rates of African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos during 2016 was 58.2% and 72% respectively. Lower income students can only afford to attend roughly 3% of colleges in the U.S. without a loan.
The scholarship seeks to award students who have triumphed in the face of adversity, not allowing circumstances to separate them from achieving their dreams! 💡
Mental health is a tough topic of discussion in most homes and oftentimes met with negative comments. Those who deal with mental health are often shunned and ostracized. I thought “finance” was a sensitive topic, but discussing mental health is like walking on thin ice. It is often seen as an untouchable, unspoken topic. My mental health journey started at an early age, and I have personally learned from my own journey. I felt as though I would be viewed as crazy or looney, require a lifetime medication prescription, and/or be locked in an asylum for the rest of my life. I was always afraid to face my mental health head on and be open with my parents about how I was feeling. Growing up in the church, we were always taught that negative thoughts were the devil and we should just attempt to pray them away and hope for the best. As I got older, I often felt my mind drift to darker places than the last time. I finally learned that prayer alone just wasn’t going to cut it.
What I’ve learned.
What I have learned along this journey is to be open and honest with my family and –most importantly– my children. With our world crumbling right before their eyes, who knows what could be going through those little minds? I dealt with my mental health in adolescence alone because I was too afraid to open up to my parents and older siblings, thinking they would think something was “wrong with me.”
I do not want that for my children. When they deal with their mental health, I want them to understand that IT’S OK and PERFECTLY NORMAL. I want them to understand that their biggest hero and cheerleader, Daddy, has and continues to go through those feelings while on his own mental health journey. Those little boys will know that I am here to guide them through their journey and make sure that they are able to grow along the way.
I have learned to replace words like “struggling” and “coping” with words like “learning, growing, and progressing” when discussing my mental health journey. We all have our own journey, but it is imperative that we teach our children to navigate through this tough topic. How do we teach them? Let’s walk through this guide together!
Day Two: Time to break the mold!
“Shut up crybaby!” “Suck it up!” “Stop acting like a girl!” “You must be a wimp!” “Stop crying… real men don’t cry or show emotion!” “Toughen up!” “If you want sympathy, look in the dictionary between…” You know the rest. These sound familiar? In an attempt to teach our young people how to overcome adversity, these are some of the things we say. We should be developing what I like to call the three pillars of fortitude: physical toughness, spiritual toughness, and mental toughness; however, by constantly barraging our children with anything like the aforementioned clichés, we are inadvertently teaching our children to suppress pain/feelings while emotionally disconnecting from themselves and others.
Society’s perception of masculinity and toughness has built crumbling mental toughness pillars.
🎥Watch this🎬: The Mask You Live In is a film worth watching that, “follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity… [This film] ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.” –therepresentationproject.org
Did you catch the Major Payne quote above?? That is definitely one of my favorite movies! For those that have not seen it (spoilers loading…), Major Payne is a comedy film from the ninety’s that stars Daymon Wayans acting as Major Benson Winifred Payne–a nail eating, combat tested, United States Marine (Oorah!) that was honorably discharged after being passed [twice] for promotion. He later finds a job as a JROTC instructor and faces the tall task of turning a “…gaggle of maggots into a well-disciplined cadet unit” (his words, not mine). Fast forward to the end, the newly-cohesive unit wins the Virginia Military Games!
Now before you go purchase hand grenades to “train” your children, please understand that I am not endorsing Major Payne’s [hilarious] leadership model. He had A LOT to learn about raising/mentoring young people. The good news is after reading “The ABC’s Of Being A Positive Male Role Model,” Major Payne began to comprehend the importance of teaching young people to reconnect with their emotions. He understood that he had to “be sensitive to [their] needs” to reach their hearts.
Tomorrow, we will discuss how we can make the same tweaks in our leadership abilities as the infamous Major Payne! Stay tuned.
Day Three: The Major Payne Leadership Model
Boot camp 101: “Fall in” is a command that means, “take your place in a military formation.” In the Marine Corps, we “fall in” at the position of “attention.” Meaning you are attentive and ready to hear what’s next.
Since I have not located the book that triggered Major Payne’s transition from trained killer to effective mentor, I created the below ABCs Of Being a Positive Father and Role Model! Don’t worry… I’ll stop at “D.”
Always seek to inspire: this tip is a science and an art.
The science (the what) is to be firm, be fair, teach your children how to be responsible, set the example with your own actions, and hold your children accountable.
The art (the how) is to encourage, use positive reinforcement when they do well, and fill their minds with positive thoughts when they make a mistake or disappoint you. Lather your children in positive affirmations!
Note: the definition of “patient” is, “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” That will definitely take some practice, but you can do it!
This is a tough one, because, like Mrs. Trunchbull from the movie Matilda said, “They’re all mistakes, children. Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.” Right? WRONG! Ok so let’s start there; have a little grace. Although we were all angels growing up, children are going to be children–they are just young human beings. They will make mistakes. They will sometimes disappoint you. They will sometimes get it wrong again, and again, and again. But it is ok! Take a deep breath, and extend a little grace.
**Check this out: My youngest daughter literally jumped (fully clothed) into a kiddie pool as I was typing this section! So, I had an immediate opportunity to practice being patient. 🙃 I grabbed her hand, calmly told her, “you’re all wet; let’s go dry off,” and walked her inside. Po-si-tive *Major Payne voice **
Care and Compassion
Care is probably the simplest of the two C’s. To care is to provide the basic necessities of life (i.e. food, shelter, water, and electricity). This is where us fathers typically thrive, and sometimes, we are too quick to let everyone know (don’t brag; it’s your job 😉). Be physically present, and provide for your children.
Compassion requires you to validate and value your children’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Do not fall into the trap of saying, “it’s really not that big a deal.” Instead, allow your children to share their feelings with you, so you become empathetic enough to have a strong desire to help. Don’t try to be “Mr. Fix It,” but at least express the desire to help! For example, someone once stole a very rare unicorn from my oldest daughter in an online game that she enjoyed playing. It seemed silly at first, but I realized this really hurt her feelings. So first, I had to verbally validate her feelings and emotions. Then, I shared the moment with her until she felt better. Simple but effective!
**BONUS “C”: Celebrate!! My youngest was potty training when I wrote this. So I took a quick break to celebrate with a silly jingle and dance I made up, “Eni went poopy in the poooottty!” *Clap *Clap (repeat). Positive reinforcement goes a long way!**
Do not be afraid to cry openly!
I heard my wife tell my son, “don’t be afraid to cry if something really hurts.” My initial cringe at that statement shows that I am NOT perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Now, I am not saying lie on the floor and project a deep wail (although I think that would be hilarious) next time you stub your toe, or Hulk Smash through a wall to show that “Daddy angry!” I am simply encouraging you to show emotion. Look your children in the eyes and say, “I love you.” Rejoice with them, and allow them to see your happiness. Let them see you be angry, yet tempered and respectful. And when the opportunity presents itself, embrace them and cry with them.
That’s it! Just like that, you now have all the tools you need to be successful. Now throw on your best Major Payne voice and go lead your home to a stronger mental health.
Note for my readers: If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
We all grew up in the same environment, yet have different perspectives–same teachings, different takes. Although we have encountered and been forced to overcome adversity- from personal struggles to systemic barriers- we still have hopes of creating the best of opportunities for our children. In this blog, we will examine how our upbringing influences our leadership style as fathers in today’s society.
My creation and birth were a result of the perfect storm: I was the first boy; I was gifted two wonderful older sisters who were 11 and 9 years old at the time, and I had TWO very nurturing parents who have been in my corner since day 1. As such, I always knew that it was my birthright to inherit the Ogunyemi throne (LOL). I can recall, oftentimes, my mother calling out my oldest sister for “trying to be my 2nd mom”, while trying to keep my “younger” sister from killing me. These two experiences granted me a wealth of knowledge about the structure of the family, even more than I even realized at the time:
1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look out for family ESPECIALLY your younger siblings and
2. Never allow resentment to set in between siblings.
If we look at point #1 – the nurture & protection that my oldest sister SHOWED me created a protective nature in me that only grew as I became a big brother three times over. NO ONE – and I mean No one – could touch a hair on my little brothers’ heads. Now that I am a father of two, I am able to instill those same values & principles into my children. Our mother used to always tell us that when things hit the fan, when the world is in chaos, when the world turns its back on you, ALL we will have in our corner is each other – and that’s enough! I have taught my oldest son that it is his job – his duty- to protect his baby brother and to make sure that his baby brother feels the love, nurture, and protection from THIS household FIRST.
As we look at point #2 – nipping sibling resentment at the bud – my “younger” sister and I had MANY spouts…I swore that she was always upset with me (eye roll). As I got older I began to understand that SHE was the youngest for NINE YEARS and then all of a sudden, this new baby had disrupted her entire world. In adulthood, my household is what most would call a “non-traditional” or “blended” family. For the 1st 4 years of his life, it was just me and my oldest son, Ethan. Fast forward, his daddy meets a girl, and a few short years later, he is a big brother. I observed as he would act out and I could deduce that he could not even explain WHY he was acting out. My experiences with my sister taught me the “WHY” and how to make sure that resentment did not set in and that he did not begin to dislike his fresh new baby brother. With this in mind, I can deduce that my first two interactions with humans other than my parents (my big sisters), taught me how to deal with different personalities and to ensure seamless transitions within the “modern” family dynamic.
“Put some food in your mouth!” our dad would sternly interrupt, as we sat around the dinner table and one of us had said one word too much. “Putsomefoodinyourmouth,” he would rattle off, almost like it was one long word, anytime conversation was (let’s just say) unbecoming. I now understand as I sit across the table from our 5 year old son while his mouth runs at about 1,000 words per minute.
Looking back on it, Daddy (yeah, I still call our daddy, “Daddy”) taught us a valuable lesson. I don’t know if he ever actually said these words, but the phrase “put some food in your mouth” (or whatever hilarious quote we derived from that phrase), taught us to MAKE YOUR WORDS COUNT– to be thoughtful and measured. He taught us to “think before you speak, son.” and as our mom would put it, “there’s a time and place for everything.”
Obviously, we were unaware of it then but a couple decades later, all of us echo their words to our own children. Though I’m sure our parents oftentimes preferred we would actually shut up and eat when they said things like, “finish eating your food FIRST, then play,” these phrases surpass the literal and have become metaphorical pillars in our individual households. These incredible lessons taught us to prioritize–PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST! As I reflect on that ageless guidance, I am excited to know that I am contributing to my own children’s success as I teach them to FOCUS ON THE TASK AT HAND. Though sometimes humourous, these experiences during our adolescence greatly contributed to our ability to lead and nurture our children today.
Fathers, internalize this reverberating message, your experiences have given you everything you need to be successful! My brothers made sure that I had my share of adversity growing up. I was the fifth of six children, and in our family, number five just happened to be the odd ball–one and two were two peas in a pod, three and four were partners in crime, and number six was in a protected class known as “the baby.” With that in mind, I remember going to my Mom with what was probably one of 1,000 complaints about my brothers. I wanted vindication. I wanted revenge. I wanted justice! Instead, my Mom looked at me and calmly said, “if you allow people to know what buttons to push to upset you, they will always push those buttons.”
Of course at the time, I did not understand or appreciate how profound that statement was, and I definitely did not expect to be teaching my children similar lessons down the road; however, life provided me many opportunities to apply this timeless advice. Simply stated, I believe one of the keys to overcoming adversity while pursuing opportunity is to master the art of conquering conflict. As a father, we have an innate desire to protect our children; however, I implore my fellow fathers to never waste a negative experience. Use them as teachable moments.
Now I am not encouraging fathers to stand idly by, waiting to offload a lengthy lecture ripe with anecdotal phrases and clichés while their child gets pummeled, but I am encouraging my peers to use the natural clash of wills between two human beings to nurture your children and develop the characteristics needed to be successful in today’s society. Applying this simple approach will help turn our hopes for our children into reality.
I, the said “baby” find it quite comical that Olaolu considers certain aspects of his growing up adversarial and “odd”… Objectively speaking, the youngest is ALWAYS the best (i.e. King David). Nonetheless, my siblings found it necessary to “teach” me otherwise. Being the youngest, I often had a chip on my shoulder- to be the loudest, tallest, to fit in with my older siblings. In many ways, this obviously backfired. In the best of ways, though, my family found ways of cultivating that lively, rambunctious personality into the person and father I am today.
My family has always been my biggest unconditional support system. I can recall multiple conversations of being told, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you enjoy it, make us proud, and strive to be the best.” As an adult, I continue to take pride in the Ogunyemi name with hopes of passing that pride to my son. As my reflection, it is important for me to teach Kian how to be persistent, resilient, and driven while using discernment in every situation he will find himself in. My family taught me when to be loud, but that there are more times to be more quiet than loud. As a father, I hope to continue this strategic approach in celebrating whatever Kian’s personality becomes so he can continue to make a difference in the world.
The short story for all of us is that we have a faith that drives everything we do and parents and older sisters that loved and supported us (still do) in everything we sought to accomplish. We interpreted situations very differently and have a diversity of experiences. In fact, you may think it is a full blown war whenever we get together for holidays or other occasions. Nonetheless, unconditional love persists. We have stood side-by-side for successes, failures, traumas, special moments, heartbreaks, and everything in between. Because of this, we stand before you as college graduates, spouses, mentors, leaders, advocates, friends, brothers… And most of all, good dads!