How many of you, as adults, still live your life according to the rules of your parents? Recently, after one of my seminars, a guy in attendance asked me for my opinion on his situation, and what I heard from him really prompted me to write today's blog.
He said, "David, the only reason why I came to this seminar was because I am fresh out of a relationship. I was in love with a beautiful woman, but my mother didn't like her. Because I can no longer date her, I need to go out and find someone else, and I want your guidance."
I looked at him. This man was about 40 years old and appeared to be a successful professional. I said, "Your mother" -- what I really wanted to say was "mommy" -- "said you couldn't date her? Ok, well, what was the reason?"
Readers, the reason the guy attending my seminar gave me was that this woman he was dating was black. As you can guess, he was a white man.
I looked at him and said, "Are you kidding me? What was your mother's reasoning behind this? And I really hope it's something good." While I was listening to him and staring at him, my blood really began boiling.
He explained to me that his mother didn't want him to date this woman because she did not want mixed grandbabies. She felt that if her son's babies were mixed, they would have issues at school, popularity issues, racial issues, or issues with their self-esteem. She didn't want people looking at her son's family while they walk down the street, making remarks about her son and the family name in the neighborhoods where they were known. And she didn't want to have to face her own friends and be talked about behind her back.
"So you broke up with her?" I asked him, eyebrows raised. Sometimes my face has a tendency to telegraph my thoughts. He said, "I had to break up with her. I love my mom, and she's done so much for me that I don't want to disappoint her."
I find this disgraceful. This situation was like the movie "Look Who's Coming to Dinner," but with one major difference: the guy was 40 years old. This man was 40 years old, at least, and he did not want to disappoint Mommy. He did not want Mommy to be disappointed in him because he brought home a black woman.
How many of you are living your lives for your parents? How many of you are still doing things because your parents had a vision for you, a vision for the best way for you to conduct your life? How many of you popped out the extra kid because your mother wanted three grandbabies instead of two? Or maybe the reason you even had a child in the first place was due to family pressure. How many of you jumped into marriage because your mommy or your daddy kept making you feel like you were slowing things down, like you were running out of time, because you couldn't find the right person to be with?
Well, we are all adults, and to be honest, I find the behavior a lot of us still choose to engage in as adults to be disgraceful. The minute we leave the nest, whether it's to go to college or start our first full-time job, is the minute we begin living our own lives. At that point, Mommy's and Daddy's jobs are done.
But so many times I find people who will bow to Mommy and Daddy pressure, often years after they've left the nest and have already made a life for themselves.
I then looked at this man and asked, "Do you miss the woman you were with?" His eyes darted around the room a bit, then he looked back at me and admitted with absolute sincerity, "I think about her every day."
"You came to this seminar for advice," I told him, "so let me give you some advice that I hope you never, ever forget: This is your life. You have one shot at this. I have no idea if as people we are reincarnated, if our souls live on forever, or what happens to us when we die. That's a debate for another day, but what I want you to do is really think about how you will feel if you spent the rest of your life without seeing this woman again."
He looked me and didn't even hesitate. He said, "Empty." So I said, "It's about time you stood up to your Mommy and Daddy. It's about time you lived your life."
How many people are living lives, working careers or have created a family because Mommy and Daddy knew it would be best for them that way? How many people take the time to give a hard, honest look at themselves and ask themselves this question?
How many of you are 100-percent living your life on your own, 100-percent calling all your own shots? Or do you still have Mommy and Daddy influence? Do your parents still have influence over you and the decisions you make in life even though you're in your 30s, 40s or 50s?
Why is the subject so passionate to me? Because my dad lived his life for his mommy, and I saw firsthand how destructive that behavior was. I saw a man who allowed himself to become weak in many areas of his life from his own behavior and his relationship with his mother.
So today's blog is for all you "Mommy and Daddy" boys and girls out there. It's time you became adults, because some of you are mommies and daddies yourselves -- and guess what happens if you continue on that way? You're going to transfer this narrow-minded parenting style, parenting that is rooted in fear and never making your own life decisions, to your own children. You're going to allow that fear, the fear of judgment, and the racism, to persist down the generations.
It's time we cut the umbilical cord tying us down in all directions, and it's time we allowed ourselves to express our individuality and live our lives the way we're meant to live.
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