Is guilt destroying our community?

Today I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine who brought up the idea of parental guilt and wondered if it was actually harming the community. We talked about a few instances of parents who coddle their children (old and young) and why this happens. While each situation is different I’m sure… I cannot shake the feeling that guilt is probably behind much of it.

My reasoning:

When you feel guilty about a situation, you tend to try to make up for the guilt with action or items etc… But what if you have so much that you blame yourself for their actions so you constantly try to make up for their choices by letting them run all over you.. Doesn’t sound too far from a possibility right? But let me not run too far with this theory. First I’ll look into the idea of this parental guilt and then let’s see some of the possible long term effects on the community.

Guilt

Every parent has felt guilt over something in their child’s life. I am not saying this is bad, not normal or unhealthy. We are parents, not perfect. Many of us have felt guilty over taking your child to school when they had the sniffles so you could work, dating while raising kids or that time that you turned your back and the little one had a bit of an accident. It happens, right?

Guilt often allows us to gauge our actions and helps us refrain from potentially destructive behaviors that could cause harm. However, guilt can also be misdirected and debilitating to our ability to function powerfully in life. It’s what you do with that guilt that makes it unhealthy. The result of unhealthy guilt can be to make us feel bad about our decisions and behaviors. This unhealthy guilt “haunts” us and negatively effects lives over and over.

Single Mother Guilt

I’ve heard many mothers mention the idea of “Single Mother Guilt”. Well, 67% of children in the African American community come from a single parent household (Kids Count Data Center), so that’s a lot of guilt.  Single mothers can feel guilty because they brought a child into the world that is out of the “ideal” type of situation. Often single mothers cannot stay at home with the child and that brings more guilt. Now keep piling on items that can cause guilt: not being able to afford items, children blaming you for negativity, lack of a father in the home, children having special need.. etc.. Some mothers (and parents in general) respond by being a “helicopter parent” aka coddling the kid.

Much of this guilt is from the way society views single mothers and the problems this causes for the child. Diane Eyer, in her book Motherguilt, succinctly summed this negative myth as:

Being a single mom is basically immoral and selfish, the reasoning goes, since it deprives children of an important paternal role model and source of income. Single mothers are seen as engenders of the underclass-the juvenile delinquents, drug addicts, and violent criminals who plague the country. (1996: 29)

Who wouldn’t feel guilty about that? The single parent myth has risen steadily since the 1950’s (and is constantly higher in the African American Community) with the decline of the white picket fence with its working father and stay at home mother. Read more about  Deconstructing Mother Guilt here

Coddling due to Guilt

One response to feeling guilt in parenting can be to continue to coddle your child even after infancy.

Coddlers step in to negotiate for their child instead of letting the child work out problems for himself. They intervene, regardless of the severity of the situation. Parents who coddle their child provide instant gratification for things the child wants as opposed to what he needs. (MetroFamily Magazine /November 2010)

Instant gratification… we have a generation full of people that think in the “Me me me… now now now” mindset. Could this be from being coddled?

Long term effects

So coddling can be bad right? But once the child is grown is it okay?

“Parents should provide guidance, but to constantly intervene prevents a child from learning. You put your child at risk when he doesn’t learn to communicate and interact with people.” (MetroFamily Magazine /November 2010)

As new research shows that members of Generation Y are entering the workforce with an inflated sense of their abilities, principals are warning ”helicopter parents” against putting too much pressure on children to be successful, which could discourage them from risking failure.

According to a study by University College London, risk-taking behavior peeks during adolescence. Teens are apt to take more risks than any other age group. Their brain programs them to do so. It’s part of growing up. They must test boundaries, values and find their identity during these years. This is when they must learn, via experience, the consequences of certain behaviors. Our failure to let them risk may explain why so many young adults, between the ages of 22 and 35 still live at home or haven’t started their careers, or had a serious relationship. Normal risk taking at fourteen or fifteen would have prepared them for such decisions and the risks of moving away from home, launching a career or getting married. – (Growing Leaders Blog)

Here are a list of problems coddling and parenting through guilt can create in an adult life:

Lack of independence, responsibility, knowledge, maturity, work ethic and more.

Community effects

Coddling Parents  do too much for their children who were become less resilient and unable to cope with failure. Failure is a part of life and every successful adult has failed and pushed past it. But if a formerly coddled child turned adult cannot core with failure how will they ever attain success?  Instead they turn back to their helicopter parent to take care of them and they resort to child like behavior of letting the parents take care of them and fight their battles. Where does guilt come in hand?

The guilt a parent feels for their child’s hardship and problems can cause the parent to place responsibility on themselves and in turn allow the child to behave this way.  Therefore you have a generation of grown children who do not take responsibility for their actions, living with their parents who are raising their grandchildren and creating a cycle of weakness and failure. Or a child that blames everyone else for their problems and expects the outside world (or spouse) to take care of them like their parents always have. Am I being too extreme? Maybe. But we all know it happens. So take risks, let the kids fall and fail. When they disobey a parent hold back the instinct to rescue just for a minute and let them feel a tad but of pain.

What say you? Do you think this is a true problem for the community? Does guilt have nothing to do with kids running over parents later in life? Or is it perfectly find to coddle?

Why Congress is Letting Unemployment Benefits Expire For 1.3 Million Americans

1525625_10152114344149111_1470227740_nThis is why Congress doesn’t care about extending unemployment…. The demographic it is most affecting isn’t the one that votes for them or represented in the house… 2014 is a time to wake up as a demographic and show all walks of government that we do vote and we vote for the issues that affect us. Let every politician know, they work for the people… So the people must speak. The fact that the unemployment lines are filled disproportionately with young Americans goes a long way to explaining why our elected officials are so comfortable letting the benefits expire.
” In 2012, nearly half of all unemployed Americans were under the age of 35, a cohort of the population represented by just seven members of the House of Representatives, or 1.6%. Of course, Americans aren’t eligible to be elected before the age of 25, but even if we include the next age group, the numbers don’t get much better: while 67% of unemployed Americans are between the ages of 16-44, that same group is represented by a paltry 61 House members, or 14%.” – Policy Mic

In the words of John Boehner, “When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,” adding, “At a time when Americans are still asking the question, ‘Where are the jobs?’’why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?”

Do you agree with Mr Boehner???

Check out this article “What a Higher Minimum Wage Does for Workers and the Economy”

Wal-Mart in Bronzeville

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I’ve heard people excited about the new Wal-Mart coming soon to Bronzeville on 47 Cottage (I’ve also heard about one being opened up on 39th and state). However, I fail to share their joy.  Yes, we need jobs in this community and a convenient place to shop. But, we need a livable wage and good food in our community not GMO fruit and meat and substandard treatment of those employed. Wal-Mart does not thrill me.
Does our community need another cash cow for developers? No, we need a nice mom and pop shop that cares about the community and can treat employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. If I’m working full time, I should not have to get on food stamps to sustain life, this is the case with many Wal-Mart employees. Bronzeville should just say no.

Lane Tech vs Phillips HS For the CPS Football Playoffs

UnknownWendell Phillips High School in the Bronzeville neighborhood is one worth bragging rights. In the last four years the school has risen from a level 3 to a level 1 school based on CPS ratings. It is the 2013 Recipient of the ‘Spotlight On Technology” Award. And it’s football team has a season record of 5-3 and 4-1 for conference, allowing the team to make it to the CPS play offs! Now all this is fine and dandy but it may not be enough for its first round rival, Lane Tech.

There are murmurs that the school does not want to come to the Bronzeville neighborhood siting safety as a concern.  Principal Horton of Phillips says there have been no issues at Mandrake Park

“We’ve had not one incident”

Let’s hope that this “concern” does not affect the game this Friday as I’m sure that would truly create issues in the mind and hearts of the players. Also it is important to remember if you send your child to a CPS school, you cannot pick and choose what areas they play sports. And IF all CPS schools were equal would a parent have to “worry”?  Sadly we still suffer from separate but not equal.

I’ll be at the game. Will you?

Why Buy Local?

Yesterday I started my one week (maybe longer) challenge to buy from Small, Community, and Local businesses (SCIL). This challenge is meant to look closely at the money I spend and how much I let leave my community. As a community we spend nearly $1 trillion and how much of that comes back into our community?

dollar-bilss-in-a-hole-money-going-down-the-tubeA study on the Chicago area completed in 2005 by Civic Economics, an economic analysis firm, found that for every $100 in consumer spending with a local business, $68 remains in the Chicago economy — and for every $100 spent at a chain, $43 remains in the Chicago economy.

If we were all to spend majority of our money our community the result would be huge! Have you heard of the multiplier effect? Well:

The multiplier effect is the boost to your local economy that results from locally-owned independent businesses, owners, and employees spending business revenue within the region. Typically, local independent businesses recirculate a much greater percentage of sales locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or most locally-owned franchises).

This is not a new idea either… There are campaigns set in place to help you do just this… So after my one week challenge I am committing to the 3/50 project.

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 12.15.47 PMThe 3/50 project is a national campaign to support local business. It states that if half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally-owned stores, it would generate over $42.6 billion in revenue. 3/50 encourages people to choose three local businesses they couldn’t live without, then spend $50 at each one monthly.  Not hard right?

So take a week and look at where you spend your money then; after a week pick three businesses independently owned in the community that you would miss if they disappeared and support them monthly with $50.

According to Susan Witt, Executive Director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, “buy local” campaigns serve another function: alerting a community about gaps in the local market. For instance, if consumers keep turning to on-line or big-box stores for a particular product—say, socks—this signals an opportunity for someone local to make and sell socks.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1903632,00.html#ixzz2d0EqAKkl

So Go Buy local and Carry On! keep-calm-and-buy-local-26

Here are some resources that can help! #SupportSCIL #BuyLocal #AshleyBuysLocal

The Buying SCIL Challenge

buy-local-and-carry-onToday I begin my SCIL Challenge…

What is that you may say… Oh let me tell you… SCIL is Small, Community, Independent & Local Businesses that is. So for one week only that’s what I’ll be shopping. It is time to take back the buying power and keep money in our community. (Read why here)

So for everything I need I will be shopping in my community, the community I work and the one in proximity of those… I have Identified Bronzeville to South Shore as my ‘Hood. I will be buying everything in the community in stores that are independently owned. I also have included farmers markets (as they are included in buying local).

This is not just a one week home run. This week is meant for me to truly push myself on where I spend my money and how. After this week (and already a bit for those that know me) I will continue to push myself to support these businesses.

Join me!

Here are some links to learn where to shop

Farmer’s Markets http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html/

TheBlackMall http://theblackmall.com/

Eat Drink and Buy Local http://www.eatdrinkbuylocal.org/

Up Chicago http://www.upchicago.com/category/do-see/shopping-chicago/local-chicago-stores

So Buy Local and Carry On!

#BuyLocalChallenge  #SupportSCIL  #AshleyBuysLocal

“I am Art”

1011921_472821049472445_244156984_nThe Rainbow Push Young Adult League began the 42nd Annual International Convention opened Saturday with a thought provoking panel discussion entitled, “I AM… ART”. The intent of the discussion was to explore the impact of Hip Hop on urban inner city youth and revolved around the question, “Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?”

1006259_475901442497739_1812197279_nFeaturing five successful members of the urban music and media industries like international music superstars, Lupe Fiasco and Waka Flocka Flame; Marketing and Recording Executive at Roc Nation, Chaka Pilgrim; Digital Managing Editor at Jet Magazine and Founder of The Kyles Files, Kyra Kyles; and Chicago State University professor, Dr. Gerrard McClendon; the panel discussion was masterfully moderated by Dr. Chandra Gill.

996806_475901419164408_1065597936_nThe auditorium was near capacity as music fans of all backgrounds and ages filled the seats for the historic discussion followed by an intense Q&A session. Audience members expressed delight at the genuinely candid dialogue, the intelligent and thoughtful responses of each panelist, and the intergenerational appeal that the event had. The recurring theme of the conversation seemed to be the responsibility of artists and labels as it pertains to the content of their music and how it influences youth culture.

995694_475901569164393_54410138_nArtists are so powerful and can use their influence to bring attention to issues that youth may otherwise not be exposed to. While many audience members may have been secretly hoping for a surprise and spontaneous concert, they did not leave disappointed. “I felt like I was watching history being made,” an audience member said after the event. “I was happy to see Rev. Jesse Jackson and Waka Flocka on the same stage. It gave me hope.”

I was able to take part in this by asking questions from social media! Super fun and great to have learned that Waka Flocka is actually not like people believe. He is very self-educated it appears. So lesson to the “wise” don’t judge a book by a song or a cd cover.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 2.02.17 PMAlso later I was able to go on ABC news Chicago and speak about the event! Take a look at the video here.