The World Is A Ghetto: Motown Getting Mo-Crazy

I grew up in the D. when terms like crack, carjacking, and checking-in were being born.

This was one famous Detroit group that you won’t find ever performing at a halftime show.

At the same time, terms like Reaganomics, Star Wars defense, and pull-yourself-up by your bootstraps also thrived in this country’s vernacular.

But as bad as things were back then, some of the things going on today make shake my own head.

I’m I getting older or do you feel the same way?

Yesterday, Marvin Winans of the famous gospel group, The Winans was carjacked and robbed in the middle of a gorgeous afternoon in the ‘hood. For my readers not in this area or country, the streets don’t matter, but trust me, he was stopping in the ‘hood.(Story here: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/pastor-marvin-winans-carjacked-and-robbed-in-detroit)

Now, I also grew up listening to The Winans as they were on my dad’s approved music list. My close friend’s father used to pick us up in the Ford panel wagon LTD and she’d have a Winans tape jamming every morning on the way to school. When my family heard the song Tomorrow before I did, I remember them telling me, “We know you’re going to love that song” and they were right. To this day it’s still one of my favorites.

So it bothered me to hear that Marvin Winans was now a victim, especially knowing that he has tried to make a difference in the city.

I’ve listened to some on the radio that criticized him for stopping at a station with a Rolex and a purple Infiniti SUV. But knowing that his QX56 only gets 16 mpg, I’m sure he’s stopped at gas stations in Detroit numerous times without incident.

But not this time.

Plus, is it now THAT bad? It wasn’t THAT bad in the ’80’s. Back then, we watched a Fiero get stripped right across the street in a few minutes in the middle of the afternoon. But I don’t remember it being THIS bad. I’m I wrong or do I have those “back-in-my-day rose-colored glasses on”?

Also, just the week before, this incident happened and lets just say my man certainly didn’t look like he was displaying a Rolex to fake Ludacris you see in the video. (Note: That old-head got with phony-Luda and it’s sad he had to get a bunch of his “boys” to help him buck with a guy twice his age…and the punks hit an older woman too…those fools are hard right there.)

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/couple-robbed-and-beaten-at-detroit-bp-gas-station-20120509-ms

But the gentleman in the video above did everything right. He didn’t look scared and even spoke to the dudes respectfully and didn’t even call them niggas, like I’m sure they call each other. What did he get in return, a beatdown that could’ve been much worse and thankfully it was not for him and his wife.

Are things just THAT bad?

If we say that they are, then what?

My prediction? At the current progression, two scenarios are likely to play out.

1.) Drastic measures will not be taken until someone of European-descent gets beatdown or killed as the national outrage will cause leaders to speak up and the negative attention will reach past the Michigan border.

Does anyone remember the fireworks brawl that got caught on tape in the early ’90’s (and remember, that was before Youtube)?

2.) Notice the event happened at another gas station. Fuses are getting real short on gas stations as they aren’t calling police on crimes taking place on their property and if you do something that effects them, they shoot you. Lack of police response and growing animosity against the police are all making for fumes that could ignite with one “minor” incident.

Does anyone remember 1967?

Back in the day, we knew who Marvin or at least The Winans were because we went to church.

Dad, when was the last time you did THAT with you kid(s)?

I’m not even talking about whether your church is good or not, but at least it puts the moral compass in the right direction.

An atheist sees me and my boys (friends) crewed-up with hoodies, Kangols and Adidas on at night. Why would he/she breath easier seeing us with Bibles in our hands as we walk from the Mission instead of the gas station up the street?

All rights reserved by Detroit Liger

(We may look bad outside the Mission at night, but trust me, we’re harmless)

Why? Because they know that “religious fanatics” have a moral compass and they are glad about it, because if we didn’t and just believed that now is the only reality and there are no consequences for our behavior, then they may be stretched out on that sidewalk and not make it back home that night. In other words, I’m sure the atheist would be glad we hold the fanatical worldview and not their view in that situation.

Now Dad, do you know where your children are?

Whether living with you or not, are they hanging out in the street, doin-dirty?

If you don’t know, you better find out.

Cause while it may not be YOUR kid that’s going to rob or kill you (then again, it could be: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/news/Son-of-Farmington-Hills-beating-victim-arrested-2-others-seriously-hurt/-/4714498/10918534/-/15dc71oz/-/index.html) because they’ve never been taught to have regard for human life and have determined that they will be the predator not prey, you may one day fall victim.

You may get stuck by a kid who was raised with a lack of supervision like your kid was raised.

So forget the old saying from parent to child, “I hope you have a kid that acts just like you one day!

I now will say, “I hope you run into some kids (or they marry) some kid that has been raised just like you raised yours one day!

Maybe that’s the only way to keep things from getting worse in the D. or any other place, cause I’m getting a headache from shaking my head.

“Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s goin’ on in the ‘hood.” – Boyz N The Hood

What do you think and how are things in your neighborhood?

CSD

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year – from CornerstoneDad

Dads, have you made that New Year’s Resolution yet? Whether you have or have not, check out the tips at All-Pro Dad titled:

Our Classic 10 Ways to be an All Pro Dad  http://www.allprodad.com/top10/parenting/our-classic-10-ways-to-be-an-all-pro-dad/

You can find details at the link above, but here’s a peek at the list:

1.) Love your wife

2.) Spend time with your kids

3.) Be a role model

4.) Understand and enjoy your children

5.) Show affection

6.) Secure your family’s financial future

7.) Eat together as a family

8.) Discipline with a gentle spirit

9.) Pray and worship together

10.) Realize you are a father forever

If you have any other good ideas of goals for dad’s or would like to just share some that you have, let us know in the comments section!

Make 2012 the year you become the dad that you want to be and the year you help make your sons and daughters the men and women that they are to be.

Introducing: TIA – The Next American Idol?

Message for more young people: Stop teaching yourself how to play video games and teach yourself how to play an instrument or learn a skill!

I think the best parts of American Idol are the shows highlighting the people who miss notes like Tim Tebow in the 1st quarter of a Bronco game. But you know, not all of the performers on the “worst of” shows who audition know that they can’t sing. Many have probably received standing ovations from their family at reunions or in their church. Lets just say, the hometown crowd can be quite forgiving. Therefore, I didn’t know what to expect when I recently asked my little cousin to sing for me for the first time while recently visiting the family.

Yes, I remember when…I remember when she was born…I remember that squeaky little voice…and I’ve really missed her and her siblings since her family has moved. Trust me, I don’t really miss other people’s kids, whether they are my family members or not, but I’ve really missed my little cousins.

Hopefully her dad, who is definitely a CornerstoneDad, will make it on an upcoming podcast episode (and Happy Birthday Big Cuz since it’s right around the corner). He has a tremendous testimony, much wisdom, and he was the first in my age group that said, “We are going to have a ton of children regardless of what people say or our circumstances…”

Six kids later…

But back to Tia, I was so impressed at her ability to not only sing, but she also taught herself how to play the guitar plus she writes and composes her own songs.

So check out this video I took with my Canon T1 (the transitions would have been better with a real video camera so forgive me videophiles). Tia allowed me to record her after one of her classes at college. Her first performance was totally impromptu while sitting in the house with fuzzy slippers on, so I figured she certainly deserves a better presentation of her skills.

Would Tia ever audition for American Idol? Who knows, but if she ever decides to do so I think she’d be celebrating with, “I’m going to Hollywood!” and making the family proud every step of the way.

Now Tia, how about that theme song for the CornerstoneDad Podcast huh? Yea I know, family’s always trying to get the hook-up…

Enjoy the video and please check her out at her YouTube page at .

Seven Year Old Steals Car to See His Biological Dad? Can You Be Father of the Year with a Kid Like That?

Sometimes life is truly stranger than fiction...because this kid certain sound like a kid from the Boondocks

By now you’ve probably heard this story:

Barefoot and still in pajamas, the 7-year-old boy stood on the side of a Caseville road on Monday morning, crying and begging to see his dad.

Police say that as his mother slept, the boy drove his stepfather’s red Pontiac Sunfire more than 20 miles from Sheridan Township by himself to try to get there, hitting speeds of 50 m.p.h. with police in pursuit.

“I was hoping he wasn’t going to crash,” Caseville Police Chief Jamie Learman said. “A couple of times he went off the right side, onto the berm in the gravel, and the vehicle was fishtailing a little bit. When that happened, he seemed to be increasing his speeds.”

Learman sped up and passed the boy, as Huron County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Randy Britt helped box in the car.

“I slowed down, he slowed down and eventually stopped,” Learman said about the Sunfire. The boy had trouble pulling over on Kinde Road near Sturm. Then, with the car still running and in gear, he couldn’t get the car unlocked. The officers calmed him down through the window enough to tell him how to unlock the car, then Britt put the car in park.

“He was crying and just kept saying he wanted to go to his dad’s,” Learman said. “That was pretty much it: he just wanted to go to his dad’s.”

Investigators discovered the boy had left his Sheridan Township home at about 10 a.m., heading for his father’s home in Filion. They were alerted by a Rochester man who called 911 after spotting the boy behind the wheel near the Caseville Dairy Queen. The boy’s mother, who was sleeping and had left instructions for the boy to wake her at 10 a.m., did not know he was missing until contacted by police.

“She was frantic,” Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said. “I think we woke her up because she didn’t answer the first time. And when she called back, she was frantic. And when the deputy went down to pick her up and take her to the scene, she was pretty upset.”

The mother and boy immediately went to the county’s department of human services. The incident is also being reviewed by the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office, according to Hanson, who declined to identify the mother or son.

“If any charges are issued, (the prosecutor) is going to want to know things like that: where did he learn how to drive?” Hanson said, adding he did not know the answer to that question.

In his 11 years as chief of the Caseville Police, Learman said he’s never seen someone so young driving.

“Fifteen, 14, but never 7,” Learman said. “I’m just glad he didn’t get hurt, and no one else got hurt. I can just imagine the stop signs and other things he didn’t stop for. I’m just assuming a 7-year-old didn’t follow the traffic laws.”

Copy and paste link for video:

http://www.freep.com/article/20110621/NEWS06/110621012/Police-release-video-boy-7-pulled-over-after-driving-50-m-p-h-?odyssey=mod|mostview

Now there are so many places to go with this one…

Let me start with the heavy stuff. It would have been nice to hear from the biological father on this one. When I was a single father, one of my motivating mottos was, “You let me mold a child until they are 12 years old, you can try to take them away from me from then on, but you’ll never be able to take away the impact I had on their life.”

That boy’s biological father must have had some kind of impact.

But one must ask, what kind if impact did his mother have on his life? If his dad was a such an influence that the kid would be so daring as to take a car and go to see him, was it mom’s influence on him that would make him be so rebellious to do such a thing? Yes, even at seven, this child acted out in a very rebellious and disobedient way (of course I’m assuming he’s not fleeing an abusive situation). He’s not a dog finding his way home from the airport or something. My two children who are younger than seven, would know better than to do something like this as it is considered wrong. Children have to learn that a wrong behavior for the right motivation does not make the behavior any less wrong. But even that’s the responsibility of the adults in this child’s life to teach him that, so I blame them and not him.

But it still makes me ask: Dad, would your child fight so hard to see you? Especially if they were fleeing a dangerous situation?

If you answered “No”, what are you going to do about that?

Roland Martin, journalist and host of Washington Watch said this last Father’s Day, “…a child may be in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Afghanistan, wherever in the world and they make sure they get back home for Mother’s Day. But on Father’s Day, Dad is lucky to get a phone call…”.

Roland was right.

Sometimes dad hasn’t done enough to warrant a phone call and sometimes he’s done everything.  But our children grow up in a TV culture that does not value father’s (e.g. Homer Simpson, Tim Taylor, Al Bundy, and many commercial dads) and they are influenced by what they may see and what they may hear from mom.

So whatever this seven year old was going through at his mother’s home, it is very telling that he made such an effort to make his way back to his biological father’s house.  Also, notice I’ve refrained from saying, “real father’s house”? Well, sometimes the step-dad is the real dad in the home, so I never want to take away from the role that many of those men fulfill in the household as well when they are taking care of business.

Now, on a softer note.

Isn’t it good it happened on “mommy’s watch” and not “daddy’s”? I mean, come on, you know how it is when you’re with the baby or kids and one of them gets hurt and they are with you. Your emotions start flowing just like they did when you were a kid and were scared about what your parents might say about something bad you’ve done! And what do they mean, “If charges are filed…”? Us guys know that had that happened on dad’s watch, we would have been fearing her showing up at the police department and going off more so than the police themselves.

But isn’t it amazing when the kids fall and get a nice shiner on their head or scrap their knee on her watch…excuses are abundant like ”it happened so fast”, “I was right there”, and if all else fails, “Well if you would’ve been here…”.

Sometimes fellas, we just can’t win…

What Do Reggie Jackson and My Father Have In Common?

Today, Mr. October Reggie Jackson turned 65 years old. My dad recently turned nearly the same age at almost the same time. Reggie Jackson is a lover of muscle cars, my dad is as well. Reggie Jackson’s public persona seems extremely complex. Well, my dad’s public and private personas are complex as well. Reggie seemed to be one who did not believe in turning the other cheek. My dad’s advice to me was always throw the first punch because you don’t know if he’ll lay you out with his first blow. Reggie was born in Pennsylvania, my dad’s relatives are in Pennsylvania (okay, that one’s a stretch but I still counted it as a kid!).

But there is one glaring difference between the two men. Reggie made his fame and fortune from baseball and my dad hated sports. He made his fame at home and his fortune in the plant. Both men got dirty and worked with their hands, but in two very different ways.

Yet, had it not been for my father, I never would have looked up to “the straw that stirs the drink” (and Reggie did not mean that the way the reporter told it by the way).

Despite the fact that my dad never liked sports, he never discouraged my passion for baseball. As a matter of fact, two things he taught me early on that I’ve carried for over 30 years:

1.) Do not cheer for the home team, because they are losers.

2.) Look at Reggie, and how he handles himself, and that’s how you must handle yourself in this world.

 Dad knew the impact the ‘hood could have had on me. While we weren’t exactly living in the projects, many of the problems of the projects existed, just in a cleaner neighborhood. Selling drugs, or what we called “rollin'”, was still the fastest way for a kid to make a lot of money and have a lot of girls fast. Shootings across the street from our house were common along with break-ins, car theft, and fighting. Thankfully, we also had many parents working solid middle-class jobs to always keep the neighborhood a float. Since they weren’t allowed to move into traditional white suburbs, they were forced to stay in their own community so in many ways, it benefited us all as a whole.

What we also had commercially, was a lack of black athletes on television when they were not on the field. But when dad saw how Reggie mastered the King’s English and commanded respect for his knowledge of the game and demeanor, he was wise to tell me to observe. Reggie often commentated for ABC in the ’70s and ’80s if the Yankees were out of the playoffs.

Little did I know at that time that one day I would have to at least know many of the rules of the King’s English as well when I grew up. I would also have to not be the “typical nigga or black guy” that many of my colleagues would expect me to be, just like Reggie. I would have to talk a certain way at job interviews, avoid being labeled and yet stand up for myself and prove that I deserved to be in that class or office and not because of Affirmative Action. At the same time, I would have to be just as complex, for people in America have a hard time understanding how you can be pro-black and yet marry someone of a different race. I’m sure Reggie ran into this as to some black folks, Reggie was a sell-out with his proper talking, candy bars, and white girls. But Reggie seemed to always make sure that he represented himself and the black community well. He spoke out about teams that did not have enough black players and even advised former teammate Willie Randolph not to take the Detroit Tiger job. They were the worst of the worst in Major League baseball. Reggie threw out the question the black community always asks, “Why do we only get the job/call/White House when things cannot get any worse? That’s just setting us up to fail!”

I can’t say I idolized Reggie. The man never put food on my table, but he did wave at me when I yelled his name at a California Angels game…he did…really! I’ve memorized many of his stats, read his autobiography, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame to have my picture taken with his bust, and even named one of my kids after him. But my fascination with Mr. Jackson was never about him, but about what he represented. He was a man of class, determination, dependable, clutch-performer, and he danced to the beat of his own drum all the while paying homage to those like Robinson, Aaron, and Mays that bought the drum.

Overall, the man was much like my father.

Photo from: http://kevinmayle.netaidz.com/v/Realism/Steel-Worker-sepia.jpg.html

So dad, who are you allowing to influence your son? Is it a street pimp, a corporate pimp, a drug-dealer, or a prescription drug-dealer? Do those people reflect the values that you want your son to have or the values that you have or at least want to have?

Understand this, somebody and something will influence your boys. You better take advantage of the time that you have to determine what kind of influence that will be. I’m glad my dad had the insight to do that when I was younger. While I’m no where near the man that I wanted to be, I’m no where near the man I could have been.

Happy Birthday Dad and Mr. October!

D-Wade, Who Did You Call A Hero?

Today I just so happened to catch a story on Dwyane Wade on ESPN’s E60 program. It seemed like a feel-good story about how Wade’s mother, who was addicted to drugs much of Wade’s life, has now made a recovery and re-established her relationship with her son. ESPN reported that Wade grew up in Chicago, protected and reared by his older sister, while his mother used and sold drugs from the family dwelling. After doing various stints in prison, Wade’s mom later got off drugs, became a minister, and was even called a “hero” by her son Dwyane.

Usually in stories like this, I often ask, “Now where was the father?” Sadly, it’s more of a rhetorical question, as I often know the answer. However, in this case, dad was around according to ESPN and Wade. “D-Wade’s” dad was interviewed in the story and had wanted his son to live with him early on as he knew of the things going on in his “baby-mama’s” household. Wade Sr. and Jolinda had divorced when Wade Jr. was a boy. As the boy was becoming a man, Wade Sr.’s son came to live with him with the agreement of his mother Jolinda.

Now, all I know about the life of these three people is what they and ESPN shared in this short piece. But I was left asking, “Should’ve his dad been his hero? Why was the story not about his father, who was now remarried with a family of his own, and how he brought his son home and raised him into a man despite the things he saw his mother do in front of his very eyes?” It seems that the only time the word “hero” should have been used in this story would have been to refer to his dad, not his mother.

This is to not take away from the progress that his mother Jolinda has made in her life. But all too often, even when men do the “right thing”, it really is “no thing” to our society. I dare say, that if D-Wade’s father would have been a drug addict until his college career, the outcome of this story would have been very different. We’ve all heard it before…the “that man was nothing but a sperm donor who didn’t step-up to the plate” or “he didn’t make me the man I am today, my mother was both the mom and dad in my house”. At last report, Shaquille O’Neal’s father was the one addicted to drugs and prison when he was a child, and the two still do not have a relationship to this day.

 

So until I hear otherwise, I want to give a shout of honor to Dwyane Wade Sr., because somebody needs to give him some credit. Not because his son went on to dribble a basketball well and make shots with the sweet-o-meter cranked to high. But because he stepped in to raise a son who would later be a father, a father that would later fight for his own two children in a bitter divorce custody dispute. (See: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/news/story?id=6212517&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines)

Sometimes fathers can teach you much more than how to play sports, but how to be a CornerstoneDad. Sometimes they teach you how to fight for your kids, instead of how to just fight in the street.

Here’s to hoping to hear more about Dwyane Wade Sr. from Dwyane Wade Jr. and the rest of the media.

Perhaps the story below should have been called, The Good Dad:

Mike Singletary: Leader on the Field and At Home, but How About You?

Tonight is Monday Night football night. The San Francisco 49er’s face off against the Arizona Cardinals, with both teams not living up to the pre-season expectations. The 49er’s coach, Mike Singletary, is even on the “hot-seat” accord to many in the media.

This would certainly scare me if I had the ball!

Most remember fiery Singletary for his intense gaze as he patrolled and led the Chicago Bear defense from 1981-1992. In fact, one of my favorite all-time teams was the 1985 Bears that won the Super Bowl that year against the New England Patriots. Singletary lead a defense that some consider one of the best in history.

Yet, Singletary’s biggest contribution to this world was probably not on the football field, either as a player 20 years ago or as a head coach today.  Mike Singletary is the cornerstone of his family as he and his wife have seven children. The Coach has written three books: Singletary One on OneCalling the Shots, and Daddy’s Home at Last. When Singletary first arrived in San Francisco, he snatched highly-talented tight-end Vernon Davis off the field for not being a team player (check out his classic press conference speech below). If there was ever a “daddy moment” during the game for all to see, that was definitely one. Any father that ever had to discipline his child on the field for their antics or any child that has been the recipient of such rebuke could certainly relate. But Singletary’s decision that day earned him the respect of 49er leadership, the rest of the team, and most importantly, Vernon Davis himself. Singletary is a man that knows how to lead men.

Perhaps you are a dad that stepped into a situation that requires you to lead a team that, well… let us just say, “your guys” aren’t on the team. Meaning, you may be a step-dad of children who seem to be set in their ways and you continually think, “If I would have raised you, you would not be acting this way”. You may be a dad who has been in the military and away from your children for large periods of time, and they seem to ignore your discipline when you are home. You may be a dad who has been there, but you have sat back and let your wife handle the discipline because you want to be the “fun-dad”. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you need to be that cornerstone for leadership and discipline inside your home.

Like Singletary, we must be willing to not just lead in the boardroom, factory, or on the field. But in the living room (and not just the bedroom as that tends to be the only room in the house many men want to lead in), our kids classroom, and the chapel. Our kids are waiting and I wish I could say our wives are waiting, but many are not any longer, they are leading and laying down the discipline without us. What a shame. If you do not lead your young men, who will? Is the street capable to lead them? How about our daughters? Will we allow another man to lead them?

Coach Singletary may be on the hot-seat for the 49er’s losing record this season, I would be willing to bet the team’s record does not reflect the impact he has had on the men’s lives that he has coached in less than three short seasons. That is what being a CornerstoneDad is all about, being essential in the building and character of your home. To be anything less is not being a cornerstone, but pet. Maybe that’s why so many men are said to be dogs.