Not making a choice is still choosing

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After discussing a case with my professor from my internship counseling adolescents, he told me, “If you see something in someone that you don’t like, then it’s best that you examine yourself.”

Let’s see here.

I have worked my butt off for the last two years toward finishing this graduate program while maintaining a pretty good grade point average.

I have been disengaged from a regular, cohesive social life.

I have maintained full-time employment at the same place for most of this period.

I did not have much social support.

And I also managed to attend the same church on most Sundays during said period.

Hell no, it wasn’t easy. It still isn’t.

Do I sound a little bitter? Maybe? But it was all my choice.

It was my choice to be a 34-year-old graduate student.

I chose to get married unaware of what it meant, and I ultimately chose to leave a failed marriage.

There were choices that I made that led to friendships being successful or not.

Choices — carefully selected actions with the likelihood of leading one toward desired or undesired goals and destinations.

Through the choices we make, we have a responsibility to accept where it may or may not lead us.

There are people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. Some of those same people blame everyone, but their own choices.

In the words of Chief Keef, “That’s that sh— I don’t like!

I get the fact that you were ill-equipped to deal with the pressures of life — many of us were! Despite generational curses, abusive relationships, the feeling of absence of love or validation from parents and any other circumstances for which you believe you had very little control, you still have a choice.

“Well, it’s hard, John. You’re just picking on people because you think that you are better than them! Everyone doesn’t have what you have,” is what I hear from time to time.

Stop with the excuses.

Your choices don’t just affect you.

For the last two years I have counseled both adolescents and adults. I have discovered in most cases that the problem is the parent that passed on some of their issues, and the child is a mirrored reflection that the parent doesn’t like.

The parent blames the child instead of taking responsibility for their actions. The child internalizes the disdain and ultimately acts out. They both begin to suffer from arrested development. But the parent is the repeat offender because she never addressed initial problems in her life stemming from her childhood.

Take the television series “Save My Son” with Dr. Steve Perry. Dr. Perry takes a system’s approach to intervention with troubled youth.

On one episode a grandmother was in complete denial of her grandchild’s purchase of drugs with the money she had given him. The child even admitted it three times in front of her, his mother and Dr. Perry. There is still a village in place raising our children whether we believe it or not.

Some say that I am too hard on people, and to that, I say there are way too many people cheering on negativity.

There are far too many people that pad the floor when folks make mistakes. Especially in the black community, this code of silence is unwilling to admit to acute and chronic mental disorders, abuse, drug addictions and prison recidivism.

There are far too many mothers that allow sons to live in the home past 18 and 21. If these men don’t go to college or the military, allow them to fend for themselves in the cold.

Wait — that might mean you dissociating the closest male in your life — well, then you need to get counseling for your abandonment issues.

But rather then confronting your own hang-ups, you would want him to believe that every woman in his life will take care of him. He will produce children and continue the cycle.

Honestly, there will be those who fall through the cracks.

It’s life.

But what choice can you make today to ultimately move forward?



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