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Heed the Warnings

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Miss Ruthie on heeding the warningsOftentimes, when we find ourselves suffering or in trouble, it's because we didn't listen. My husband loves the saying, "Old people give good advice because they can no longer set bad examples". There is an element of truth to that. Getting knocked down a time or two will make you learn a lesson and a good advice message to pass on. The trouble is, some folks won't listen. But don't give up on them.

I know that some people have to learn the hard way. I experienced this and I've seen it in my family. When it's you who did not heed the warning, you may not like the consequences. When it's your children, it really hurts. You hate to see them go off that cliff they seem to be headed for. But you have to tell them, and then you must step back, and let them find out for themselves. You can't live their lives for them. The most rewarding thing is when they finally "get it". Whenever my children learned a lesson that I'd warned them about, I'm was elated, especially if they come back to say, "Mama, now I understand." That was a lesson they can pass on to their children and hope their children will listen.

Heeding warnings are so critical, especially now. These days, it can be a matter of life and death. Important warnings to heed include:

To African American males

You will be judged by your skin color, so how you choose to look... what you choose to wear... what you choose to do.... how you choose to act... and who you choose to hang out with, may bring unwanted attention from the police as well as other races intent on stereotyping you, doing harm to you or worse, killing you.

To African American females

You will be judged by your skin color, so how you look, what you choose to wear...who you choose to go out with... and what you choose to do may attract unwanted attention from boys, men, predators or the police.

To African American fathers

Don't just drop your drawers, drop babies and then drop out of their lives! Be there for them! Be responsible for them! Be a dad to your boy/s and to your girl/s. Protect them and their mother. Teach them how to survive in their environment. Give them expectations. Tell them you love them. Give them hugs. Warn them of the dangers waiting for them. Show them how to have honor and good morals by what you say, by your behavior, and by example. Show your son how to be a man, and show your daughter how men are supposed to treat her. Since you know that Black males have the highest numbers of Black men in jails and prisons, you cannot be irresponsible by committing crimes. You are useless to your children and family, if you end up going to jail.

To African American mothers

Your role is to nurture, protect, sustain, and teach your babies. Your children's whole life is a reflection on you. Therefore, what you do, what you say, how you act, how you look, and everything you do, they see, they hear, and are impacted. They can become crippled by you. Neurotic parents make neurotic kids. If you need help – get it, for you and your child. Your role is so critical. The way you model your life before your children determines the women your boys may choose and the woman your daughter will try to emulate and the men she may allow to come into her life. Think about this! Your children can bring damaged people into your family because they have not been taught any better. (Remember Jenifer Hudson's ex-brother in law who killed her mother, her brother and her nephew?) Teach your children that there are some people they should never, ever associate with. Tell them about bad people in the world and let them know they should not even give them the time of day. Make time for your children. Listen to them and really hear what they are telling you. Act on any issues - before it's too late. Let them know you love them and also show them that you love them.

Heeding warnings will save you from a lot of heartache and trouble. It's worth doing the right thing the first time, don't you think?

[Ruth Hopkins is the co-publisher and managing editor of THE JOURNAL and the author of the book, "Miss Ruthie Speaks." You may obtain a copy at The Journal Offices, 1541 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA, or reach her by phone at: (626) 798-3972, or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]



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