"I think to deny that we are our kid’s friend, is to also unknowingly contradict another very infamous and sound frame of thought."
Warning: I will lose some of the “aunties” with this one.
Growing up black allows one to experience a host of things, that others who grew up in the same capacity would naturally relate too. Card playing uncles, chitterlings (or chittlins’ for those who know), loads of old school records, stereos that you stacked and revered, a methodical identification of potato salad, and whippins’ (because there is no other word or way.) Not knowing the androgynous “boo-boo the fool,” but knowing enough to know, that he (or she) would never be ID’d in a police line-up as one of your parents. Timeouts being something you had only when playing sports, being constantly asked if you had some “McDonald’s money” that they already knew you didn’t, believing at any moment that someone could “slap the black off you” (thus, being assaulted into a new racial identity), and cleaning house and Motown being like peanut butter and jelly. One would say that some of these things could be experienced in any demographic, and to that I’d say possibly. However, all of them… c’mon now.
Still, there is one that tops the list. This is in my opinion, the black-phrase of all phrases. This is, in truth, one of the things that may well be experienced in all demographics of child rearing, and if so, you’ll know it when you see or hear it. The phrase is…
“I ain’t cha’ friend” (AKA “I am not one of your friends.”)
This phrase was typically issued by parents, as a reminder to their children (or any child for that matter) of three very important things (pay close attention to these points, we will definitely revisit them often):
Now (here is where I lose some of you), while I 100% agree with the issuing premise (points 1-3), I nonetheless, disagree with the issued statement. That is, I disagree with the idea that a child and a parent can’t be friends, BUT I totally agree with the reasons (points 1-3) for saying so. I, Kevin D. Jones, Sr., do profoundly believe that I am my kid’s friend. Now, before you submit the paperwork to revoke my “Black Card,” please hear me out.
I think to deny that we are our kid’s friend, is to also unknowingly contradict another very infamous and sound frame of thought.
Picture it. Your child comes home and says, “Mommy/Daddy, I made six new friends today at recess.” Now when you hear this, you immediately begin to think one thing. And, you’re not alone, we’re all thinking it. Sure, that’s nice and wonderful; however, you know in your heart, that there is no way in the world that he/she made 6 friends in a 30-minute timespan.
Why you ask? Because of the criteria of what it takes to be a real friend. By definition and concept a friend is far more substantial. It requires more emotion, connection, confirmation, and affection. It requires a measure of passion, true sensitivity, a knowledge of self and an awareness of another. AND IT IS FOR THIS REASON, that I believe that a good parent, MUST be the friend of their child. When we denounce friendship with our kids, we also subconsciously denounce the understanding of who and what a friend is.
These are required truths that you can’t honestly come to know in a mere 30 minutes.
However, I urge you to go back through and replace the word friend with parent, and tell me if you read a lie?
I know, I know, I know. I’m literally pulling the rug from under your sanctified feet. I know these words are borderline blasphemous. Please note that I’m not saying we had it wrong (I understand the intent totally and I still agree with points 1-3); however, I am saying that when we think about it, a good parent HAS TO BE a friend to their child. A true consideration, of the true characteristics of a true friend, are the true mirrored characteristics of a good parent. They are literally synonymous.
Now, for those who are still on the fence. Here’s your questions…
Question: What about the statement’s premise (points 1-3)? After all, these points were (and still are) the reasons why we denounced friendship with them in the first place. How then can we be friends and those points be true AT THE SAME TIME? How do we reconcile the REASONS for the statement, while simultaneously denouncing the message of the statement?
Well, my best reconciliation of the “parent / child friendship concept” and its true relationship with points 1-3, is found in Matthew 26:47-50…
“(47) While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and elders of the people. (48) Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest Him.” (49) Going directly to Jesus, he said, “Greetings, Rabbi,” and kissed Him. (50) “Friend,” Jesus replied, “do what you came for.” (BSB)
Understand that Christ was sinless (cf. Hebrews 4:15); therefore, He could not lie (cf. Numbers 23:19). That means when He called Judas “friend”, He meant exactly what He said. He sincerely identifies Judas as a friend, even when He knew Judas was not friendly to Him in return. Judas wasn’t an equal with Christ and he was called friend. He wasn’t able to disrespect Christ (outside of His allowance) and he was still called friend. Christ manifested the friendship bond with Judas, while never violating points 1-3. This is because those points, can be true and friendship also true, without contradicting each other.
Therefore, if Jesus can be a friend to Judas, how in the world can’t we be friends to our kids?
I know it’s new; however, I’d urge you prayerfully rethink, the friendship dynamic with your kids. I believe this rethink will bless our parenting and relationships.
Your thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below. Subscribe, share, like, and as always thanks for the support.
Kevin D. Jones, Sr.
Kevin D. Jones, Sr.
I'm just an imperfect guy, serving a Perfect God, and doing my best to share Him with everyone I can.