12 August 2009

Good Hair versus Bad

Guest Blogger: Lavender T. Brown.

This subject is sad to me as a Black woman. The media has played this tune to the pander of many - magazine covers filled with pictures of white ladies with flowing hair ,music videos etc..the black female role models have played well to this tune as well - Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Tyra herself and countless others who wear wigs etc......... If we had models that stood up to maintaining natural hair - not necessarily afros but just looking after and MAINTAINING THE GROWTH OF RELAXED OR TEXTURISED HAIR - we would not have any of this.

I have told myself I WILL NEVER WEAR A WIG OR WEAVE AGAIN - I wore one for 2 years as I was looking after my newly born son and young daughter. So I started afresh - cut my hair right down as it was severley damaged by the weave and wig - maybe due to poor maintenance. In 2007 - I trimmed my hair right down and had a curly perm.

Friends and family were wondering why I was keeping such short hair and encouraged me to get a wig. My my hair dresser - bless her - said I should not be tempted to wear either a wig or weave. She advised that I should just keep on moisturising ,self steaming and eating well. I was discouraged a few times along the way sporting a short mop of hair - but I wanted nice strong hair - so I stayed focus.

Now my hair is long and gorgeous. I have naturally thin hair so it's not big and full but it's lovely. The same people - family and friends - who were dissing my hair are constantly wondering and asking how my hair is so long and nice. They forget it took patience, resistant to wearing weaves, prayer and determination to love and maintain hair that grows from my own sculp!!!!!!!! Selah!!!

Yes this subject is very difficult to deal with emotionally and it's so politically and socially wired and charged. I personally DON'T MIND relaxed, straightened hair or anything to make the hair manageble - because we have to be practical - going to work, raising children and trying to rush out the door before managing the afro ***!!

I WOULD NOT be in favour of Michelle growing an afro as my dear friend Ulla suggested. My problem is women WHO DO NOT WEAR THEIR OWN HAIR. It bugs me. A lot of blacks (some whites as well - but mainly black though) who wear wigs and weaves as a matter of 'course'. I mean day in day out, year in year out.

My previous church was predominantly west African. Girls and women would flick their wigs and weaves like it's their own hair. The 11 years I had been in that church, NOT ONCE had I seen some of them with their own hair - whether straightened or permed. Hair from their own SCULP!!

Gosh, where do those ladies fling the wig as soon as it's bed time? As gorgeous the black, brown or blond wig is, do they say ''goodnight darling'' to their husbands or partners then take the fake hair off for bed? And what do we have underneath? Kinky afro, plaits, no hair perhaps? It's crazy.

02 July 2009

Family Reality Breeds Contentment

What are the implications to parents witnessing their child come of age and recognizing the sexual energy that child is exploring? What have the children already learnt from their parents and how has it affected them? When they start asking serious questions, most parents might veer from the truth for many reasons. Time or lack of is a factor. Embarassment is another but when we look at the consequences of not being honest to our children, we see that the reality about sex is much more effective than the lies.

Before parents even get to the birds and bees, it is often better to have had a relationship with their children where talk of the unimportant things is something that is commonplace. If children feel they cannot approach you on the everday things, it is unlikely they will come to you on the very important ones.
Try not to lecture to children, communicate with them through a continuous and honest dialogue throughout their lives.

20 April 2009

Facebook Forum Launch

We are extremely excited to be launching our forum to facebook and I am sure Twitter is a very close second. You might call it keeping up with the communitation Joneses!

Hope to see you there as we celebrate family whether it is blood relations or surrogates who have become as good as.
This is not about good, bad, right or wrong. It is about truth.

05 March 2009

Sibling without the Rivalry

How many children can an inner city dweller realistically have without feeling the strain? It has been documented that the cost of raising one child in the UK from birth to the age of 21 is approximately £200,000.

There is also the question of space. Both external and internal. Will parents have enough parks, playgrounds or traffic free walkways? At home, will there be enough bedrooms to enable each child to have privacy?

Parenting a group of squabbling children after a long day at work is not the first choice of many but this is what inevitably happen once in a while if the home is not big enough and there are two or more siblings.

Solutions may include boarding schools , whether weekly or full time. Parents can explore scholarship or bursary options for their children. Limiting the amount of children one has is a choice that some people living in the inner cities are making.

27 February 2009

Lonely vs Alone

Thomas Beatie - The Pregnant Man

There are those of us who love our own company to the extend that we could be classed as recluses. Some loners shrug the labels off by arguing that "you can never be alone as you are always with yourself ". When asked if it isn't a lonely existence, often the response is that loneliness and being alone are worlds apart. Many of us have felt deep loniness in a room full of people.

For those with children, ask yourselves if loneliness or fear of being alone were part of the reason(s) you chose to have a child. As more people outside of the convensional "family" template are able to choose the terms in which they become parents, society appears to be reeling at incredible stories emerging as fast as the technology allows.

Who can forget gay fathers Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow or the pregnant man Thomas Beatie whom, it was announced late last year, was expecting his second child. Last month, Alfie Patten became a father at the age of 13. In the same breath, we let us revisit the tragic story of Baby P, and the almost unbelievable chain of events that followed his death. Finally, but far from being least, look at the case of Nadya Suleman who gave birth to 8 babies despite having 6 others at home.

Why do people have children?

Procreation? Loneliness? To leaving a legacy? Mistake? Fear of being alone? Love? Hate?

Who decides who can and cannot have children?

Nadia Suleman - Pregnant with Octoplets

02 February 2009

Family Reality

It is often argued by those who grew up during the years following World War Two that life was so much better then. Everyone knew their neighbour by name, children were safe on the streets and front doors were never locked. During that golden age, the nuclear family ruled with fathers as the head and breadwinners whilst mothers stayed home and looked after the children. A job was for life and marriages lasted til death. Those were the good old days.

The 1960s arrived with its "make love not war" banner and women gained their sexual independence by way of the pill and feminism. Gone (for some) were the rules of old where a woman had no economic or domestic power. As the 70s approached, the realities of what constituted a family blurred and new choices of living emerged.

The patriarchal family now existed alongside single parent homes; same sex families; step; foster; adoptive; childless couples - to name a few. As people gravitated towards cities, they moved away from the extended family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings), gaining much but inevitably losing the vital connection(s).

A new way of parenting, of raising children in urban settings emerged. Many success stories exist and by sharing them, others will know how it can be done.