The truth hurts:

On May 23, Kansas City had the opportunity to host Bill Cosby’s “Call Out” in the gymnasium on the campus of MCC-Penn Valley. This tour is traveling around the country as an attempt to spark dialogue within the African American community about such topics as education, health, crime, and family values. Kansas City is the 21st stop for this campaign.
“This whole evening is all about discussion,” stated Penn Valley President Bernard Franklin. “But we hope that after this evening is over, you will come back to discuss with us how we can develop solutions to address these problems.”
When Cosby took the stage, he let them have it. He was only up there for an hour. But in that hour, he touched on many topics that plague the black community. And he did this in plain English. There were no long educated words. So people didn’t have that excuse, “I didn’t understand what he was saying.” It was quite the contrary. In many instances, what he talked about made members of the audience a bit uncomfortable. He called for accountability for their actions as parents.
Cosby talked about discipline and the lack of it within today’s family structure. He talked about getting too comfortable on welfare. “Need more money, have another baby.” And he got on parents for not taking an active role in their children’s education. Although this was directed at the African American community, and the majority attending were African American, the message he delivered could apply to any community. That includes the gay community.
This could not have come at a better time. It came between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This is a period that many gay men and women fail to identify with. Many of us are not parents. Many more are parents, but have very little interaction with their offspring, in part due to society’s views on gays as parents. As a result, many of our own children are being raise in either a single parent home or by someone else.
With this loss of family unity come an inability to understand who and what you are. Children need a strong structural background in order to grow. They need to be taught and nurtured as they search for that person that they are destined to become. They need the confidence to be able to take on each challenge that confronts them. Without these skills children are placed at a disadvantage.
Being the product of a broken home, I experienced the process, firsthand. Although I had the luxury of having both my parents in my life (my dad only lived ten blocks from my mom), it was an emotional tug of war between my parents for love and attention. Like so many children in my situation, I was starved for love. And like so many young gays, I made those mistakes of not recognizing what was and was not love. But somehow I persevered and even managed to do a pretty good job of raising my own kids in spite of my lack of parenting skills.
Society has this idea that gays make terrible parents. I have to disagree. We have the same ability as straights to make the right and wrong choices when it comes to bringing up baby. It’s all a matter of commitment and getting involved in your child’s life. But Cosby emphasized the need for parents to become involve in their children’s education. This holds true to any parent, gay or straight. You have to take control. No child should have enough control as to intimidate the parent, yet happens and often. The child needs to know who is boss.
When I was growing up, my parents attended the PTA meetings, any sport or activity I was involved in and knew every teacher that I ever had (And I mean kindergarten through high school). And don’t let me act up in school. The school called my mom one day. When she got there, she took my belt and whipped me in the middle of the hallway….. And I was in the tenth grade.
Today some might call that child abuse. I call it caring. Thanks to all that “caring”, I graduated from high school, served in the Navy (had a gay time too), and got involved when my kids started school. And just like my parents, I got to know their teachers. And like my parents, I do believe in a little discipline (spanking) when necessary.
Now I’m back in school trying to better myself. And I have had the opportunity to see the results of my child-rearing skills in comparison to my straight counterparts. I’m not saying that I did a super job. However, my children have all finished high school, gone on to college (my youngest son starts college this fall), and none have been to jail. That’s a lot more than some of my straight friends can say about their kids. So it’s not your gender or sexual orientation that plays a key in the development of a child; it is the commitment and time invested in their lives.
What Cosby said was relevant to what is lacking in today’s society. I’m glad that some of the people who attended became uncomfortable. Nothing like someone letting you have the truth. Many of the youth today are headed in a dangerous direction which will land them in jail or the morgue. I was really glad that Cosby came. It was a wakeup call for Kansas City and other metropolitan cities. It time to take on the responsibility of being parents.

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