by Diane Cameron (c)2004 7K Publishing
There has been quite a lot of talk lately about reconciliation. Presidents and Governmental dignitaries offering apologies for a variety of atrocities seeking redemption and healing between nations and people. We often read accounts of Ambassadors of Peace brokering plans designed to heal conflicts and disputes nation to nation. Sunday mornings are full of men and women of the cloth guiding the misguided, lost and the weary to repentance and reconciliation to the Creator. One wonders if “apologizing” is the new “ethically correct” buzzword. It would be such a tragedy if it became the “it” thing to do devoid of real remorse.
I remember as a child, whenever I was locked in a dispute with my playmates, my mother’s mode of resolution would be to scold me and demand I say “I’m sorry”, whether I was the guilty party or not. I recall saying those words out of obedience immediately going back to play, forgetting why we had been in disagreement.
As I became older, it was much harder to ask for forgiveness, for it was often peppered with me offering a hint of self-righteous justification. In latter days, I would easily become my own lawyer, vehemently defending myself, hold a juryless trial declaring my own innocence whenever accusations and blame were hurled in my direction. It's been said, "There are two sides to every story.” The only problem with this analogy is everyone believes theirs is the side that’s right.
So what did we do? We grew into adulthood skilled with a storehouse of defensive ways to persuade most folks into thinking we had it all together, explaining away our imperfections as simply personality quirks or eccentricities, while having little to no tolerance for the weaknesses and frailties of others. As a teenager, I remember keeping mental notes of what I perceived as gross injustices imposed on me by my mother. I remember thinking her sole purpose on earth was to make me miserable. Defiantly, I purposed in my heart to be the perfect mother, determined to avoid making the same "mistakes" with my children, especially my daughters.
As an African American mother, the task of raising daughters has its joys and challenges. There are pressures and issues akin only to African Americans as I am sure also exist in other nationalities, but I'm sharing with you from my perspective. As an adult I began to form trusting relationships with other Sisters and found that they too started out the parental journey with the same determinations of being perfect parents raising perfect children.
I would love to ascribe to you that I've received a PHD with possible induction into the Mother's Hall of Fame ... but alas...I didn't get enough votes. In fact, I found the more I tried to avoid recreating the painful, the unpleasant and just downright miserable influences for my daughters…the more I failed. How did this happen? Why isn't there a handbook? What happened to my good intentions? Don't they count?
I remembered the words of that brave African President apologizing to nations for deeds that happened 400 years before he was born. So I pondered that if I would apologize to all African American Daughters for the pain and heartache they have been subjected to on behalf of well meaning mothers and mothers who didn’t know how to mean well, it would initiate our own personal healing process. [SEE CANADA APOLOGIZES]
The infractions listed below were the top twenty-four confessions derived and compiled after conferring with other African American Mothers who, too, were seeking forgiveness of their daughters. Some of you may find this list offensive, while many of you may see yourselves. It doesn't matter; I am not trying to win a literary contest with this narrative. Just as I was admonished to say, "I'm sorry" in childhood disputes, this writing is penned with the same sense of duty. Many daughters, no matter where they are now in life, have felt this way at some point in their lives and I feel it is my calling as a writer and an African American Mother to apologize to every daughter for myself, mothers who can't and those who won't. Some of these "sins" I have committed, some I have not, many I am quite appalled by and all I am ashamed of.... but they are here in black and white nevertheless and several points on this list are colorless, meaning they could apply to anyone. If you see yourself...free yourself.
A Prayer of Confession for African American Mothers
Dear African American Daughters,
You are precious, you are a Queen and have overcome many, many setbacks. Please forgive every transgressor and transgression committed against you, and then, you will find healing for yourselves. We love you. I love you and God loves you. You are a survivor, an over-comer and deserving of so much more than I was able to give. As you become a mother, let the fruit of your womb call you blessed. Collectively, we are sorry.
Forgive me. Forgive us.
Every Mother Who Has Ever Hurt A Daughter
Written by singwriteact2 - (Link to this entry)