Have you ever wished for a handbook that could help you train your children to become upstanding, responsible, and successful adults?
Unfortunately, many parents feel compelled to raise their children in the same way they were raised, despite the fact that the world is very different than it was when they were children. As a result they may be destined to repeat mistakes their parent's made and they risk failing to give their children valuable tools they may need to succeed.
Dr. Johnny Holloway, the founder and senior pastor of Cup of Salvation Deliverance Church & Ministries in Durham, North Carolina, helps you transform your approach with this faith-based guide to parenting. Learn how to:
• build relationships with children based on love and respect;
• recognize when children are going through difficult times;
• help children confront and overcome the problems they face; and
• set high but reasonable expectations for children.
Even if you grew up in a loving home, you can improve upon the way you were raised and give your children the tools they need to navigate life's toughest challenges.
Overcome your doubts and fears, and join the author as he looks back at his own upbringing and explores how to Train Up A Child.
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Read an Excerpt
Train Up A Child
Timeless Strategies for Guiding a Child into Mature Adulthood
By Johnny Holloway
iUniverseCopyright © 2016 Dr. Johnny Holloway
All rights reserved.
THE BOTTOM STEP OF HELL
I experienced one of the most significant moments of my life, when I was only six years old. This signature moment revealed to me that my life was not normal, at least not according to my understanding of what normalcy was supposed to look like. I wasn't yet old enough to compare my life with the lives of my peers, but I was old enough to know that something wasn't right. I remember sitting on the bottom step of a rickety staircase in a dilapidated building that my parents called home. I didn't call it home; I called it "hell". I believe my parents tried to raise me as best they could, but sadly many times while they were busy raising me, they sometimes failed to train me. I'm sure the parenting approaches they used were probably very common for that era, but it was extremely clear that no one had trained my parents to be parents. Today, it saddens me to realize how unprepared my parents were, but back then it angered me. I was a six years old kid, who wanted a life similar to that of Beaver Cleaver.
Beaver Cleaver was a boy about my age, who starred in a popular television show called, "Leave it to Beaver." The show represented his life as being a normal life for a kid my age. He had two loving and attentive parents who cared about what he thought and how he felt. He had an older brother, who protected him and talked to him about guy issues. They seemed to be a happy family and everyone seemed to care about Beaver, despite the fact that he was a goofy kid who got into all kinds of silly trouble. I wasn't a goofy kid and I didn't get into silly trouble, so why couldn't I have his kind of normal life? I was too young to realize that television was only pretense; I thought I was actually watching his real life. I thought he had the normalcy that I didn't have and desperately wanted. I believed that my parents were supposed to make normalcy happen, and when they didn't, I was greatly disappointed.
As I grew older, I invented various excuses for my parent's shortcomings, but my excuses only served to highlight the fact that my home life was a mess. Despite (or perhaps because of ) my parent's lack of training strategies and techniques, I grew up confused and mistrustful of almost everyone. I don't want to blame my parents for not parenting me according to my expectations, because they weren't required to meet my expectations. However, I should learn from their mistakes and I should be held accountable for doing a better job of training my children. I should also accept full responsibility for leaving a legacy of effective parenting strategies to my grandchildren. My parents gave me a fighting chance, but I want to give my children and grandchildren a chance to win ... not simply to fight.
There is another crucial piece of my puzzle that I must also introduce. My parents didn't teach me to honor them and they also didn't teach me to love them. They taught me to obey them and their parenting strategies seemed to have been primarily focused on accomplishing that specific goal. While I am happy that my parents taught me to obey them, I wish they had also taught me to honor and love them. I wish they had required (or even desired to have) a loving relationship between them and me. I missed the training on how to develop and maintain warm, compassionate and affectionate relationships. It might have made a difference had I received such training. Today, as an older man with a great deal more wisdom and experience, I firmly believe that parents should establish loving relationships with their children. In fact, I believe that parents should establish loving relationships with their children as vigorously, if not more vigorously, than they establish rules for their children to follow. I wish I had known that as a younger parent.CHAPTER 2
My father was distant; and when he wasn't distant, he was often mentally and verbally abusive to me. Mommy was inconsistent and dispassionate at times, while being clingy (almost needy) at other times. As her oldest son, she sometimes seemed to want me to fulfill certain of my father's roles in her life, but she was also quick to put me in my place (without notification) if she felt that I had extended myself too far into adult affairs. It was confusing and upsetting for me, because I couldn't comprehend the depths of Mommy's adult hurt. All I could do was watch her cry and vainly attempt to console her. I felt a strong need to intervene on her behalf, but I didn't know how to intervene without intruding. So, I sometimes inserted myself into adult affairs without knowing how far was too far?
How far is too far when Mommy spends half of her waking hours crying and the other half worrying about where your father is and when he'll be coming home? How far is too far when Mommy is all you have, because your support system is hundreds of miles away? How far is too far when Mommy looks at you with so much hurt in her eyes that you would gladly agree to commit a serious crime, if it would make Mommy feel better and not be so sad? And then Mommy shoots you down without warning, because "you're messing in grown folk's business", "you're getting too big for your britches" or "you need to watch your mouth before you get spanked." Nevertheless, I forgave her every single time no matter how much she hurt me, because after all she was Mommy.
I adored Mommy and I desperately wanted to please and protect her. Most of the time, she seemed to genuinely cherish the bond we shared, but at random times (and without warning), she would use my adoration against me. While her behavior was baffling to me, I reasoned that she acted that way to promote her position with my father. Though I really hated my situation, I was more than willing to make the sacrifices for Mommy, so she could be happy. She was important to me, my father was important to her and I was important to no one. I had watched enough "Leave it to Beaver" to know that this wasn't normal, but it was ok.
Mommy really wanted my father to like her. When he didn't give her the attention or affection she needed she would sometimes sacrifice our relationship, on the altar of their relationship, to curry favor with him. I resented those sacrificial offerings and I regarded them as Mommy choosing him over me. Looking back, it was during those times that I began to deeply resent my father. He passed away before I realized that it was wrong for me to resent him as I had. Regrettably, he died without receiving an apology from me.
Mommy's primary focus was pleasing my father, while his primary focus was chasing the American dream of making some money. As a Black man during the 50's and early 60's, making money was easier said than done. He was a trained machinist, who could find a job almost anytime he wanted, but he basically refused to work for anyone else. He moved our family to a northern industrial city to position himself for better job opportunities that he never pursued, because he really didn't want to work for anyone. He wanted to own a business. He was outgoing and knew how to make friends easily. Most people saw him as a successful man, with lots of potential. He was the life of any party and well admired by men and women alike. Eventually, he did own several businesses, but he wasn't a very astute businessman. Ultimately, he was an under-employed entrepreneur, who was not highly educated, but he was extremely ambitious and very smart. I was in awe of his confidence; and in a strange way, I was quite proud of him. I admired the fact that he was very smart, but that was probably an exacerbating factor in our non-relationship.
My father and I matched intellects often, but the intense rivalry deeply wounded me. I knew I wasn't capable of competing with him, but I felt someone had to stand up to him. Mommy wouldn't, so I didn't feel that I had a choice. I had to show Mommy that we didn't need this man who would hurt her so badly. Meanwhile, he was trying to show her that they didn't need a smart mouthed kid, who didn't know how to stay in his place. Over the years, he and I genuinely came to dislike each other. While Mommy was often caught between us, she was unable (or unwilling) to offer either of us much support.
This brings me back to the moment when I was sitting on the bottom stair of Hell pondering the thought that my father had let the family down, again. I remember entertaining the notion that I might actually have been smarter than he was, in some ways. I can't remember the details of what he had done (or failed to do), but whatever it was I couldn't understand it. I was disappointed, frustrated and very angry. I was also fearful of what my future might look like, under my father's continued inept leadership. My prospects appeared to be so desperate that I felt overwhelmed and demoralized. I was only six years old, but I remember sitting on that step, like it was yesterday. It was my first signature moment.
This is not an uncommon occurrence in the lives of young children. Sadly, many children find themselves in similarly desolate situations. My level of awareness might have been a bit rare, because I am a naturally sensitive and observant person. However, all children experience life vicariously through their closest relationships and often more intensely than their adult caretakers realize. Children need assurances of stability, because they are basically powerless to influence their environment. When a significant adult has a problem, dependent children bear the weight of that problem and usually without any intimate knowledge of the problem. Like many children, I lived in the midst of my parent's problems without being included in intimate discussions concerning how decisions were made, and having no ability to mitigate the effect their problems had on my life. Amazingly, my parent's seemed oblivious to my perceptions of our home life, but I don't think that's uncommon either.
While I don't remember all of the details of that day, it seemed that afterwards neither of my parents were inclined to make me a priority anymore. Mommy was usually sick or sullen and she increasingly relied upon me to take care of her. At first I didn't mind, because I took it to mean that I had won the competition for her affections. However, it was a hollow victory, because she seemed to progressively descend into sadness, which also made me sad. I felt utterly forsaken. Ironically, my father appeared to resent my attempts to take care of her. He didn't seem interested in making her happy, but he didn't want me to do it either. The whole situation was like a love triangle ... without the love.
My father and I competed for Mommy, for several more years, until the day that I suddenly and finally quit. I stopped competing for Mommy on the day that she killed me emotionally; and from that day forth, I never called her Mommy again. On that day, she became my Mother.CHAPTER 3
LET IT GO
"My Mother gave me up when I was four years old. She didn't destroy my body, but she killed my soul. That was cold."
Those are the opening lyrics of a Kirk Franklin song entitled, "Let It Go". Perhaps the first 50 times that I heard the song, I wept uncontrollably. I think that song ministered to me as much as any song I have ever heard. Thanks Kirk! You really helped me. I needed to let it go! Kirk's story is not my story, nor is my story his; but the parallels are compelling to me. When I was nine years old, my Mother did something that changed my life and our relationship. She clearly and definitively chose my father in an unexpected and very painful manner. Perhaps, she did what she felt she needed to do for herself (or even for me), I don't know. I do know that her actions changed my life both dramatically and traumatically.
I won't discuss the details of what happened, because it's not necessary to make my point. My point is that children are too often wounded by a parent's insensitive remark or careless action (or inaction). While the indiscretion may be unintentional, the wounds are indelible. Some children internalize emotional distress, until it progresses into a deep psychological wound, because a preoccupied or otherwise unconcerned parent said or did something without stopping to consider the impact of his words or actions. I can relate to the loneliness, emptiness and abandonment that a divorcee might endure, because it hurt me to my emotional core when my mother rejected me. When a child absorbs deep emotional pain from a parent, he may never completely heal. He may even project his childhood hurt onto his child. In fact, hurt may become the legacy he leaves to future familial generations.
My mother never acknowledged my pain. She never seemed to notice that I was grief-stricken or care that something was profoundly different about our relationship. I felt that she had traded me like a commodity, in exchange for a short interval of my father's favor. She seemed to assume that she could just resume her Mommy role in my life, whenever she wanted, and it made me feel cheap and disposable. I didn't offer her a legitimate opportunity to restore our close mother- son relationship and we never discussed it until I was almost fifty years old. In fairness to her, I procrastinated when it came to instigating this discussion, because I simply didn't want to talk about it. I had many earlier opportunities to tell her how I felt and I certainly should have forgiven her much sooner. We lost valuable time that we will never recover, because my mother recently passed away.
Back then, I felt that I had been robbed of everything that meant anything to me and I wasn't in a forgiving frame of mind. My prevailing thought was that I didn't want to live with my parents anymore. I wanted out no matter what. For all practical purposes, my life seemed to have ended, at nine years of age. Amazingly, after three years of existing in Hell, things had actually gotten worse. It's terrible that a child would feel he isn't wanted in his own home, yet many children experience such feelings.
Children can sometimes feel like pawns in adult relationship games, when mothers choose fathers (or other men) over them, or fathers abandon them (often without leaving home). Some parents choose drugs, alcohol, work or play over cultivating a caring relationship with their children. Such children often feel so displaced or unloved that they readily settle for or actively pursue negative parental attention. Some children internalize feelings of abandonment, loneliness and emptiness into adulthood and even into parenthood. Children have no power and lack any ability to influence their home situation, which makes them perfect victims. My parents might disagree, but I felt like a victim during my childhood.CHAPTER 4
Adolescence is a very difficult stage for some children to endure, because hormonally it can be as erratic as a three-ring circus and emotionally it can have all of the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. While mommy issues seem to torment some adolescents, others anguish over daddy issues. Some adolescents are afflicted with both mommy and daddy issues ... We might categorize them as having MAD issues. During my adolescent years, I had MAD issues. You had probably already grasped that I had mommy and daddy issues, but I don't think you can fully appreciate the depth of my adolescent anger. I felt that life had cheated me and I blamed anyone and everyone, except my maternal grandmother and myself. I was an allegorical loaded gun that was ready and willing to fire anytime, and in almost any direction. Anger made me indifferent, insensitive, mistrustful and uncaring. It isolated, insulated, fortified and barred me from permitting anyone to hurt me again. While the insulation of anger prevented me from incurring further emotional damage, its protective coverage came at a high price. Anger's protective shield prohibited me from receiving love and inhibited me from actively loving anyone. Love appeared to be a needless risk that I shouldn't assume and an emotional expense that I couldn't afford. Instead of being motivated by love, as an adolescent ought to be, I was fueled by anger, as many adolescents are today.
Anger is a powerful emotional weapon that creates fertile opportunities for bad things to transpire. An adolescent who emerges from a dysfunctional home has little preparation to live harmoniously with society. He may behave in negative ways to attract attention, because most adults either aren't inclined or equipped to help him deal with the toxic effects of his anger. Unfortunately, many adults appear to be afraid of angry adolescents and hope that their fear goes undetected. When fearful adults segregate themselves from angry adolescents, it creates a paranoia that is rooted in mutual ignorance. In much the same way that racism inherently engenders discrimination and a consequential negative response, the paranoia that separates fearful adults from angry adolescents also provokes consequential negative responses. It is this consequential negative response that causes many adolescents to feel compelled to display negative behaviors.
Excerpted from Train Up A Child by Johnny Holloway. Copyright © 2016 Dr. Johnny Holloway. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsA Foreword From My Firstborn Son: Derrick, ix,
A Foreword From My Daughter: Linda, xi,
A Foreword From My Youngest Son: Terrence, xiii,
Chapter One The Bottom Step of Hell, 1,
Chapter Two Mommy, 3,
Chapter Three Let It Go, 7,
Chapter Four Mad, 9,
Chapter Five A Credit To My Race, 13,
Chapter Six Rumble, Young Man, Rumble, 17,
Chapter Seven Married With Children, 23,
Chapter Eight Predictive Social Values, 26,
Chapter Nine Predictive Spiritual Values, 31,
Chapter Ten Six Developmental Parenting Stages, 35,
Chapter Eleven Parenting Instructive Processes, 40,
Chapter Twelve The Infancy Years, 42,
Chapter Thirteen The Foundational Years, 50,
Chapter Fourteen The Childhood Years, 57,
Chapter Fifteen The Adolescent Years, 70,
Chapter Sixteen Interlude, 83,
Chapter Seventeen The Early Adult Years, 88,
Chapter Eighteen The Young Adult Years, 98,