Updated: Oct 5, 2020
This is not a topic that many people want to talk about but if you care at all about the healing of the African American Families please read and share this.
While I spent time in Nigeria last year it was a life-changing experience. One obvious thing that stood out was the way they communicated with each other. I do not understand the native languages but I could tell whether they are speaking over the phone or in-person whether or not they are an elder or a peer.
The men greet the older woman as Madam and the Men as Sir. The women there were so embracing. They welcomed you and everyone showed each other respect.
This reminded me of my Late Auntie Tina. For years I use to call her Tina. I never even noticed that not calling her Auntie Tina was anything wrong or significant. For Some Reason, it was very natural to call her that. I called my other Aunts by their family nicknames without saying Auntie as well.
Before she passed she asked my sister and me, "Why don't you call me "Auntie Tina and why do you not call your Granddad, Granddad instead of his name Simmie"
I remember saying that " I did not know why" and she then explained that we should start doing it now. And I did. Not just for her and my Grandfather but for every elder in my family. Not just Craig, but Uncle Craig. Even my older cousins I would just call them Auntie even though they were cousins.
I taught my sons and I want to encourage parents specifically in the African American Communities to teach our youth to reference older people as Mr, Ms, Mrs, etc. No matter their age. In other words, a 25-year-old, still references a 35-year-old as Sir. This is not showing weakness this is showing honor to those who came before us.
I know someone may be thinking, it is too late for me to start doing this or to teach my children. I am not sure exactly when my Aunt brought this to my attention, but I do know that I was in my late 20s or early 30s. So it is never too late to spark a change in your family.
Till The Next,