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We Need More Support and Less Judgement In The Black Community!

Can you believe we only have 63 days left until our family repatriates to Africa? As the time draws near, we have experienced everything from anxiousness to pure excitement in our household. All of the emotions and the concerns associated with a move like this can be a little taxing. What makes things more difficult is when you lack a proper support system to help you process all of the thoughts running through your head.

Unfortunately we haven't been blessed with the familial support that one would desire and or need when making such a life changing decision. You may have read our previous blog "Build Your Village Before You Move" that discussed the necessity of building a support system prior to your move.  If you have not read it yet, we would suggest taking a look at it. For the Parks family, our support system has come in the form of wonderful people we are meeting along the way. We are very fortunate to have great people in our lives whom have either made the journey already, or are planning to do something similar to what we are about to do. Through them we have been able to process our feelings, get advice on preparation and planning, get information on options for schooling our son, and other things that one may be concerned about prior to moving abroad. Although we would have more than likely still pushed forward with our intended plan to move without these individuals, it would be much more difficult to manage all of this if we didn't have them to lean on. 

We have come to learn that we are not alone when it comes to lacking family support. There have been other families, whom we have created relationships with that have expressed to us that their parents, siblings, other family members, and friends have been more discouraging than encouraging about their decisions. They have shown some type of disapproval when it comes to their decisions related to their move aboard, travel choices, pursuit of business, and/or choice to home-school their children. Some of these families are even considering abandoning their dreams or putting them on hold to appease their families.

It is has been very discouraging too see and hear the negativity that is displayed when a member of the black community decides to venture off the "beaten path." In my opinion, it appears as if our community, unlike other ethnic groups, tend to discredit any ideas that do not fit into what we have been taught or have become accustomed too. People still believe that the ideal life includes going to college, getting a "9 to 5," buying a house, getting married, and having kids. If you don't accomplish these things are at least most of these things you are looked at as some type of failure. If you decide that you would like to take a different path in life that may not include any of these things, the opinions roll in and the eyes roll back. It’s as if we believe we have been given the blueprint to life and anything outside of those plans is destined for destruction. Well guess what, times are changing and people like us have decided we are creating our own blueprint and taking control of our own destiny and the "haters" and "naysayers" can get on board or get left behind. This includes family as well.

Someone close to us told us that our idea to world-school our son was illogical because he would not have a stable life. In our minds we were thinking there are hundreds if not thousands of white families who have made world-schooling their lifestyle and their children seem to be very happy. In addition, these families are receiving nothing but love and support from their families and/or friends. However, in the black community, these types of ideas are always labelled as illogical, irrational, or impossible. We tend to put limitation on ourselves or allow others' opinions to dictate what we can accomplish. I'm starting to believe people can't support something they can't comprehend. Most of our parents and or friends have a hard time wrapping their minds around some of these ideas because of the lack of exposure in their own lives, lack of knowledge about the world around them, and sheer fear. People also tend to discourage you from accomplishing things they are too scared to try themselves. How dare you try to live a life with no limitations, while they struggle to get through a life full of them. This "crab in the barrel" mentality is alive and well in our community and it tends to show up in the relationships that matter the most.   

Some of you will probably read this blog and think this blog is a generalization of the black community. However, this notion that we always support one another in our ventures is a fallacy which overshadows the reality of where we are current day as a people. The reality is that we have parents who scoff at the idea of forgoing college or leaving a great job to start one's own business. Or family members who prophesy disaster when you are venturing into a new journey. The idea that we cannot turn to our families and in some cases our friends when making these major life decisions, can cause one to question themselves and do what makes others feel comfortable. Frankly this isn't fair and is a bit disheartening. We are not saying they don't love us, but what we are saying is their support tends to become conditional when they disagree with your choices or they feel left behind. 

The overarching point is, don't allow other people’s insecurities and/or opinions keep you from chasing your dreams. Life is for the living! For those of us seeking to live life to the fullest, surround yourself with like-minded people who will invest in you and you can do the same in return. Dare to venture off the beaten path and take the road less traveled. Provide support to our people who are trying something different because "we" need it more than you may realize! 

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  1. Hello! Congratulations on your decision to move to an African country! Which country? I've lived abroad, in both China and Ghana, with a set of 8 year old twins. I can understand not being supported in your families decision. Just know that there ARE others who think like you, and your support will definitely come from them. You have my FULL support! I would love to speak with you further regarding this! Best wishes to you and your family! -Khalifa-

    1. Hello queen! We will be in Ghana. Lets connect!

  2. I really like your post, especially your observation about how our community is less open to alternative lifestyles than other ethnic groups. While I have to say, having lived in Asia for so long, they too are pretty demanding of each other and strict about ideas of success and happiness. But what I think you are really speaking about and I hope I'm not putting words into your mouth, is that when we don't agree or even understand some of the varying life choices of our sisters and brothers, we pretty much cut them off, stop being supportive and leave them out in the cold, on the outside to find a like-minded tribe where a cultural tribe may not exist. I'm hoping the mixed blessing of today's social climate will actually bring us together and remind us that we are in fact stronger together. Good luck on your new adventure!

  3. Great read. I'm finishing up a stint in Korea and hope to move on to the Middle East thereafter. Hold your heads high and keep globe trotting! The world is just as much ours as anyone else's! You have a new subscriber!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement queen. Maybe we will cross paths one day. Happy globetrotting!