My Parents screwed me up a little bit.

I’ve always disagreed with my parents. They were young, inexperienced adults who never quite broke into the professional careers they wanted. My mom settled as a nurse and my dad, a tech engineer. They made good, honest money, took care of their kids and gave us life long values that have helped us become decent American citizens. For that I’m grateful, but at the same time I’ve always yearned for more.

I was a mildly chatty kid who turned into a mildly chatty adult. Why am I chatty? Because when I was young, my opinion was seen as a disrespectful shot at authority. Discipline softened my angles on issues, which I can’t fully say distorted things – but I do struggle with perspective. My ability to observe and develop a sturdy amount of patience was built during my rough teen years. But what I notice as an adult is the capacity to maneuver through complicated conversations, answer tough questions and resolve complex issues is all developed through verbalizing strong thoughts. As an aspiring journalist, thought and voice is the meat and potatoes to any work.

Growing up in a black, traditional, very christian household deafened my ear to hear, critically think and develop solid feedback as one fluid process. It’s something that I had to work on, and I still do. The oldest of 5, my role was quite clear: follow and don’t talk back. I was a child who understood the silent rule of “no opinions.” I’m not blaming religion, but I see many times that children sharing thoughts is often misinterpreted as inappropriate boldness or for my people fluent in ebonics, plain old “fresh.”

Your child is thinking and creating! Let them say what they have to say! Obviously, I’m not supporting youngins to curse, spew hate or just be outright rude because of their “opinions,” but it’s necessary for growth. I can only thank God for my rebellious spirit that I haven’t lost it looking back on some of the times I was silenced because of actual adequate reasoning I had. But I always fought.

As we watch the inauguration of our new leader, My family delves into conversations that often get heated. Stuck in a certain mindset, it’s still hard to get them to see things but they’re inching. Though I see my parents glaze with disappointment on some of my takes on issues, I know how important my thoughts diversify against theirs. We need that in the world.

So to my mom and dad, I love you, respect you, adore you guys presence but, NO, I don’t agree…

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