Words of Wisdom ~ Public Speaker, Creator of WOWbyChar, &
U of WA Student. Chardonnay Beaver
Transparency: Past, Present, and Future
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines transparency (or transparent) in three parts. First, transparency means to be free from pretense and deceit. Second, easily understood. Third, and my favorite, to be characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices. In short, my community and family is my business and how we practice transparency in the Black community is imperative to the development of our descendents. Throughout history Black Americans have been tasked with digging and seeking their true history. We have used storytelling as a form of healing to defy the labels that Western and Euro-centric narratives have labeled us as.
For example, Tyler Perry, Ava DeVernay, Spike Lee and artists alike have told our stories from our stand-point. Whether we approve or disapprove of their approach, Black folks resonate with the stories told in their films because we see ourselves through the roles portrayed. To that point, the stories that are in our families are destined to serve a purpose. Family secrets are like missing chapters out of a book, you never fully understand the essence of the story. Again, whether we approve or disapprove of the content of these secrets, they are a disservice to the overall dynamic of our families.
For that reason, imagine if we practice transparency; if we address our familial history to lay the pavement for generations to come. We often dismiss topics like abuse, mental illness and health, addiction, as well as many other topics that seem to get ‘swept under the rug’. Furthermore, when significant stories of the past go unspoken, when we do not learn from history, when we do not work to unlearn self-destructive behaviors, the past meets the present and the future awaits something new. For that reason, I believe in generational curse. Full disclaimer, I do not consider myself superstitious, but spiritual.
Generational curses are caused by the wrongdoings of an ancestor/elder that are passed down through generations as a result of unaddressed or unresolved behaviors, habits, and beliefs. To elaborate, as children we are observant of behaviors and habits because we are impressionable. The mind of a child is like a blank canvas. When adults instill beliefs and display behaviors in front of their children, children will become adults with established morality (good or bad, right or wrong,). This results in a canvas full of colors and designs all shaped by good or bad examples. On the contrary, I also believe in generational blessings. Which are built on the foundation of diligence and character. I describe these blessings as all the things money can’t buy (peace, confidence, joy, kindness, dedication, etc.).
In closing, when we practice transparency in our families it echoes a greater dialogue based on ownership and pride. We own our traumatic past and take pride in the new chapters ahead. I urge you to first be transparent with yourself because there are generations of youth who need to be grounded in their roots and history; who deserve to know their background (whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’) so they can pave the way for their descendents to come. Be a good ancestor!