My father was a quiet man of action. I never heard him say that he wanted to be an example of a man with a strong work ethic who provided for his family and comforted his children, but that’s what I saw, and that’s the type of man I wanted. Though my father had strong character that I sought in men I dated, I wished my father had given me clear dos and don’ts when deciding who’s company I would keep. He didn’t get involved because he said he didn’t want to be judgmental. I embraced a legacy that he, intentionally or unintentionally, left me that was good and challenging for me. I have a husband with a strong work ethic who is a provider and comforter, but trying to recognize someone like him without major character flaws took me on a journey due, in part, to my father’s hands-off, “non-judgmental” approach with my dating.
As I thought about my dad’s legacy, my strong black woman one, especially in light of trying to impart a non-Jezebel-like response to my sons, and how I have been challenging my discipleship group to meet their goals, I began to ask “What type of legacy do you want to leave?” For me this question caused me to think beyond the “I want to be a good wife and a mother” response that we typically say. This question forced me to delve into what attitudes and actions I have and if they lead to my being presently known as a supportive and submissive wife, a selfless and sacrificing mother, a wise spiritual leader and a penetrating writer. For the most part, according to others, I have a solid reputation in these areas. But without planning, not purposing to engage in certain behaviors and attitudes, I could easily leave a legacy I don’t intend. I don’t want to teach my sons to court a woman whose mantra seems to be “accept what I say and not what I do.” She says she is a Christian and goes to church, but she is the aggressor and constantly asserts her way. I don’t want them to see Jezebel in me and think she belongs in women so they pick a Jezebel. As I seek to leave a legacy, I am loosing and losing Jezebel so she has no intentional or unintentional part of me.
Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith