Ok, first of all – what in the world am I doing writing a blog on parenting? Just who the hell do I think I am? First and foremost I am not a parenting expert! Not by a long shot. And while I did major in Child Development and Family Relations in college, worked for many years in Youth Minitry and teen empowerment programs – I’d be the first to say that all of that, while informative and good in its own right, is not the same as raising a child.
But as a minister of 12 years I do know something about building community, diving in head first without a clue as to what I was doing and figuring it out as I went along – with the help and guidance of my colleagues, friends and mentors. So, that is exactly how this project is starting. But let me back up for just a second and tell you how the vision unfolded….
About two years ago, after many a trial and tribulation in the world of relationships, which included a aborted engagement, a failed marriage, among other adventures – I met the most amazing women on the planet! Every relationship I had in the past prepared me to receive this one – the one! For most of my dating life, she was literally on the other side of the planet, but I called her forth in my heart and just needed to cultivate patience. Skip forward now through all the mussy romantic stuff, we are living together, married and expecting a baby boy in December 2016. While it will be my first biological child, it will be her second and I am blessed to be a part of her 11 year old son’s life. And it is there that this story begins.
One summer day, this amazingly sweet, innocent and energetic 10 year old boy was out in the neighborhood playing with a friend who lived two doors down. While I was out watering the garden in the yard, I could hear them playing and then running down the ally way. My step son called out to me and yelled “David! Look what we are playing!” And he then waved a toy gun made of Legos – all black Legos. I froze. After composing myself, I told him to give the toy back to his friend who had made it and tell him to go home. “It’s time to come inside for a while” I told him.
Now, as a child I played with toy guns, had some very realistic ones in fact. I loved GI-JOE and played all that while his age. But you see, my step-son is an African Amercan boy with dreadlocks (at the time), and the image of him running through the neighborhood with a toy gun made of Legos, struck a chord in me. While I would likely have thought nothing of it if it were his white friend running down the ally with another white friend, it struck me as dangerously inappropriate for my step-son. It was all too sobering realize that the difference in reaction based on race was a byproduct of race relations and police violence in today’s world. Suddenly, being involved in this young man’s life made me question, in ways I had not done before, what kind of world are we creating? More pointedly – what am I going to do about it.
I knew then that I had to do something. Shortly after this incident – my wife and I discovered that we were pregnant. Not only was I going to help raise this young man with her, but now I was going to have one of my own – talk about diving in and figuring it out along the way…. What The Family is going on here?!
So, humbly I am asking you to join me in this family adventure. Fortunately I know some really great people who have been parenting and blogging, teaching and training in the parenting realms for any years – I’m inviting them all to join in the village of wisdom and shared experience in hopes that we can inspire each other and other parents to have New Thoughts on Parenting.
– David A., humble step-father, and expectant father
David Alexander, received his bachelors in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of New Mexico in 2000 and was worked with adolescents in a variety of settings from ministry programs to treatment facilities. David is the founding minister of New Thought Center for Spiritual Living in Lake Oswego Oregon – a family based ministry dedicated to helping make the world a better place. David lives in the Portland area with his wife, step-son and dog with the expected new bundle to arrive in Demeber 2016.