Not Raised Ghetto

I went off to college and afterwards took a job away from home. However, I always come home for holidays to see my mom and my family. My grandmother was a school teacher, and she insisted we all go off to college to get our degrees, and we did. Well, this Mother’s day I came home, and we had the family dinner at my mom’s house with all my aunts and cousins. I told my cousin that I needed some shoes, and she suggested we go to International Mall. She said she would pick me up. I was pleased, expecting it to be like old times. On our way to the Mall, as I listened to the things coming out of her mouth, I concluded my cousin is just ghetto now. How, and when did that happen? Maybe it’s been brewing for years, and I just finally accepted it. But this bothers me to my core. What led me to this conclusion is that she was cursing like a sailor, she was loud for no dang reason; her driving was too aggressive--almost to the point of road rage, and her conversation was so negative. Not only that, she had that ghetto look. I’m not going to tell you exactly what that looks like, as I am sure we all have our own concept of “ghetto,” but her stomach kept coming out from under her top and it was not a pretty sight. All of a sudden, I could feel my blood pressure begin to rise. Grandmother and our moms did not raise us to be like that. Furthermore, I don’t like the company she keeps or attracts.

Girlfriend I love my cousins but this is too much for me right now. We were a well respected family and I worked hard to maintain a good and positive image for my family.  I heard her children are always in trouble and they are ruining our family’s name. We could probably help her more with them but she never brings them to the family functions and she never seems to ever knows where they are. It has dawned on me that my cousin and my family is going down. I know she reads this paper because I got a copy from her. Please give us some advice on how to repair and save our family.

Not Raised Ghetto

Dear Not Raised Ghetto,

All families have challenges and all families have members that fall to the way side but the best thing we can do...is not run away from them but include them in our life and lifestyle. You were blessed to leave and were exposed to bigger and better so you are bigger and better, and expect bigger and better. The change you want to see in your family begins with you. Don’t leave them alone but keep them in the fold so they can remember who they are and see all they can be.

If your cousin is not dressed appropriately, say so. Speak up! Tell her “girl you looked a hot mess in that.” All she can do is either laugh or cuss you out but at least she still heard you. Better yet, bring her something to wear to replace what she had on and then tell her, “Now you can throw that mess away you had on the other day.” and laugh Remember, you are not trying to make a new friend, you are family and family should help mold and encourage each other. “Iron sharpens iron” You are both iron. If you do not like something, say it! If she is too loud say shhh, you too loud . She may get mad but if she loves you like you seem to think and your relationship is strong, she will accept your comments with love.

As far as her children are concerned, you and your family are the village. If they are failing, that means you all are failing. We are our brothers keeper. Stop waiting on the kids to come to you and go to them. However, when you go, come bearing gifts. Children do not care what you think unless they think you care. My aunts and uncles always came with something for us and we were always excited to see them coming. It was usually was a 50-cent piece or a couple of dollars, sometimes a piece of jewelry or a coin purse. Nothing expensive, but something that showed that they cared and were thinking about us. So when you see her children, hug them, give them a compliment and a bit of encouragement. When someone is messing up, they know it. Let them know what you are expecting from them. In other words, pump dreams into them like your grandma did you. Be patient, and do it with love...

Tampa Bay Tammy

Tampa Bay Tammy is COO of N-TOUCH News. She gives advice through her column Dear Girlfriend to entertain and enlighten her readers from near and far. 

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