Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis
I see the smirk on my Mom’s face and her index finger on her right hand wagging at me as she exclaims, “Oh, you gone learn, oh you gone learn, because a hard head makes a soft behind, Cassandra!” Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?” If my acting game was on par, then I might even drop an innocent tear or two to sell my case. But, my Mother never fell for the okie doke.
The expression, A hard head makes a soft behind refers to a person who insists on learning things the hard way or prefers to make their own mistakes, instead of adhering to the advice of someone who has overcome what they are experiencing.
So, why is that? Why do we choose the hard ways of life, instead of listening to the wisdom of others? I know I would have avoided many pitfalls when I was younger if I had stopped trying to be Miss Know-It-All or Miss I’m Grown-You Can’t Tell Me Anything. There are times we don’t realize our poor decisions also affects those around us. I know my decisions affected my family and my children, who I brought into the world at the age of 17.
One decision from 30 years ago still lingers with me. I’ll share a brief snapshot.
After catching 3 buses and 2 rail lines to get home from work, I walked to the babysitter’s apartment who kept my 18-month-old sons from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, after the daycare center closed (and before you comment, yes, I researched her before I allowed her to keep my sons, spoke with other parents whose children she kept and made sure she didn’t have any record for abusing her own children). I walked in to see one of my sons had scratch marks all over his face and upon further inspection I found whip marks on his back and legs. I was confused, angry, hurt and devastated. I asked the neighbor coming home from work to call the police and my roommate called my parents. I know sometimes things happen beyond our control, but let’s follow this thread of my decision back to the beginning.
- I made an adult decision at 17 to have unprotected sex.
- I made the decision to bring my sons into this world, care for and protect them, even though I only had $3k in the bank and at the time of their premature birth, no job.
- I made the decision to place my sons in the care of that babysitter.
My sons don’t remember this occurrence but it resonates with me because I failed to protect them both from experiencing the physical and psychological abuse. Sometimes, we make decisions without knowing or understanding the full scope of what that decision entails.
My parents made the decision that they would care for my sons from that point forward when I needed them to. As I worked 2 jobs and attended my college courses, my parents took my sons on family vacations with them, along with my two sisters. My parents helped me nurse my sons when they were extremely ill, all while they continued to work as well. My sons and my family experienced the growing pains of me maturing and learning how to be a mother, a provider and protector.
Our world is full of hard heads with soft behinds, but unfortunately, many of the behinds have gotten numb to the hard lessons of life. It is my prayer that we all observe and learn from the experiences of others, and seek advice from those who gained wisdom from their experience. This is one of the ways for us to empower each other to live a more productive and purpose driven life.
This journey called life continues to teach each of us, we are never to old to learn something new or to receive wisdom. It is a fool who ignores wisdom, to erroneously justify that their age quantifies them as an adult that knows everything.
What have my life experiences taught me thus far?
- Don’t allow my pride to keep me from obtaining wisdom from others.
- Don’t allow my mouth to write a check my behind can’t cash. (Another good ole saying)!! In other words, it’s easy to make a decision, but am I able to survive or live with the consequences of my decision.
- My support tribe (safety nets) don’t abandon me, but I can wear out my safety nets by abusing them.
- My Life is mine, so I choose to own it and not blame it away.