Honor Thy (Estranged or Absent) Father and Mother?

by Stacia L. Brown

Earlier this week, Li’l Kim revealed that her estranged father, Linwood Jones, is now living with her, due to what she believes is early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Kim’s parents divorced when she was nine, as a result of her father’s abuse. However, she and her brother were left in their father’s custody, as he was the most financially stable parent. A former Army sargeant, Linwood Jones had strict rules for his household and, by her own account, Kim fought with him constantly until she eventually left home.  The rest, as we know, is hip-hop history.

Of her decision to move her father, with whom her adult relationship has been fractured, into her home, she had this to say:

“Well, I am a child of God,” she said. “I believe in God, and I also believe in the quote ‘honor thy mother and thy father.’ No matter what, I’m always going to be there for my family,” she said.

This begs the questions: is honor subjective? Should it be contingent on how your parents treated you growing up and/or how they treat you now? What are its limitations, if any? What all does it entail?

It’s a popular running joke that adult kids “threaten” to put their parents in a home, if they disagree with them or feel like they aren’t respecting their maturity. But what about in cases where there’s a legitimate estrangement, there was childhood abuse, or the parent was chronically or permanently absent? Should “honoring” them extend to taking on the responsibility of in-home care?

In interviews, Li’l Kim is downplaying the rockiness of her relationship with her dad, but at age 15, she famously stabbed him with a pair of scissors during a physical altercation, which led to her being kicked out of the house. Now that he can no longer care for himself, it’s admirable that she’s stepping in to assist in his daily care.

Under similar circumstances, would you?

  • Pam Pam

    No one can answer this question truthfully unless their in the situation.

  • Jaslene

    So he was physically abusive but still granted custody. o_O

  • https://twitter.com/#!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    “Well, I am a child of God,”

    And on that note,

    (•_•)

    ( •_•)>⌐■-■

    (⌐■_■)

  • Princess P

    *dead*

  • The Comment

    Agree. He was in the home with her. At least you can correlate being strict to being in the military. Wasn’t like he was strict for the hell of it.

    I don’t honor my father cause I didn’t meet my dad until I was 30 and I don’t call him dad. I call him by his first name which he hates. Father is a title you have to earn. The only honor he gets from me is a phone call twice a year.

    She probably recognizes that she is where she is today because he was strict. You never know.

  • Anon

    There are people and reasons why I’m fairly quiet about my faith.

  • Introverted Leo

    I do believe that honor is subjective. And yes, it should be contingent on how a parent treated their kid(s) growing up and how they treat them now.

  • http://www.congocapanilo.com Congocapanilo

    I have an absent biological father (never existed to me), and have experienced being abandoned by a parent – not just abandoned but harmed (directly or indirectly), sometimes deliberately, by their actions and statements. There is no room for honor, imo. I’ve received a passive apology, and then a direct apology of which they continued with the degrading, demeaning, neglectful and disrespectful actions towards me as an adult. There is no room for honor, because they aren’t giving me a chance to forgive, forget and move forward in having a progressive, loving and positive relationship with them. Instead, they want to go back there; take me back there; and try to impede my positive growth and evolution as a person, because they can’t, or just won’t, evolve. Some parents feel that they have a right to negatively impact your life, be it when you were legally in their care or after. They do not not, either way.

    You have to let those types of parents go. Surely, I favor the honor and forgiveness of parents, after all you have to be humble in knowing that if it wasn’t for someone else you wouldn’t even exist, but sometimes parents do so much harm that they just can’t, or deserve to, be honored.

  • starr

    i have a rocky relationship with my mother, and i still jump through hoops doing things for her, and would probably do the same thing kim did. Its hard to explain to be honest

  • Merci

    I didn’t understand that either. I read it 3x.

  • Beckie

    I grew up with an verbally and physically abusive father. He made my mother’s life a living hell. He alienated us from our extended family and friends. There were good times; but they were few and far between. I continued my relationship with him up until the age of 42. He was literally making me crazy with his overbearing ways and constant need for attention. He brought nothing but pain and angst to every interaction, whether over the phone or in person. I finally had enough. I kicked him out of my life for good. It’s not something I expect everyone will understand, but I know it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m healthier and saner for it and so are my children. The dysfunction has to stop. I’ve realized you can’t help someone who is hurting you. And if you’re hurt, you can’t help anyone else.

  • Mocha

    Yes! You are soooo right! I am not in this situation..there for I choose not to speak on it.

  • http://stacialbrown.com Stacia L. Brown

    From http://www.playahata.com/pages/oya/lilkim.htm:

    Kim grew up in a relatively happy but sometimes abusive home. Her father, a military man, seems to have lost something of himself in the Vietnam War. He was later divorced from his wife and was always fighting with little Kim. Kim’s mom was pretty broke for a while following the divorce and at one point in time, they were living out of their car.

    From http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2000/06/25/a-whole-lotta-lil-kim.html:

    But the Lil’ Kim you meet offstage speaks in a soft, tiny, unrecognizable voice–still the voice of Kimberly Jones, the little black girl with doe eyes and kinky hair, the deeply hurt little girl from Brooklyn. Even before her parents divorced, when she was 8, she suffered her father’s disapproval. “It was like I could do nothing right,” she says. “Everything about me was wrong–my hair, my clothes, just me.” After the divorce, she tried to stay with her mother, but money was tight and her father won custody. “I always knew my child would be somebody,” Kim’s mother, Ruby Jones, recalls. “She’d always be the one in her class who looked the most like nobody else. Her father never understood, and that hurt her.”

    By her own account, in interviews over the years, yes, her father was abusive. And yes, he was also awarded custody.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Yes, I would, BUT not without giving him a piece of my mind!

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Well I give her kudos for being able to forgive. I don’t think I would have it in me. I would be much too bitter plus I don’t believe in being anyone’s “f-grl”. Children don’t ask to be born, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all as far as I’m concerned.

    If her dad was abusive, I wonder how in the heck was he able to gain custody? I know the laws around domestic abuse were different then but her mom must’ve been one hell of a character to lose custody to an abusive man. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Lil Kim utter more than two sentences about her mom ever.

    Am I the only one distracted from the commentary by Lil Kim photo? She was such a pretty grl when she first started, now look at her. Sad Sad Sad!

    Self hatred is a itch!

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Good Lord, who is that in your gravatar African Mami? That man is fine.

  • Jinx Moneypenny

    Nope. Let him get the gift he keeps giving, lol.

  • shirleygal2

    I can’t stop looking at that picture of her nose. Completely off topic, but what the hell?

  • pink

    shirleygal: I hear yeah. All the plastic surgery and it still hasn’t managed to bring Kim super stardom (or hardly any stardom at all for that matter)

  • Introverted Leo

    “Sometimes parents do so much harm that they just can’t, or deserve to, be honored.”

    You are absolutely right. Parents need to do right by their child (children) early on if they want to reap the benefits later on in life. It seems that the parent(s) who hurt their children the most always think they are owed something.

    I’m Agnostic, so the phrase, “Honor thy father and mother means nothing to me, especially with the parents I have. My father, for the most part, was an absentee dad. He only lived in the same house with us for three years, but even then he was only physically present, and then he became absent all together. He started another family, who he takes good care of. So, some parents will make it right when they start a new family, except they never make things right with their child (children) from their first family. Essentially, my father has alienated himself from my sister and me. He is practicing the, “Out of sight, out of mind” thing with us. Oh well. Hopefully, he is honest with his son about the poor relationship he has with my sister and me. All in all, if something were to happen to my father, I wouldn’t care less, nor would I be there to help. I’m sure his wife and son can take care of that for him.

    On the other hand, my mother is no better. She is a narcissist. I think becoming a single parent overwhelmed her, and the abuse that she received from my father was then acted out on me. My sister, who is only two years older than me didn’t stay home much, so she wasn’t abused like me. My mother acts like I owe her something because she did the bare minimum of what parents are supposed to do for their children. She is too caught up in herself to see that I have turned out the way that I did because of her abuse. Should my mother get older and need to be taken care of, I’ll allow my sister to do it.

    My parents don’t deserve to be honored. They don’t deserve anything from me.

    Another thing – People like to throw around the phrase, “You only get one mother and father” when a child has resentment toward their parent(s). The fact that we only get one mother and father is all the more reason why parents should do a better job of raising their children. I cannot understand why so often people think it is the child’s responsibility to make things right with their parent(s).

  • Introverted Leo

    Post comment.

  • Introverted Leo

    WHY IS IT THAT IF I TYPE A LONG COMMENT IT DOESN’T SHOW UP?

  • Yo

    Yessssss…….Thank You!!!! I feel the same way….. You can’t honor someone who isn’t honorable.

  • chanela

    that happens to me too! what’s been happening to me lately is ANY comment i post from my phone doesn’t show up.

  • Rochelle

    WTF. If her father didn’t rape, impregnant, beat her until at least a bone is broken, belittle her, or spit in her face, then he did nothing wrong but raise his child the best he could. So because he was a strict parent, she should disown him? I mean really. Is this article written because we are talking about a blk man? I know if this was talkin bout some of these waste of sperm and egg blk mothers out here, then this would not have even been written. It seems like in our community, the father can never be forgiven, but the mother always gets a pass no matter what. In this case he needs to forgive her for being a good for nothing piece of trash daughter and a public embrassment to their family. God bless and enjoy your holiday weekend.

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com/ Guulo

    I was thinking along these lines. I think sexual abuse is unforgiveable, any parent that does that is demonic…., physical or emotional abuse on the other hand not saying is warranted, however whatever happened regardless of how worthless a parent was, if a parent had a disease and I was in position to help, I wouldn’t refuse. Kim is being the bigger person, kindness always brings beauty to the giver.

  • Rod Force

    My mother abandoned us and raised my brothers and I by himself. My dad was a career military officer until his retirement back in 1988. My mother went to great lengths to not be apart of our lives, even turning us away at the door. My father did all that he could to keep her in our lives, but to no avail. No Christmas presents, no birthday cards, nothing.
    I believe in Jesus and the power of forgiveness. But as far as honoring her, I acknowledge the fact that she was born in Africa and compared to most of us African-Americans, I am only one generation removed from African soil. I give her that much credit, but nothing more. She abdicated her motherly role, so in a sense she doesn’t own the title as mother, in our case here. You can obey the ten commandments but, the issue is in degrees of honor. She only gets so much. I’m not going to throw a parade for her in her honor, iif you get my drift.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    All I know is that my own ‘father’ better think twice about hitting me up for anything in the future. He had three years to be my father, and he blew it. If he wants anything, he better call up the rest of his string of offspring.

    Lil Kim can do what she wants with her father, and I’ll do what I want with mine based on our separate and unique experiences with said men.

  • Introverted Leo

    Guulo – Physical and emotional abuse is just as detrimental as sexual abuse. One may not see the scars of emotional, and sometimes physical abuse, but having someone destroy your emotional intelligence sets one up for having a lifetime of issues.

    “Kindness always brings beauty to the giver.” – Yes, this is completely idealistic.

  • Introverted Leo

    This new commenting system is driving me insane.

  • Introverted Leo

    Ugh! What the heck!

  • Introverted Leo

    Why do these comments show up, but not others?

  • Introverted Leo

    Wow! Hello! Somebody release my real comment.

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com girlformerlyknownasgrace

    Re-type your comment. And sometimes I copy my comments just before I post them, in case they do not get posted and I have to re-post it.

  • Introverted Leo

    Yea, I’ve learned to type my comments in Word and them paste them here. My real comment posted eventually.

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com/ Guulo

    @Leo,

    I agree with you, I really do. Some parents are rotten, and if not to the child then they are rotten to their spouse. I used to look negatively at folks, who didn’t have a good relationship with their parents, because I come from a culture, similar to AA culture which says parents are next to God, especially the mother. So it took reading and listening to other people’s stories to learn some parents just are rotten and can and do destroy their child’s life. So I do get what you are saying and I agree with the person, who said we don’t know until we wear those shoes. At the same time hypothetically speaking, a sick parent, who had life debilitating disease I see that element of having a sickness differently. I think it’d destroy me more to not help. Tc.

  • EbonyLolita

    Bwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa Woo that’s “shade” right there Tonton

  • Shannon

    No, it is not contingent on how your parents treat you. God’s word is God’s word.

  • Robbie

    @Shannon You are right. No matter how bad they were with you. God’s word still applies. You shall respect and honor your parents. Fard to hear but for those that believe in his world, we must forgive and do the best we can. Easy to say for me because mine are great but could be something difficult for someone else to do. Basically, you don’t do it for them but for God.

  • Introvert Leo

    Yep.

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