Fatherly Stuff

Jul 28, 2015

Dreams and Nightmares

I was lying on the couch feeling exhausted from a long day in the office, which was then followed by a hectic evening getting the boys through their nighttime routine and eventually off to bed. The living room was dark, except for the dull glow of the screensaver on the TV, which permeated from its screen.  Usually, even that little bit of light would be enough keep me awake, but my tired body stubbornly refused to allow any distractions from allowing it to reach its goal.  Too tired to even make the trek from the couch to the bedroom, I rolled on my back, slung my forearm over my eyes and slowly began to let myself drift away. Right before I started my REM cycle, a small, familiar voice pulled me out of my trance. 


I rolled on my side and straightened my neck upwards with squinted eyes to find my 6 year old son peering back at me. 

“Oh hi, kiddo.” I whispered. “What are you doing up so late?”

“I can’t sleep because there’s a monster in my room.” he said with a pout, arms crossed. 

 I was silent for a moment as he stood there in front of me. My wife and I have been dealing with this “monsters” phase for a little while now and quite frankly, I was feeling a bit annoyed that he woke me up once again because of it. Occasionally, I would take the “tough love” approach by insisting that he had nothing to worry about and he needed to get back into bed. But today I decided to handle it with a little more empathy. I brought him into his room, adjusted his nightlight and checked each closet, corner and space beneath the bed until he was satisfied his room was 100% monster free.  I laid him back in his bed, and ensured him once again that there was no such thing as monsters. I kissed his forehead and stayed with him until he passed out. 

As I tiptoed back out his room and walked down the hallway to mine, I felt a sense of guilt come over me. Even at the age of 6, I try to be honest with my son as much as possible, but I had just spent a better part of 15 minutes lying to him with a completely straight face. I assured him that monsters didn’t exist, but in reality I knew this was far from the truth. The monsters that I had in mind don’t come in the form of apparitions or creatures with glowing eyes and sharp claws. The type that I’m referring to wear badges, and are seemingly so drunk with power that they regularly take the lives of young Black men and women with reckless abandon and without repercussion. 

Just ask Tamir Rice.

Or Michael Brown.

Or Freddie Gray.

Or Eric Garner.

Or Sean Bell.

Or Oscar Grant.

Or Treyvon Martin.

Or Sandra Bland.

Both of my children are biracial, and there is nothing that I would love more than to sit them down one day tell them that race doesn’t matter. The sad reality however, that is not how the world as we know it currently functions, and when they become adults, they will need to learn to navigate it with a layer of hyper-awareness that all Black males are required to possess as a default in order to ensure their safety. This awareness comes with the understanding that not all police officers are bad people, but also knowing there are enough bad ones out there for them to be on guard. But even that might not be enough. 

They’re still young, so I decided to hold off on having these discussions. But one day, as we’re skipping rocks in the pond, I might use that moment to talk to him about the proper way he should conduct himself when he gets pulled over by the police. Or perhaps as were eating ice cream on a park bench, I can instruct him on how to respond if an officer wants to frisk him. One day, when we’re working in our garden, I might even explain ways that he might make himself “less suspicious” and why these skills are so important for him to know. 

One day, before he finds out the hard way, I will reveal to him that monsters do exist. 

These were the thoughts that swirled in my head as I lay in my bed that night, trying in vain to fall asleep.

Jun 1, 2015

A Pet Puppy Would Be Great For Your Son’s Birthday Gift

*The following is a guest post. Please enjoy!*

Do you have your son’s birthday coming up and you are planning a special gift for him this year. It could be that it’s his 5th or 10th birthday and you are looking for a remarkable presentation this time. So, what is it that will make the tiny one jumping in joy with “Oh daddy, I loovvvee you soo much”? While there is no dearth of cutting edge toys and gizmos for little boys, a special gift is something that will bridge a cherished emotional bond between you two for life. A cute puppy can definitely mark a phenomenal gift for your son’s upcoming birthday.
Men and dogs always share a special connection. To know more about it visit this link.
There are various benefits of letting your child play and grow up with a dog.

Unconditional love
First of all, a puppy can be the cutest and most loving gift ever. Your kid would get a constant companion whenever he is at home- who will never be tired of showering affection to him with constant hugs, licking and snuggling. Unlike teachers or parents, the puppy won’t ever be critical & dictate orders to your little master. They would always love him, unconditionally- & the very presence of the pup would provide a feel of security for the kid.

Positive self-image
This very unconditional love & companionship from the pup would make the kid feel important that further helps in developing self-confidence and positive feelings about oneself. The very fee that there is somebody to who I am really significant is an excellent mood booster.

Better relationships
It has been found that kids attached to their pets are better at building and maintaining relationships. It’s because companionship with the dog would help to develop feelings of empathy, love and responsibility as well as gratitude among the kids- the crucial ingredients of any successful relationship.

Physical well being
Studies say that children who grow up with pet dogs are lesser prone to asthma and allergy. Moreover, dogs are usually active and prefer running and jumping every now and them. The play sessions with the puppy would assure good exercises for your child as well since his growing years- which is very necessary for his growth, development and physical well being

Calming effect
If your son is too energetic and if you often struggle to keep pace with him, a pet puppy would be the right gift him this time. According to studies, dogs could help to calm down overtly aggressive or hyperactive kids.

To know why every man must have a pet dog, click here

Now, when it comes to buying a dog, you must be careful about the breeder. You can visit https://www.k9stud.com/ as the site offers you to interact with some of the most qualified breeders here in America- irrespective of the breed you are looking for. This portal also holds basic data about almost every type of dog breed.

Apr 7, 2015

Fatherhood From a Point of Reference

We all know that that being a good dad isn’t easy. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we all tend to suck at it from time to time. Despite this information, there are scores of men-including myself- who wake up each and every morning and become the horse for their children’s piggy back rides, the kisser of their boo-boos, the wiper of their tears.   In other words, many of the decisions we make are with the happiness of our kids in mind. On the other hand, there are just as many men who are selfish, neglectful, or abusive towards their kids. Those men, although being the individual who managed to fertilize an egg that produced a life, in no way deserve to be called a father.

 The moment a man finds out that he is going to be a father, he will immediately find himself in front of a road which diverges into two paths: The road of becoming a good dad is the more difficult path, but the rewards earned by the journey are worth their weight in gold. The other path on the surface is seemingly the easier, but the end of the journey is riddled with nothing but bitterness and resentment and regret for all parties involved. You would think that the decision to walk the “good dad” path would be a no brainier, yet so many men make the choice to go the other way.  So herein lies my question:

 What are the determining factors that make a man choose to walk one path of becoming a good dad versus the other? It sounds like a complicated question, but when you peel back the onion, you'll notice that while the answer might vary based on the circumstances of each man, the common thread between them is their point of reference for fatherhood.

For better or worse, we are all products of the way that we were raised. The person who I am, who you are today is the direct result of how the people who brought us up treated us as children. If you were brought up by a father figure who gives love and support, you're more likely to use that example to become the type of father who provides this for their kids. However, if your fatherhood point of reference is that of someone who was absent and neglectful, then there is a chance that you will also follow suit when you become a father yourself. On the flip side of that, your destiny is not set in stone. There's also the opportunity for growth and evolution if you use those negative experiences to resolve to become the father that you did not have growing up.

How that father figure treated you as a child had shaped your mind and has set you on a path which dictated how your decision making skills will guide you in your life. The inner workings within our character, in our personality that we innately use to choose who we surround ourselves with-be it friends, our significant others, etc., - is either directly or indirectly derived from that point of reference.

Quite often, I have friends and colleagues who compliment me, who look at the fun Facebook and Instagram pictures, assume that this fatherhood thing is all jellybeans and unicorns and will tell me that they look forward to the day they will become a dad. However, they have a very little (if any) of an understanding of the hardships, sacrifices and personal doubts and anxiety that I went through that got me to be where I am today.

Please understand though that the purpose of this exercise is not to give you an excuse for crappy behavior in any shape or form. By reflecting on, and acknowledging your past, you will put yourself in a position that will help you make better decisions in the future. We don't have the ability to choose our environment and role models as a child. But as an adult, we can start to surround ourselves with healthy relationships.

The point of reference doesn't just affect your parenting ability; it can also shape how you interact with other people. For example, if your parents were married for 30 years, your point of reference as an adult will guide you in a direction where you will be more than likely to seek out someone that you can see yourself with for the next 30 years. If your point of reference is more volatile than that, you're more prone to seek out someone that might not workout in the long run.
Although my parents divorced at 4, I don’t remember it really affecting me as a child. In fact, it wasn’t until later in my adult life that I realized what a profound impact that point of reference had on me. Most of the relationships that I had before getting married have been short lived, which was mostly due to my efforts. The instability that I witnessed growing up resulted in me unwilling to make meaningful connections with people. Looking back, I now understand that I constantly kept them at arm’s length so I could avoid being hurt. These superficial relationships caused me to unintentionally push people away. When I finally came to an understanding of this, I found myself at a crossroads and was faced with two choices. Either shrug my shoulders and continue my behavior, using my past as a crutch, or I can use my newfound awakening as a learning opportunity and focus my energies to evolve my way of thinking.

So, it is import to reflect and ask yourself this question: What is your fatherhood point of reference? Based on your answer, will you choose to become a better dad/husband because of that reference, or despite of it?