When it comes to rebuilding the black community, the #1 thing that is needed is the black father, or a black father figure. When growing up, I didn’t realize the importance of a black father. Not because I didn’t grow up with one, but because my dad was always there. Even after my parents got a divorce when I was 15, my father still fought to be in my life as if he was never going to see me again. But as I became more mature, came to understand other people’s lives around me, you begin to see a difference. Things that I was taught and told growing up by my dad, some had to learn from experience. This led me to understand the importance of a black father in my life.
When growing up, my dad was the epitome of what people would expect fathers to be in their child’s life. If I needed help with my homework, he would help as much as possible, if I wanted to play a sport, he made sure I was capable to, hell, if I wanted breakfast in the morning on Saturdays while watching cartoons, he’s up making it. My dad was a superhero. Still to this day, I still trying to figure out how in the world did my father ever make so much time for me and my mom.
My dad literally would work 60+ hours a week as a GM at Wendy’s, come home and still had time to somehow make it to baseball games, football games and more! As a child, my dad showed that a man’s role in the house is to be the protector and the provider. He made this look natural, as it was to him. My dad was the 2nd oldest of 12 kids and started working when he was 13 years old busing tables at restaurants. But the one thing my dad wanted to do for me was everything he wish my grandfather could have done for him.
As you can imagine, with so many kids, my grandfather didn’t have much time at all. Mouths have to be fed and the older one’s sometimes ended up having to get jobs, but again, my grandfather was a military vet protector and a provider for his family. So I understood where my dad’s background came the older I got.
When growing up, I didn’t realize how important my dad was. Not because I didn’t care, but because, what he did was the norm for me. I couldn’t see my life, or any other child’s life being any different from my own. Even so, many of my friends today grew up with their fathers. Black dad’s were something I’ve always seen, even with the negative picture that media tries to portrait.
There was one friend who made me understand that other kids may not have been as fortunate as I was. After finishing practice for our high school football team he told me he saw my Pops at work. Many of my classmates knew my dad when growing up, plus he probably gave about 50 percent of them their first job. During seeing him, he said he talked to my dad for a while and I’ll never forget him telling me, “Your dad seems like a cool dude, I wish I had a dad like that.” I can honestly remember myself, not being able to have any words of encouragement, other than telling him, thank you. Yet, it begin to help me to understand the void that many other kids may feel, due to not having a father, or a father figure around.
All the things my dad did to help show me what my role is when I grow up, or helping me to learn lessons the easy way (when I acted right), how to stand my ground as well as love your family (no ifs, ands, or buts). One thing that my dad came to teach me as I got older, which I don’t even think he realized he taught me, came when my parent got a divorce. From that, its was that black men can be emotional.
My parents were married for 20+ years and from there own circumstances decided to go there separate ways. It showed me at that point, that divorce is no simple matter for either side. But during this time, I came to appreciate my dad more at this point. My mom, has always been the person for me who helped me to understand my emotions, but from a males perspective, my dad wasn’t the very emotional showing type. He was the laugh, reminisce and relax type, but when it came to what was bothering him, he never allowed me to see that. Until I turned 18 and decided to live with my dad while I completed college. Had a lot of fun and probably grew up to fast as I lived only with my mom for a few years, but at this point, I wanted to be around my father.
When it came to living with my dad, other than because I missed being around him my last years of high school, I knew that this was a time that my dad needed me. When we would talk on the phone, hang with each other, my dad never wanted that time to end as if he thought his memory was slowly disappearing in my mind. Even though that could never occur, it was hard to convince him of that. In this time of us staying together, I looked for us to create new memories as much as possible. All between, I’m running back and forth from college, working 32 hours a week and occasionally working at the Georgia Dome.
One thing that me and my father definitely have in common is that both of us are night people. As he may get off the night shift, or if I came in from a long night, we most times had a little time to talk. During these situations, I came to see that my dad would open up more with me and tell me what bothered him, or we would have a laughs about our days. During this time we found out more about each other. me I came to understand that my dad actually dealt with emotional situations and sometimes everything isn’t going great, but he taught me you learn how to get through it, cope how you need to and learn to move on. Him on the other end got to see how much I truly love him no matter how outcomes change.
During this time, he taught me that black men go through pain. Many people I know who were raised and know there fathers will probably say they have never seen their dad in pain, hurt, etc. and if they can, I bet you they can probably count on 1 hand how many times. Same here, but the most beautiful part of it all is that this black father that I seen as a superhero my entire life was actually a human being that knew he had to be a super father to make sure I was taken care of.
I always tell people, I don’t truly care how much money I have when I have kids. I just want to make sure I can always make time for them. My dad made sure to show me that it didn’t matter what was going on, he always had time for me. So this man who loves to say, “that’s my son” even on things I accomplish that I feel is mediocre, or any time someone ask if I’m a jr. and we have to give a 10 minute story on how I’m not (simply, we have different middle names), I can happily say, I love my dad.
Officially launching SirenityToday.com today. I made today the official launch date as today is my dad’s birthday. To top that off, it’s the day he officially retires from working almost 50+ years in the restaurant industry. So Happy 62nd Birthday Dad and hopefully many many more years to come.