I've been a father for almost seven years now, and I feel like I've entered into the zone where my ability to be a full package father will be most necessary. My oldest is now demonstrating a DVR-like memory which tells me that he digests everything I say and do. Being that it is Father's Day tomorrow, I'm reflective today on both what it means to be a father and what my father did for me. In 2013 it is critical that we strive to have our children understand the full experience of being a man so that when they grow up, they are prepared to thrive in their own home and the workplace. I am thankful to my father for his ability to model this balance for me and my siblings growing up.
My father was rarely without two jobs when I was a youngster. There was private school tuition, music lessons, and swim team dues to be paid for. Somehow he still managed to find time to drive me up and down I-95 to swim meet after swim meet and discipline my brother, sister, and I with his famous monologues when we got in trouble. The subliminal message that I have carried into fatherhood is that yes it is important to do all that you can to provide for family, but it is equally important to make sure that you are making time to nurture relationships with your children and teaching them life's lessons through both direct and indirect communication. A constant theme when my dad would talk with me was the difference between creating a child and fathering one. He demanded that I grow up to be responsible enough that I could be a father. He also deomonstrated his respect and devotion to his household by never stumbling around drunk in front of us and sacrificing his own material gatin so that we could have. All of his lessons have prepared me to be a father in an increasingly difficult world for a father to navigate.
When I look at my boys and think about all that I want them to experience (and avoid) in the world, the most important thing that I hope to pass on is that they fully embrace their own sense of manhood. I want them to know that it is okay to to feel and exhibit the full range of human emotions and live a life of faith. They should recognize the humanity in every person they come across and realize that they can be great relationship partners. When they become fathers, they are more than just providers, they are whatever their children need them to be. If they can do that, then they'll have more than earned the tie, pack of underwear, or card that they get as a gift on Father's Day to go along with the big piece chicken and a tall glass of grape Kool Aid.
On Another Note...
- The NBA Finals have been excellent theater, and though the games have not all been close, it has been interesting to see the adjustments that impact each game and who is able to elevate their play to have an influence on the outcome. It`s easy in a social media influenced world to get swayed by negative micro analysis, but I remember when the Lakers and Celtics, Lakers and Bulls, or the Rockets and Celtics played ugly games. History has not diminished those teams because of those moments so I'll continue to take each game for what it is and see where the chips fall in the end.
Tim Tebow somehow managed to get a job though by all analysis, he has no business trying to be an NFL-level quarterback. Guess it does pay off to have a "Work harder than everyone" narrative following you around. I hope it works out for the young man, and I hope he learns to stay away from the microphones this time. He's not Tom Brady.
I'm wondering when we will hit the point where we're tired of building reality shows around black women backstabbing and throwing drinks on each other. As if NBA Wives wasn't enough, now we've got a proliferation of R&B Divas shows. Guess everyone wants to get their NeNe Leakes on now. I'll be glad when this cycle of TV programming runs its ourse.