Last week in my great city of New Orleans we hosted this football game they call the Super Bowl. Here in my space, we had what some might call a Super Bowl Party. It was a small family affair and as such there were children, babies, and of course since this was super bowl… there were FATHERS.
I took what I thought was a great pic and posted it as my Wordless Wednesday last week. To me it was a perfect pic to set up today’s Blog Post which is the first of many guest posts that I will be sharing on my blog this year. That pic was a celebration of Black fatherhood and today’s guest post is a celebration of Black fatherhood. Something we need to celebrate more often. Stop eating the stale cookies they keep cooking and feeding yall. There are many Black men who love, cherish, and care for their children. Below you will find the words of one of them. He’s one of my tweeps @CoachKJMD2be
Celebrating Black Fatherhood…
This post is dedicated to an amazing man, my father figure and mentor, Dr. Ray Bignall. Dr. Ray holds me accountable as a pre-med student and is one of the many voices encouraging me throughout my journey. For this, I am forever grateful.
Fatherhood is not something one is born into. It is an ever evolving learning experience. It is a lifestyle choice that many men enjoy adding to their legacy. The influence of fathers is often discounted but there are many Black Men who are responsible fathers. If you walk into baby stores, you’ll find most products are geared towards mothers. This could be due to the notion that only mothers can be nurturing.
Images of Black fathers are usually riddled with stereotypes of absenteeism, irresponsibility, and listlessness. My brothers and I came together to share our experience as fathers from a Black Man’s perspective on Mr. Baggage, a blog for men. This is our way of eradicating the negative stereotypes linked to Black Men. My experience with fatherhood happens to be a joyful one.
10 years ago, the most beautiful moment happened in my life. I became a father to a healthy baby boy. When I saw his face, I immediately knew that my life would drastically change. I was young but I knew I would always have an active role in his life.
My son came into this world 9lbs 7oz. He was beautiful aesthetically and his presence still creates a sense of calm in my life to this day. He was breastfed but his mother pumped milk and froze it to last for months so I could feed him alone. She had that skin to skin contact that baby’s need when they’re born. She experienced the mommy brain that connects a baby to mother immediately after delivery. This is where many men feel helpless. I challenge new fathers to get creative. Talk to your child in calm tones, share some things that you’d like to do with them in the future, hold your child to your chest. He or she can recognize you by your scent. This time will not only boost your morale but also helps your baby feel secure.
I valued these moments of alone time with my son. We shared a bond over cartoons (we still watch them together) and his mother’s pumped breast milk. I was there for his first doctor’s appointments. I saw his cord fall off. Watching him develop from newborn to toddler was amazing. I had never been that close to a baby before. This love I had for him was something I had never experienced in my own life. His face lit up when he heard my voice. He had heard it since he was in the womb.
This is something many Black Men don’t get to experience. I cherish this opportunity. I am grateful that his mama allows me to still have an active role in his life. If I could talk to a young father today, I would tell him to do what works for him. If you only have your child for the weekend, do as much as you can in this time. If your child asks you to watch them do something, stop what you’re doing and watch intently. Fatherhood has uncovered the following character traits for me: patience, determination, loyalty, and resilience.
Don’t lose sight of your chance to enjoy fatherhood engaging in polemics. Take care of your health, your child(ren) need you here in optimal health. If you come from a home void of stability, take the necessary steps you need to heal and start a new tradition. Effective parenting means many things to people. 10 years later, I’m still learning about myself through my son’s eyes. Remember, father’s day is every day. Celebrate!
Share some things you could never learn from a book about parenting below.
~ Kaleb ”Coach KJ” Hill is the CEO and founder of FitnessFleet, a health and wellness company. For more information, visit FitnessFleet online and on Twitter follow Kaleb at CoachKJMD2Be.