Fatherhood. When asked to put some thoughts together about being a father, my first thought was Black fatherhood. I then asked myself if there was a difference between being a black father and just being a father—of course, there is.
I’ve never spoken to a father of another culture about this but I would imagine that black fathers have more anxiety. Maybe we are more anxious that our children “get” certain realities of life because they may not have the luxury of just figuring it out. We are likely to feel more sensitive to chatter regarding our fatherly performance especially since our mere presence in society is not welcomed at all. I know I have felt both anxiety and sensitivity very strongly in certain moments.
I have two children ages 17 and 12. My babies as I call them have changed my world many times over because I am constantly challenged to grow in order to keep up with them. Changing diapers and spending time with my children are things that came easy for me. Communicating with my children is also something that came very naturally to me. My daughter will probably tell you that my communication skills could have been better in certain moments but I do know that she appreciates our ongoing dialogue. I say these things because I feel it’s important for people to understand that a black father actually has value to their children and to the mothers of those children. That value may not be perfectly communicated at all times but it’s there. You don’t spend thousands of hours taking care of someone and there not value.
My wish for this Father’s Day is that society looks beyond the black man they see in front of them and try to see the children they are raising, their attempts to love and master themselves enough to push a family forward, the multitude of sacrifices made on a daily basis. Or maybe that’s the problem society does see those things and has decided that value must be erased at every instance. And since the latter seems to be the case we should be honest about that and as a society try to move forward.
So those are my thoughts about Fatherhood. It is something I enjoy by the way and I do take great pride in being a Father. I do also know that I have accomplished more in life by being a Father—more than I would have being childless. At the same time, I believe there is a duality in my experience that is probably absent to Fathers of other cultures.