We can never lose faith in the dreams we have; doing the impossible only takes a little longer.
Many times, the worst endings are the best new beginnings, and our children become the seeds planted of our future self.
The knowledge and information we pass on to our children about yesterday impacts who they are today, and carries forward with them. Children are the product of their parents’ thoughts about the environment, people, and circumstances surrounding them.
2020 has presented an opportunity for parents to reflect, and better define, understand, and explain to our children what’s going on in society, especially when it comes to manhood and fatherhood. I live and reflect the change that I want to see in the role fathers play in their families, communities, and the climate of the environment we live in today. #fathersmatter
Various cultures of societies have defined what a “man,” “father,” or “dad” is in healthy and unhealthy ways. Traditional values, societal norms, and familial conditioning of boys and girls since their childhood have reinforced false identities, thinking, beliefs, and definitions of masculinity.
Generations of boys have been raised to be men in modern day society with a false male role belief system. Consequently, many boys grow up in society today with crippling and unrealistic expectations; then later have to deal with the reality of adverse outcomes and consequences as men.
Many men in society today have been raised with the belief that their value is based on their job, the money they earn, the material possessions they have acquired, or the number of women they’ve slept with. Little boys are told when they are growing up that they have to be brave, and strong, and cannot cry or express feelings of affection without appearing weak. In essence, boys are taught to suppress or deny their emotions if they are to going be “a man.”
The role of American men in the workplace, at home, and in the family has been dramatically transformed over the past decades into the 21st century. Family structures and the circumstances surrounding parenthood have also changed dramatically. Two-parent households and the traditional American nuclear family that includes a couple and their dependent children have been on the decline for decades in the U.S. Consequently, the rates of divorce, remarriage, cohabitating partners, and single-parent households have continued to rise since the 1960s.
I was born during Generation X. My father’s presence, show of affection, and active involvement throughout my childhood was inconsistent. By the time I entered high school, I had been alienated from him, especially after my parents separated and finalized their divorce when I was 12 years old. My mismanaged anger and feelings of abandonment steered me to gang involvement, substance abuse, and criminal activity.
Poor performance and disciplinary issues resulted in me dropping out of high school without graduating as planned. Instead of a receiving a diploma, I was handed a five year prison sentence. Then, joined a record-breaking number of men in a fraternity incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the Michigan State correctional authorities at the age of eighteen. This is when my internal healing began from the inside-out, so that I could begin to repair and heal the relationship with my father.
My son Elijah’s mother and I were never married before, or after, he was born in 2002. In 2005, after a long, painful, and expensive multi-year battle in the Family Court system, the Judge decided to oppose the traditional and cultural belief by determining that it was in my son’s best interest to reside with me full-time. I was the primary caregiver, and the Judge ordered Elijah’s mother to pay me monthly child support until he became a legal adult at the age of eighteen.
Providing my son with consistent love and care, attention, and support has been the stability he needed at home to overcome his early childhood diagnosis of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In May of 2020, Elijah graduated from high school with honors in the top ten percent of his class of 2020. In August 2020, he begins his new college career studying Computer Animation in one of the top college programs and public universities in the U.S.
There is a wide range of research and statistics related to the effect that involved fathers can have on their children. U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2017 that nearly 20 million children under the age of 18 live with only one parent, primarily their mother. However, the data also showed that the percentage of children living with just their father increased to an all-time high.
I expect the results from the Census 2020 to continue reflecting more and more men rising to their calling as loving, affectionate, supportive, and engaged fathers and co-parents with the mother of their children. Consequently, more and more children can develop with healthy thoughts about their environments, and of their parents, which will positively impact future generations of parents.