DAD'S GET IN #FORMATION
It’s A Celebration...
As a Black Father, I wanted to write a blog and commemorate this month, which was started to celebrate prominent and important African Americans. The origin of Black History Month can be traced back to September of 1915 when Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jessee E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). However, it wasn’t until 1926 when that initiative would gain greater traction after the ASNLH sponsored a National Negro History Week. The week has since grown to a full month (no pun intended) thanks to the Civil Rights Movement (in the 1960’s). The no pun is because Black History Month is during the shortest month of the year, February. However, as I conclude this history overview, I should also share the month of February was selected because the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are in this month. I can live with this reasoning...
My daughter is still to young for me to currently share with her in a meaningful way the history of what Black people have contributed to this country. At this time what’s more important and relevant to me is to acknowledge the Black Father of today.
*Most of you who have read any of my blogs know my platform is about celebrating ALL FATHERS in general, so I appreciate you giving me this moment to speak to and on behalf of the Black Dads.*
(2019 + PC = PREFACE)
To all of my Black Fathers who have accepted the call to Fatherhood, let me say thank you for being in #Formation!
I walk in the skin of a black man daily, and I understand the stereotypes first hand that plague Black Fatherhood (I won’t repeat them here, but do know they are not affirming). When I scroll through Instagram and Facebook and see you all posting pictures of you with every tooth in your mouth showing while your son or daughter is straddled around your neck or strapped in their car seats in the background of your car selfies, I smile. I want to encourage you to keep posting those pictures (although they may be grainy, out of focus, and confusing filter choices, I still give them a like or thumbs up), we need those pictures!
Hear me on this one Black Dads, your photos of you and your children on social media combats the stereotypes one post at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not only talking about the stereotypes that some media outlets have perpetuated or other stereotypes that have lingered in our disjointed society, but I’m addressing the stereotypes perceived by other black men, that fathering is not for them.
Your pictures and more importantly your presence shows them the possibilities they have to father successfully! I know from first hand experience the importance of seeing positive imagery of fathering, especially from someone who looks like you. I’m thankful for my father and his presence in my life, but I often attribute additional credit to Pastor John Girton for his example. Pastor G. (or Girton as I sometimes call him) was one of my college professors who became a mentor and friend of mine. During the time Girton and I worked together, I got the chance to see him father his three children up close and personal. Girton is a no-nonsense, compassionate, deliberate dad! I saw in him, what was possible in me!
One of the things I’m most excited about are the opportunities my daughter will have to travel the world and learn about people from many different walks of life as well as their history. With that said, it’s also imperative that I share with her the history that Black folks have contributed to the United States of America. As a father of a daughter, I also have the critical responsibility to share with her the achievements of women in this country of all ethnicities. Can we all just shout hooray, for the simple fact that I won’t have to turn over boulders to find women who have cracked glass ceilings in the 21st century. Luckily for me, I’ll be able to do a quick google search, or reference books like She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World that skillfully illustrates women of many different backgrounds who have contributed to the world. I’m also blessed that my daughter can turn to either of her grandmothers who daily redefine possibilities for women in our family, her aunt who is an entrepreneur and dream chaser, and her mom who is a jack of all trades while also *Mastering the one of her choice (<3).
I would like to invite and encourage All Fathers (Black, White, Asian, Latino… ALL) to commit to making this world a better place, by sharing the perspective of others with their children. Teach them to love all people!
HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!
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