Sunday, March 26, 2006

To Be A Dad


There has been a lot of stuff in the news lately about the “problem with black males”. A recent study said that black men are more disconnected from society than ever before. What no one really talks about is the fact that in the last twenty years black woman have advanced further than black men.

I remember reading an article not too long ago that discussed how men, regardless of race, were not furthering their education and were not entering into corporate America in numbers that equaled women.

If you doubt that women are advancing further in this society than men, then take a trip downtown, I don’t care which downtown, pick one, but go down there either in the morning, noon time or when everyone is trying to escape from work: 5:00 on the dot. Take a head count. What do you see? Count the number of white women you see. Then, count the number of black women you see. Now, count the number of black and white men you see. Okay we all know that you aren’t gonna find too many brothers down there, but I can guarantee you that black and white women outnumber even white men in corporate jobs. Why is this?

In the last twenty-five years, some smart people somewhere looked at the plight of little girls and addressed certain problems: self-esteem, education and role models. They correctly surmised that if little girls from the time they were very small were exposed to the same things that little boys (especially little white boys) were exposed to, they would advance. Thus, society turned its attention away from boys (because from the time that this society was born it has been a male dominated one) and on to little girls. Things like “Take your daughter to work day” came into being. I always thought things like that were cool. I’m somebody’s husband, brother, son, nephew, uncle and the role I cherish most: father.

In my short time that I’ve been on this planet, it never ceases to amaze me, the number of women I know that have been raped and or abused, I can fully understand why there has been a lot of focus on the problems of women. I can appreciate that.

One day when I was frustrated while potty-training my oldest son, I decided to get a book about the subject. All of the mothers I know seemingly forgot how to potty-train. I was shocked when I got down to the bookstore to find that not one book, not a single book about potty training had either a picture of a boy on the cover, or made any reference to boys in any way in any of the books. Everything was ‘she’ or ‘your little girl’ or something like that. No ‘he’ or ‘your little fella’ or ‘little guy’, none of that. Why? Because we have turned our backs on our sons.

There are no more Boys Clubs, because someone said that it was discriminatory against girls so it has to be the Boys and Girls Club. Activities that used to be exclusively for boys: baseball, football and basketball now include girls. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against little girls or little girls playing with boys, but boys need to have those things that are exclusively for boys.

As far as black males go, yes, I agree there is a problem; society turned its back on black males a long time ago. Some smart people somewhere need to recognize that the problems are: hopelessness, poor self-esteem, education and role models. Black fathers have been missing in action for quite some time.

I’ve lived long enough to know that there are two sides to every story; we never really hear the stories from black men that abandon their families. But for those that have I’d like to share a story with you.

I was fed up with the cost of living in the Bay Area, a place I will always love. I had to make the drastic decision of how to get out. My wife and I agreed that I would leave ahead of the family to go live in South Carolina. It’s much cheaper to live here.

Anyway, for five months I was away from my wife and kids. And it was hard. I have never ever had insomnia a day in my life, but I developed a severe case of it while I was away from my family. It was so bad that it started affecting my vision. In another words, a brother is gonna need some glasses soon.

Anyway, finally the wife and kids joined me out here, our sons 4, 2, and two months were excited to see their dad. As I was happy to see them too.

The other night I left my kids with their older cousin while I showed my wife the town. When we came back home at midnight I was amazed to see them awake. They know that when its time to go to bed, its time to GO to bed. At first I thought it was my two year-old that was the culprit

But nah, to my surprise it was this one, my four year old, he wouldn’t stop crying.

And he isn't one that cries or whines much.

Just as I was about to rein more terror than Osama Bin Laden, my wife alerted me to something: separation anxiety. For five months my kids hadn’t seen me. They were used to seeing me everyday. We played together. We ate together. I disciplined them when they need it. All of sudden they were without their dad.

My four year old said that he’s had dreams about Batman and Dracula, and how Batman was going to bite him. No matter how many times I told him that Batman was the good guy and that Dracula was the bad guy, he wasn’t having it. I took him and his little brother by the hand and walked them upstairs to their room. I read them their favorite story: Pinocchio and the Whale. After that they still wouldn’t go to sleep. So what did I do? I lay there with them until we all fell asleep. They needed the security of their dad in a foreign place.


Dave said...

Hey I'm a random blog surfer who found your site just now and want to drop a comment to say "nice job!" I appreciate reading blogs from real people talking about their real life and I also agree with what you have to say on various issues like being a dad, the war in Iraq, uptight "churchy" culture, music and movies, etc. I've bookmarked it and will be back for future visits!

As for this post, I can relate to having to move away from the Bay Area due to high cost of living. I made the same move from San Rafael to Grand Rapids MI back in 1987. Sounds like your move was a lot more recent, I can only imagine how much more expensive the Bay Area has gotten over the years. Anyway, wish you well and I look forward to seeing what you have to say in the future. - Dave aka PoMoXian

The Golden Child said...

Hmmm where do I start? Simply put, I am a black female in the Bay Area; I have 3 children that I am raising. My mother died when I was 14 and my Dad a professional musician (a drummer with James Brown, Ray Charles and Lou Rawls) was not present in my life regularly. I have never had grandparents on either side and frankly I have over come many things. So regardless of the circumstances I was dealt with I have found the resources to not only keep a job, to have never had to rely on public assistance but I have recently been able to get into a Career that is my passion within the corporate world, making good money doing it, until my own business takes off.

While I am grateful for every blessing I have received and the opportunities I have had NOT ONE OF THEM WAS BECAUSE I WAS A WOMAN OR BLACK. I was in the right position because first I serve an awesome and mighty God and then because I have worked hard and remained a hard worker. I truly understand the plight of the black man, I have brothers, cousins, friends, ex's and a WONDERFUL son. However, just as I will not teach my son that his destiny lies in another man's hands, it lies in God's and his own, I do not believe that the plight of men nor black men is solely due to circumstances or lack of opportunities. Just as you Markskillz found the resources, no matter what the sacrifice, to make it work for your family, men need to MAN UP and do whatever it takes to MAKE IT HAPPEN, as a woman I didn't have a role model to pattern myself after and I didn't have very much extended support, but I knew if I wanted anything to happen in my life I had to make it happen.

Again, I acknowledge what the black man has to face, but I do not find it to be an excuse as to why the downtown streets are littered with estrogen instead of testosterone, most of the jobs in downtown take some skill, some sort of education and many brothas (even those without jobs) have a longer list of what kind of work/job they WONT do than a list of jobs that will enable them to get to their next goal (“yeah yo I got this music thing I’m doin’ and I ain’t takin’ no square 9-5 Imma do me and make this music thing happen”). Many brothas have tapped into their non paying passions and are holding out for their dream to hit, but have not made a sufficient plan B to hold them, their bills and their kids/families over until that big break hits. Brothas have gotten too choosy about what they won’t do instead of taking that by any means necessary attitude, I even remember a cat that had action at a great paying job and refused the gig over a $2 an hour discrepancy and this was job he was skilled at, he wanted like $21 and the job was paying $19.

Woman, especially black women will DO WHAT THEY GOTTA do, while brothas have always had the luxury to CHOOSE to do what they are supposed to do OR what they wanna do. And what is crazy is we PRAISE men who do what they are supposed to do (and we should, but not because it’s a rare occurence) because they have become the novelty at the circus, NOT SO I say, I thank God for the brothas who hold it down and take care of business! And for the others I personally have NO “woo woo woo’s” for them, they don’t need sympathy they need a job….downtown, uptown, on the moon, forget what Nancy Reagan was talkin’ about they need to JUST SAY YES… to a job (Ü)

I even believe the effects even of slavery are still upon our culture both in blacks and other races and I believe there are things we as a people are JUST getting involved in because we were not privy to such information or opportunities before, but I still see life is what YOU make it. Along with God and good sound wisdom FROM God you can do all me I know... and that's male or female, blue or orange... put your nose to the grind and something WILL happen.

The Golden Child said...

Oh and by the way regarding the article as a whole, I appreciate everything that you said and I am proud to know a strong black man that is hodling it down for his family. LUV YOU MAN! Keep doin what you do!

The All Mighty Mark Skillz said...

Thanks Dave, the Bay Area is so expensive now, a friend of mine told me that a house in his neighborhood sold for $615,000, for a regular house! In Hayward - not even in the hills but in the flathands. That's when I said it is time to go!

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