The Barber Shop

A barbershop philosopher/theologian talks about religion, current events, and issues concerning black america

Saturday, May 06, 2006

About Fatherhood

I’m a proud father of two baby boys, an almost three-year-old and a one-year-old. Prior to becoming a dad I was kind of indifferent about having kids, because my dad was very distant when I was a kid so I guess I looked at children as being a burden to some extent.

In our popular culture a lot of brothers equate freedom and the "good life" to having little or no responsibilities. We’re taught to fear being “tied down” by anything, be it marriage, children, or too much hard work. Words like commitment, discipline, and responsibility have a subtle negative burdensome connotation to them, so even when we embrace some of these situations it’s often with a hint of mourning for our lost freedoms.

My parents were both very hard workers so I learned that from them and never looked at it as a burden, but as for marriage and children, I wasn’t exactly fired up. My parents divorced when I was younger, and I know a lot of shady people, so I didn’t have much faith in relationships. As for becoming a dad, I really didn’t have a good experience to go by. I knew what kind of dad I didn’t want to be, but that was about it. As a result of my experience, I wasn’t anti children, but I didn’t need to have them either.

Long story short, I ended up getting married (that’s a story for a different post) and having two children. I love my wife and kids very much, and the experience of having a family has changed me in a lot of ways. Trying to be a good husband and father takes some work, but it has been the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. It’s not like we don’t have our ups and downs, but because my wife and I are both willing to sacrifice and make compromises to make our relationship work, we have many more ups than downs. As for the kids, they can wear you out some times, but the joy they bring is more than worth every little sacrifice. Having a family has made my life so much more meaningful, rich and purposeful, that I often have to thank God for blessing me with them.

That feeling of enrichment that I get from my family leads me to the point of this post. The great joy I get from my family has caused me to develop a good deal of sadness for the state of our families in general, and the great loss and missed opportunities many of my brothers are unknowingly experiencing.

Far too many brothers are chasing a hollow and unfulfilling lie of a life-style. The illusion that parting, multiple women, money, and cars define the “good life” is fools-gold. It’s like eating candy. It tastes good but lacks all nutritional value. Where as a loving family is like a good home cooked meal. Just being a good dad to your kids by being involved in there lives on a regular basis would mean the world to them and pay you back life long dividends.

When my little two-year-old tells me he loves me, or my one-year-old smiles, bounces, and yells “Daa” to say hello, it’s priceless. There aren’t enough cars, women, parties or money in the world to replace that experience.

A life built around selfishness and materialism is no life at all. To be blessed with the privilege of caring for a little one is a gift to you from God. If you embrace the opportunity of fatherhood you will get so much more back from the experience than you could ever sacrifice. There is nothing else like it.

If your dad was absent from your life, please take the opportunity to break the cycle, and commit yourself to your kids. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to love or like their mother. You just need to love them by spending time with them. When you walk away from fatherhood everybody loses, but you most of all.

7 Comments:

  • At 2:03 AM, Blogger Blackhoney said…

    Peace T.H... great post.

    I followed this link via my forum (Cocoa Lounge)

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger T.H. said…

    Thanks,

    I like your site. I just added it to my list.

     
  • At 11:33 AM, Blogger Sonya Triggs-Wharton said…

    I really enjoyed this post. I recently had just such a conversation about the responsibilities of marriage and children. And, ironically, I feel exactly like you used to feel, though I am a woman. I equate marriage to some extent with losing my freedom and children to be something of a burden. Like you, I would like to be a good parent, so I am hoping and praying that I will achieve the maturity and peace that have marked your marriage and your relationship with your children.

    Hey - I'm glad you found the Cocoa Lounge. I hang out there periodically and I think it is a wonderful place for good, relevant conversation about African-American issues.

     
  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger T.H. said…

    Thanks for the comment.

    I started a thread on the Cocoa Lounge with this same post. In my own little way I'm trying to challenge some of the lies that are hurting us as a people.

    I know it's not exclusive material, but if you would like to post it on one of your sites let me know. I think is important for men to speakout in support of fatherhood.

     
  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger Sonya Triggs-Wharton said…

    I've posted a link to your article today. Thank you again for the encouraging and heartfelt words about Fatherhood. You help me to stay inspired.

     
  • At 9:43 AM, Blogger mmog37 said…

    Good Post
    Thanks for sharing
    glad to see that there are brothers
    out there who are trying to break the cycle.

    Peace and Blessings

     
  • At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This was great. If it's ok with you, I'd like to read it on Father's Day at our church.

    Blessings,
    Greg

     

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