I recently created and posted a couple videos of myself dancing and singing with my son (remaking a song), just being a father, and got some flak from the fellas for it. You would’ve thought I switched genders. The ladies loved it, but the men said it made me look soft. How Sway?
Because I love my son enough to turn my cool down a bit and just be free with him? To be as free as a kid is on a normal day is a pure joy. Kids have it made in more ways than you think. Not just the obvious ways like not having bills, important agendas, etc.; it’s much bigger than that. Kids (when younger) get to be free. Once you become an adult, you not only inherit certain obligations, but you are often times boxed in and encouraged to be a certain way or you get criticized, ridiculed, and made a mockery of. When you become a parent, specifically a father raising a son, your obligations immediately intensify because you now have a new man and future leader to shape and mold. As sarcastically as I can say this, we all know that a man has to be “hard” to successfully make it in this society that we live in.
I do agree that it’s a very cold world and one must prepare, however, this type of rhetoric has been enforced for far too long. Fatherlessness is at an all-time high, and yet society can still find time to also criticize the ones that are there, hands-on, and fighting to go against the grain in some areas…particularly showing emotion, displaying love, and a different type of molding. Yes, I strongly agree, that a man needs to be raised to be a protector, provider, and overseer of his household; and to be successful at that God-given task he must be strong physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and most importantly spiritually. However, society has also succeeded in leading us men to believe that we can’t display emotions, show love to another male, and if so we are soft. Then the irony of that is that when we fit right in to their suggested stereotype, more criticisms comes stating that we need to be able to soften up, because apparently we do the former too well. I’d rather groom a more well-rounded man.
As a man, and also one that carries a very colorfully experienced background, I’ve found that after being groomed for so long to have a hardened heart, many of us can’t simply turn it off as we would flip a switch. I think it starts early, and I definitely believe it begins with the fathers. I’m a father of a black intellectual, young superstar, genius, fearless, charismatic kid named Jordan, who’s rapidly approaching the age of 12 and he needs LOVE.
Love comes in many forms, and a child must be comfortable enough to share with their parents when in need, unsure and also be able to be care-free. How can this be achieved if the fathers can’t even hug their sons, kiss their foreheads at night, pray with them before bed, and yes, dare I say, dance with them with an imaginary mic and belting Bruno Mars at the top of their lungs-yes I do all of these things.
As a father, but more-so a leader, I have to be cognizant enough to recognize that I don’t have to succumb to society’s fabricated depictions of myself and just be there for my child. Sure, as a certified black belt in Tae-kwon-do, I’ve also taught him how to fight. As a product of my environment, growing up in Richmond city and Chesterfield County, I’ve been known to say the cliché lines like “Man up”, “Stop all that crying” and many more, and I constantly push him to think for himself, prepare for the worse and always use his insight to learn the climate of the room. Some life practices are good; however, not all will lead one to the road of success or happiness. Sometimes your son may need to let out his emotions, gain some healing, discuss his feelings/concerns, and hell…even dance with his father (word to Luther).
I’ve found that fathers today can’t turn their cool down enough to even do something as simple as karaoke or dance with their sons for fear of societal or even self-scrutiny. I’m sure some conspiracy theorist would say that society is attempting to groom the man to remain hardened and then that ultimately leads us to death or jail, both options leave our sons (& daughters) without the proper covering. While I can definitely agree with that, in a more practical sense I just say if you can’t be cool enough to do something simple like dance with your son or console your son when he’s hurt, you’ve already let society win in telling you what’s “cool” and what works.
Fathers, please turn your cool down and turn your love level up for the sake of your children. Meanwhile, while you all work on that, I’ll be battling in video games and singing everything from Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, to Tasha Cobbs with my little man and capturing it on video for all of social media to see and enjoy.
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