Father’s day just recently passed and I got a taste of being a father. This weekend my girlfriend and I baby sat the baby “Zoe”.
Zoe is one of the best babies I’ve ever watched, she is a “happy baby” as my grandmother would say. Vanessa and Myles were home packing and my girlfriend volunteered us for duty.
During the brief time we had her, I started to think what kind of father would I be. I started to reflect on the best habits or traits I like about myself. Then I started to think about the traits that could need some improving, wooo.
When I thought more about it…the characteristics I reflected on were not originally my habits. Most, if not all, my habits or traits came from someone else. What I mean is, throughout my life, I’ve come across men AND women who exuded positive traits that had a huge impression on me. My father was killed when I was about 2 years old and my grandfather and uncles step in to help my mother out. My mother was 18 and a high school graduate when she gave birth to my big head, that was a feat within itself. In the 70’s being a single mom wasn’t something to be proud of, luckily for me, the family nucleus was still intact.
I’ve heard stories about my father from uncles. I’m not going to say the stories were always good, I’ll just say I hope I don’t inherit some of my paternal attributes. The most influential people in my life were my mom, my pop pop(grandfather) and my uncles Rusty and Greg. They were the people who spoke to me the most. They spoke to me in words and in their actions. My uncle Rusty on my mother’s side (Voshell R. Smith) spoke the least but I followed his every move. He doesn’t smoke, drink, nothing. Everybody else in the family had some small “influence” not to the level of seeking counseling but most family members partook of the vices of purgatory. Funny. My uncle Greg (Gregory Singleton) on my father’s side was very similar my uncle Rusty no bad habits, no drinking, smoking, nothing.
Both in the military and both had money, not rich but rich in moral character. They both were clean-cut and always had a job. There were other people too, women that help shape me into the man I am. I remember the OHA SSA in Baltimore, MD where I worked as a “Stay in School” student while I attended Morgan State U. There was Diane Mobley, Karen Carrington, Judy Long, Vernice Bernard, Terron, the other Dee. Those women kept me straight and they collectively embodied what being a woman looks like; classy, fly, dignified, intelligent, beautiful women. Judy Long was the real one, keeping it REAL. They were all like aunts to me and always held some level of distinction in their demeanor . Those women helped me understand what my role is as a man. They helped me fashion an image of my wife.
So yeah, being a father starts with more than just the actions of your biological father, it starts with the choices you make as an adult. What you value as a man, what you look for in a woman and how you allow your life to be an example to your child. We sometimes get caught up looking at the nonsense and replaying it in our lives. That’s dumb, get away from those influences! Look at all the positive influences in your life and soak them up like a sponge. Whether it be a man or woman, the positive examples are there. Take those examples and make them a part of your life. Be that father that you didn’t see growing up and allow your child to identify you as “Dad”.
The baby Zoe gave me a glimpse of what it will be like, and I thank Myles and Vanessa for granting us this privilege for a brief time, that baby is awesome.
“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”
“Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.”
“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.”
Ian Morgan Cron