Three Attitudes Dads Must Adopt to Become Socially Active. : ThyBlackMan

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Three Attitudes Dads Must Adopt to Become Socially Active.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) “There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them”?

~President Obama, announcing My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address the challenges of Black and Hispanic young men of color in 2014

In spite of the good intention, President Obama was lampooned in the media and in many black circles as a ‘Johnny-come-late’ as it2016-africanamericanfather-son-computer relates to the struggles of men and especially fathers of color in America. Indeed, grassroots organizations have manned their posts struggling for peace and justice for black men decades before Mr. Obama’s ascendancy in 2008.

Still, as another Father’s Day approaches and we pause to commemorate living and deceased dads, the question lingers: Is enough being done? I say no. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. So what must we do?

This article does not decry the lack of social activism in our communities; it serves as a beacon for more action – beginning with each dad.

To be present in the lives of our children as black fathers is being socially active (indeed, it’s a political statement), but there is always more that we can do. Here are three attitudes we must adopt to become socially active fathers for the greater good of our community.

Attitude#One

Become Anti-Anti-Intellectual

There is and has been a strain of anti-intellectualism running through our youth for at least two quarters of a century now. Black youth who excel academically are consistently teased and taunted by their black peers for ‘acting white’. But, as noted scholar Jawanzaa Kunjufu, asks “If being smart is acting white, what does acting black mean?”

We need more dads to become anti-anti-intellectual; to take a stand against this virulent form of self-hatred and reinforce the intellectual, academic and scholastic performance of our young.

Anti-anti-intellectualism can also be countered by elevating reading to a supreme position in our homes. Dads simply must make sure their children – especially black boys – are reading on a consistent basis. If there are more DVD movies than books in your home, there’s a problem. Reading is the new wellness!

Attitude#Two

Mentor

Many years ago, former NBA superstar Charles Barkley received criticism when he emphatically declared, “I am not a role model.” At one time I agreed with Mr. Barkley; I wrote in my book Brotha2Brotha: Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out that the real role models in our community were not the entertainers, singers and athletes making millions of dollars in their professions.

Rather, the role models who really mattered were the everyday men like you and me, regardless of profession.

I evolved to disagree generally with the “I am not a role model” position because I now see how, in the presence of little black boys and girls I don’t even know, their eyes fasten upon me, perhaps enthralled by the image of a strong, black male figure, mesmerized by a gait and strength too often missing in their experience.

By this standard alone, we are indeed a type of role model.

I like how Steven Spielberg put it: The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.

Whether we like it or not, we are mentoring in some form.

A West African proverb says I am because we are. We are because I am.

Attitude#Three

Think Globally

It’s easy for us to become lost in our own individual struggle as fathers. Financial pressure, co-parenting conflict, court dates all conspire at times to rob us of the joy of being a dad.

When looked at from a global perspective, though, our struggle to remain relevant is a small drop in the ocean. We are not disconnected.

Joseph Campbell wrote, When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

We are connected to a super-organism of fatherhood. All over the globe fathers of every hue and nationality are struggling to maintain a sense of connectedness to their children; fathers are fighting against oppressive regimes to keep their families intact; subsisting on less than a dollar a day to make ends meet.

Their plight may be unimaginable to us as citizens of the freest nation on the planet, but it may serve to embolden our struggle.

Our challenge is to remain active in the lives of our children and community.

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.

In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) – http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com.


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