3 Ways African American Fathers Can Grow Up in 2012

3 Ways African American Fathers Can Grow Up in 2012

With the new year having arrived, I still find that the most important thing in my life remains my children.  As a parent and a single father to both a son and a daughter, I have observed that the rules of fatherhood have changed when compared with the fathers of my parents generation. Namely, we are more involved and also there are fewer of us, in the African American community  compared to years past. I do not know if this means there are fewer African American men embracing the love and joy of fatherhood, or if they do not desire to be fully involved in the lives of their children. However, there is a need for us to embrace this duty as did the men in our community of generations past.

My challenge to African American men with children is to take hold of the reins of fatherhood and use the new year, 2012 as a new starting point.  Use it to forget of the past shortcomings and seek the behaviors that will serve the needs of your children before yourself.

The new year offer this opportunity and there are several things that can be internalized to make this goal a reality.  First, get involved in your children’s lives and be seen.  This not only reinforces to your children the viable importance of you in their lives, but also allows for other people to recognize your involvement.  This is especially important in school.  It is well known that children whose parents are well known and frequently visit their children’s schools, are less likely to get in trouble or display behavioral problems.

Given this, it is also important to get involved in your children’s school.  Join the PTA and volunteer.  I cannot say how many times while attending PTA meetings for my kids, that I was lucky enough to see more than two or three African American males.  This is something that we all need to change if we truly desire to encourage academic and intellectual development among our children.

Last, make sure to demonstrate the importance of reading to you children. Read every day to them, and allow them to see you read each day. Especially if it is a warm and temperate day, read outside and try to reinforce via action, more things for you and your kids to do other than playing video games and watching television.

Yes, the new year is here. Take advantage of it and use it as a launch to get involved in your kids’ lives, or if you already are, to build on and strengthen the bond between father and child. –torrance stephens

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