Describe what makes being a father special.
Everything about being a father is special. The honor in being responsible for children in your own unique way highlights all that is special about being a father. Through a loving and healthy lens we get to give a masculine perspective of the world.
What is a father’s mission?
The mission of a father is the same as any parent; Raise your children to the best of your ability. Ask when you do know and do more when you don’t feel like you can. The mission of a father is not difficult to understand, it’s the implementation of the responsibility that’s challenging. A father is easy to be, but hard and rewarding to do!
What would you share with a new father about reading to his child?
Research supports and encourages that reading is critical to a child’s cognitive development. In fact according to the Department of Education, Children whose fathers are highly involved in their schools are more likely to do well academically, to participate in extracurricular activities, enjoy school and are less likely to have ever repeated a grade or be expelled. However, the joy of reading is taught at home and by example.
How have you established trust with your children?
I build trust with my children by being as true to my word as possible. Keeping it age appropriate “real.” They don’t have to know everything, however they do deserve context to whatever they want to know so that they can begin to develop their own healthy frame of reference. Showing up in their need is important. That starts with being there, remaining open-minded and being nonjudgmental.
What role do you play in the education of your children?
Education in my house is beyond what they learn in school. I encourage a thirst and curiosity for information and truth. Exposing them to life beyond the fours walls of their life. All of my children have traveled around the country and world. I have also created a desire to serve. It’s amazing how much you learn about life when you serve others.
Describe the best moment that allowed you to push forward because of something your children did or said.
I had two moments, both from my daughters that warmed my heart and encouraged me to show up even bigger in their lives. While interviewing my younger daughter for a documentary after a trip to Africa, I asked what she learned from working with me. She said, “Not much, I’ve been watching you all my life.” The second moment came from my middle daughter after her second year of college when she said, “It’s hard finding the right man for me because none of them match what you’ve shown me about real men.” Both of these made me realize that much about what my children learn from me is not about what I say, but what they see in me.
What have you learned about yourself because of your children?
I think I learned the biggest lesson from my son. It’s a constant lesson as I serve as a father to him, it highlights what I miss from my own father. I often have the weird feeling of wondering how my son must feel to have his father in his life. Because I wonder that, it ensures at least for me, that my presence in his life will always be there.
What is your best memory of your father?
Because my father wasn’t in my life, I don’t have a memorable moment. However there was a moment that I began to endear him. At 51 years old when I forgave him. It was after my documentary, “Spit’in Anger,” that I learned in order to move forward and be the best father I could be, I had to forgive him for not being there for me in the way that I needed him. God only gave us one commandment for our parents. He did not say we had to like them, agree with them or even tolerate them, he only says we have to honor them.
Finish the sentences:
Being a father is … an honor and privilege.
Give whatever you did not get from father because … just because you didn’t get it doesn’t’ mean your children don’t need or deserve your love and presence.
When I hug my child I feel … I want them to know that even when I’m not here that they will always feel me protecting them.
I teach my child … that there is only person who can set boundaries for them. They are in full control of fulfilling their destiny.
When I see my child my … heart smiles.
Fathers should … embrace their value and the importance of them showing up in the lives of their families and community.
I want my child to say my father … my father gave me everything he had and when that was gone, he gave me “more.”
With more than 25 years of community development experience, Braswell is the executive director of Fathers incorporated, www.fathersincorporated.com, a not-for-profit organization that serves as a leader in the promotion of responsible fatherhood. Additionally, Braswell serves as the director of President Obama’s National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse www.fatherhood.gov.
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