Hakim Hilliard reveals why the greatest joy in life is being a father

Hakim Hilliard is an Atlanta-based attorney who specializes in matters of public policy and regulator affairs.  He was born in Monrovia, Liberia, attended high school and college in Atlanta, GA at The Lovett School and Morehouse College, respectively, and he attended law school at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

When he is not working, Hakim he enjoys volunteering with the C.T. Vivian Male Scholars’ Program, a free, weekly empowerment program he co-founded in 2009 for the benefit of African American males, 6-16 years of age, to provide them with regular access to positive male role models.  A single father with a seven-year-old daughter, Asa Pearl, the greatest joy in Hakim’s life is being a Dad.

What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community? 

Dr. Fu-Kiau Bunseki teaches in “Kindezi: The Kongo Art of Babysitting,” that it is our responsibility to “raise” our entire village, where are children belong to us and are “never given away.” This is the African way of teaching and socializing our community and it frames the basis of what I seek to model for my daughter and my community.

How would you describe your Fatherhood culture?

My fatherhood culture consists of total engagement in my daughter’s life, where, in addition to being a father, I am also a friend, guide, coach, healer, counselor, model, storyteller, entertainer, artist, architect, builder, minister, and advocate to and for my daughter.

From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read? 

The Teachings of Ptahhotep (the oldest book in the world), edited by Larry Williams, Nia Damali and Dr. Asa Hilliard; The Mis-Education of the Negro, by Carter G. Woodson.

Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills? 

Education provides the foundation from which we develop wisdom and perspective, both necessary to properly navigate life and make a positive contribution to the world.

As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook. 

My playbook is focused on me becoming a “living pattern,” or model, through which my daughter can receive the important values that I hope to transmit to her over time.

Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself? 

My daughter’s fearlessness in her interaction with the world has required me to challenge my own fears in ways I never have before.In this way, my love for my daughter has shown me my capacity for selflessness and humility.

What insightful advice would you suggest about building a network? 

Build a network where you are surrounded by people who embrace, inspire and lift you up.

Name one life lesson that no one taught you, but should have.

That each person, place and experience in life is presented to me for a specific purpose from which I am obligated to seek understanding.

How important is keeping your word

Your word is your integrity, your influence and your impact.

When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children? 

I am teaching my daughter in a way intended to expose her latent consciousness, all for the purpose of giving her the greatest opportunity to feed her soul and avoid mental, physical or spiritual danger.

What advice would you give on being responsible for your own dreams? 

Find your humility and the path to your dreams will be unimpeded.

How does following your spiritual values help you in life? 

You represent the hope and dreams of millions of members of your African ancestral family, most of whose name you will never know, but who lived lives based only on the faith that you would one day come into being.

Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.

In the African worldview, our children are seen as divine gifts from God.So, actively embracing my spirituality in the  exercise of “raising” my daughter is my main priority.

What was your fondest memory with your father?

My fondest memory with my father is one that I experienced over and over again during his lifetime.It was each occasion where he asked me how I felt, or acknowledged my fears, or loved me through my errors, all interaction that helped me feel his presence and let know that he was there for me.

Why is writing down your fatherhood goals for life so important? 

Fatherhood goals remind me to stay wed to my purpose for being a part of my daughter’s life.Each day, I ask myself what more I can do to clear a path that will allow her to live out her life with a free mind.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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