Author Tru Pettigrew discusses the importance of being a loving Black father

Tru Pettigrew is an author, speaker, coach and diversity and inclusion advocate with 20 plus years of experience in youth, young adult and multicultural marketing. He is a charter member of the Cary Police “Building Bridges” initiative as well as the co-founder of “Barbershop Rap Sessions,” which is a community engagement platform that has been effectively leveraged to help connect police officers with communities of color.

Pettigrew is also considered one of the nation’s top millennial empowerment experts and cross-generational thought leaders. His first book, Millennials Revealed, serves as a guide for countless individuals and organizations across the country to help them build meaningful connections across generations.

After establishing a strong reputation for helping organizations bridge gaps across generations, Pettigrew quickly emerged as the go-to expert for helping organizations and groups bridge gaps across racial, cultural, social, and relational lines as well.

Tru has shared his talents and expertise to help contribute to the success of brands and organizations such as Adidas, Nike, State Farm, Unilever, Ford, and numerous police departments, colleges, churches, and high schools across the country.

Tru currently lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife of almost 16 years, Tameka, and their 6-year-old son, Austin.

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

I am leaving my children and those in the communities that I serve a legacy of love, leadership and purpose. I seek to inspire and empower my children by leading with love and leading with purpose in all that I do. It is my belief that the example that I provide will inspire and influence them to do the same.

How would you describe your fatherhood culture?

I would describe my fatherhood culture as both a kingdom culture and a culture of collaboration. I say a kingdom culture because I do my best to follow the example, values, and behavior of the ultimate Father, which is our Father who art in Heaven. I say a culture of collaboration because I take a collaborative approach to supporting children whose fathers may be absent but still need a father figure in their lives with a larger group of caring and compassionate men.

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

As a father, I would recommend every child read the Bible, and The Alchemist. Other highly recommended books that I would add to that list are Things Fall Apart and How to Win Friends & Influence People.

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

It is important to expose children to education and valuable skills because, in addition to love, these are two of the most valuable tools that you can equip a child with for them to thrive in the world.

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

My playbook for life is simple … follow your GPS. I believe that we all have our own unique purpose in life and it’s our job to discover that purpose and then to do our best to live out that purpose. The best way to discover your purpose is to follow our internal GPS. That GPS stands for your gifts, your passions, and your service. You must trust your gifts, pursue your passions, and be willing to serve. Your desire to give should always exceed your expectation to receive. That’s when you know you’re operating on purpose!

Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?

My son will often group different categories of toys together as part of the same group, team, game or function. And my conditioned response or reflex will be to correct him by saying those are cars son, not trains; or those heroes and villains shouldn’t be on the same team; or those legos and magna-tiles don’t go together. And his response and desire to include things that are different on the same team, family, function or game, is a constant reminder for me to check my own biases in my day-to-day life and truly embrace the creativity, innovation, and power of inclusion.

Why should people read every day?

You should read every day because reading is how you learn. And we should never stop learning. And as the saying goes … “Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”

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

One of the most valuable life lessons that I’ve learned that no one ever taught me is this … “Life is not the way it should be, it’s the way that it is. And it’s the way that we deal with the way that it is, that determines how we will progress in life.” I find myself sharing this lesson with others almost daily.

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

One of the fondest memories I’ve experienced with my father was the first time he met my son, Austin. This moment was special because my mom had passed away already by the time we adopted our son, so my mother was never able to meet Austin. My dad and I had a strained relationship when I was growing up, and he wasn’t a consistent presence in my life, and nor was I in his life, at the time I had my first child, my daughter, London. For my dad and I to have fully reconciled our relationship by the time my mom had passed away was extremely meaningful to me in itself. But the first time my dad met my son, and the three of us were sitting in the living room of my home in North Carolina, that meant a lot to me on many levels.

Why is writing down your fatherhood goals for life important? Share your most valued and treasured fatherhood goal.

Writing down your fatherhood goals are important because writing it down makes it real. It also makes you feel more accountable because once you write them down they now become tangible and thus more attainable. My most valued and treasured fatherhood goal is to ensure my children accept Christ as their personal Lord and savior. Beyond that, I want my children to both lead purpose-driven lives filled with love and happiness.

 

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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