Shawn A. Williams grew up in Buena Vista, Georgia, playing high school football and running track. Williams’ athletic prowess led him to coach and little league football in his beloved hometown. Later, he joined the U.S. Army where he met Ashlee Schuler. Three years later they would become the proud parents of a baby boy, Shawn Allen Williams Jr.
In honor of Black fathers, rolling out spoke with Williams regarding fatherhood and what has it taught him.
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
My struggles in life rewarded me with an abundance of wisdom. With wisdom comes a lot of responsibility when you are ready to be who you are. I hope to be able to share my wisdom with my son. [I] hope he learns to put love first in everything he does. That is my legacy being left for him outside of the material things.
How would you describe your fatherhood culture?
My fatherhood culture overall is amazing. I have had two father figures in my life. My grandfather and my dad have played an important role in my life ever since I can remember … always being there to lead by example and help dissect my problems so I could find a solution. Still today, those two men would be my definition of … fatherhood.
Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?
It is essential to learn and attain valuable skills to survive in the world. Being educated with the right knowledge and developing skills will guarantee you a life full of wealth, growth, and substance. You will be able to craft your goals in life instead of just responding and settling with it.
Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?
One day I was yelling at my son for not doing something I wanted him to do. I was angry and irritated not so much at him, but at other things in life in general. After doing some self-reflection, I realized that my past experiences were being re-lived by my actions in the father role. I had to change this because, in return, I was also teaching my son that anger and screaming are how you should act. [That’s] not the way to go about things in any situation.
Name one life lesson that no one taught you, but should have.
Take time to get to know yourself. We are always on the move doing different things in life. We never use our free time to sit back and do nothing so that we can really know who we are. Once we understand ourselves inside and out, then we will have the confidence to know ourselves and trust ourselves wholeheartedly. No one can tell you who you are.