LETTER TO MY BLACK FATHER
Morris, my dad, has always had big dreams for his children. He has worked non stop to try to get us everything HE wanted for us. During our family meeting he took the opportunity to apologize for not showing up as a “better” father. He did not try to justify why he didn't; he stated that he did the best he could and he hoped that it was enough. Little does he know my brothers and I think he did a phenomenal job considering the lack of fathering and experiences he had to work with. However, hearing a genuine “I’m Sorry” seemed to heal years of resentment.
My dad is the realest man I know! To know him is to love him! He is honest about his strengths and weaknesses. He does not live by “fake it till you make it”, his hustle is unmatched! He is always finding ways to make money. He values helping his family and giving back to his hood, 3Y2. Now my dad’s way of doing things has been very one-track minded. He is what you would call the “Master of Tunnel Vision”. He sometimes gets so engulfed in his own way that he forgets that other people’s feelings, thoughts, and personalities are involved. But after years of therapy he has now realized how to get his goals accomplished while considering other people's feelings, a little bit! LOL I appreciate and value all of my dads missteps because he used them to direct us away from the mistakes that he had made.
My dad has always said that he wanted to leave behind houses for his children and he did just that. He did this without a high school diploma, no example of what a father should be, and growing up in the middle of north Philly. My dad found his father passed away at the age of 14 years old. From then on he believed that he needed to take on all family endeavors and he began working to make sure money was always available for his family. Too many times this happens because of the lack of father’s presence in the home. Young boys become the “man of the house” and never get to experience childhood. These young men experience trauma and are rarely encouraged to participate in self-healing work but they are expected to provide and protect. Their self-worth is almost always attached to the money they make, how many girls they can get, and any other external gratification. Now I know for sure that women grew up under these same conditions and we share many of the same experiences as men but somehow the outcome affects us all differently.
Black men deserve to be loved unconditionally! I wholeheartedly believe in this statement and try my very best to live by it. Unconditional love doesn’t include challenging the boundaries of the people around you, avoiding consequences, and lacking accountability. It actually requires the opposite. Men become stronger when they place their vulnerability in the hands of people they love, respect, and honor. By practicing vulnerability, accountability, followed up with changed behavior, safe environments for the black man are able to flourish.
Below are some quotes and resources that you can use when the weight of the world is on your shoulders: