Fatherhood and The Central Park Five

On 5/19/2019 I had the fortunate experience of attending a Q & A following a screening at the SVA Theatre of Ava Duvernay’s “When They See Us”. This 4 part mini series is a dramatic depiction of Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Raymond Santana’s youth being stolen from them as they were wrongfully convicted of a crime (brutal rape of a white woman) they didn’t commit in 1989. Our son Asante Ma’at (Asante Blackk) has the fortunate experience of playing Kevin Richardson in the mini-series. During the screening i was captivated by the insight and eloquence of the youth and adult cast. I was particularly intrigued and impressed by a comment MIchael K Williams made regarding the character he played, Bobby McCray (Antron McCrays father). During the mini-series Mr. McCray is portrayed as being emotionally torn and conflicted about how to adequately provide and protect his family during this period of crisis. The film depicts Bobby McCray angrily urging his son (Antron McCray) during the process of coerced interrogation to “give them what they want” (a confession to raping a woman in Central Park).

What stood out to me about Michael’s comments was how he as an actor was willing to enter into a space of vulnerability and explore/expose the complexity of fatherhood and shed light on the pain, fear, disappointment, love, and purpose that exist in the realm of being an imperfect parent. Michael K Williams asked the question….what made Antron’s father do what he did? It’s one thing and it may even be easy to blame him and judge him for the decision he made to intensely implore his son to cooperate and to not attend the initial stages of his son’s trial. It’s another thing to honor the fullness of his experience and recognize that even in his absence….he loved his son….he loved his wife…and he was doing the best he knew how to do in that moment. Michael K Williams spoke to Bobby McCray’s dilemma free of judgement. Michael K. Williams in his portrayal of Mr. McCray showed that there was awareness that he could have done more for his son and family. There was also a shedding of additional light on the complexity and nuance of fatherhood…especially when one feels shackled by the past particularly when it involves being a part of criminal justice system.

Finding Room For Family Time In A Fast Paced World

By Steven C.

Sometimes work schedules stretch mothers and fathers to the breaking point with little time left for the people who matter most: children. Thankfully, spending time with family is more than ticking away the hours of a dull day; it is about quality interaction between parents and children. Even though it may seem like the twenty-four hour day needs to be lengthened, it actually provides plenty of time to accomplish the most important mission of all—time with family.

Schedules, including work, travel, and possibly continued education, often seem like the enemy. They appear to rob parents of valuable time with children during their formative years. This seemingly dark cloud does have a silver lining, however. Work provides valuable resources for the family in terms of food, shelter, health insurance, and savings. Additional education enriches the parents’ lives, broadens their horizons, and can lead to more rewarding careers. Beyond the obvious, these necessary activities outside parenting provide parents with a very important reminder: Time is precious.

In parenting, as in life, it is vital to remember the value of your time varies by how you spend it. If a parent spends all day at home watching television, obviously the child is not benefiting from their presence. On the other hand, if a parent spends just fifteen minutes devoted to interaction with their child, that parent will have done wonders for their little one. Quality, not necessarily quantity, is the main feature of a healthy parent-child relationship.

Presence is more than a physical state. Love and care are involved in the selection of childcare, clothing, and feeding children. Every aspect of a child’s world exists because of the efforts put forth by the parent or caregiver. The parent sustains the life of the child. This vital role does not evaporate when the parent dons business attire and continues on their morning commute after dropping their child off at school.

Children whose parents work are not always suffering souls. Involvement in extracurricular activities and preschool as a result of parental work schedules often benefit the child. High quality, loving daycare and preschool settings enrich children’s lives and provide a solid foundation for the future. In fact, in a 1996 study entitled The Five to Seven Year Shift: The Age of Reason and Responsibility researchers found, “Children with extensive preschool experience tend to adjust to kindergarten more easily than those who spent little or no time in preschool. Children who start kindergarten with peers they know and like generally do better.”

Part of being there for a child is letting that child know they are in your thoughts; it is a matter of doing little things that show you care. Small remembrances like sending a note in your child’s lunch or bringing them a healthy snack or something to drink when picking them up at the end of a long day at school or preschool are a token of affection your young child will treasure. Older children may also appreciate hearing a retelling of a joke heard by the parent during the day, the chance to engage in a conversation about their school day, or a discussion of plans around the table in the evening. In all cases, showing that a child’s feelings matter and they are remembered even in their absence is an important part of family bonding. These small acts do not require vast amounts of time; they only require small continual acknowledgements by the parent.

In an effort to build a strong bond and fond memories, set routines can be a benefit to hurried, harried parents. The morning rush out the door can become more pleasant through planning. For younger children, getting an early start each day, with a morning book reading as the child is waking, sets a nice tone for the day and makes waking up less of a chore. Reading to children, for as little as five to fifteen minutes each day, at a young age provides children valuable skills for the future. According to Gabrielle Simcock, author of a recent study related to children and reading published by the American Psychological Association, “…research shows that very young children can learn to perform novel actions with novel objects from a brief picture-book reading interaction. This common form of interaction that takes place very early in children’s lives, may provide an important source of information to them about the world around them.”

All the way out the door and up the steps to school, through reinforcing and comforting routines, parents can work to create bonds that will set the stage for strong family ties. For example, children love to play games in the car. Younger children can enjoy play games of I-Spy and variations of the License Plate Game to pass the time on the way to class. Encouraging words from the parent as the drive goes along can help the child learn about the world and experience the affection of the parent.

Later in the day, routines can be a blessing as well, dinner at the table—even if it is a fast food meal picked up on the way home—can provide quality family time. Discussing the day’s events before dispersing for homework, housework, or bed gives families the opportunity to check in with each other and show that they care. Reading a book at night, before tucking the child into bed is a tried and true parenting routine beloved by generations of children. Time conscious parents will be happy to note that story books listing the average length of the story in minutes can be found in the children’s section of the bookstore. Some titles with this handy device include: Disney’s 5 Minute Bedtime Stories by Catherine Hapka, A Treasury of Bedtime Stories by Linda Yeatman, and Three Minute Tales: Stories to Tell When Time Is Short by Margaret Read MacDonald.

On the weekend, when more time is available, scheduling a regular family game time every other weekend-as an important meeting-gives everyone something to look forward to on the day off. Finding and collecting board games can be fun for the whole family and offer a variety of entertainment that transcends the focus on gadgets, gizmos, and time in front of the television or computer screen common in this modern life. Parents can try such classics as Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, or branch out into new realms with the family board game with such emerging classics as Khet: The Laser Game—a blend of checkers and chess that involves laser light—or Cadoo: Family Fun—an inventive game which, as the name suggests, is fun for the whole family.

There are many ways to play an active role in family life, but parents do not need an extra hours in the day to do it. All it takes is a kind word here and there, a brief remembrance, or fifteen minutes to an hour set aside in time pockets throughout the week. Children are adaptable and appreciate the time that parents give them. The only requirement is that the parent demonstrates they care and are tuned in to their child through positive interaction. Parents should also remember that quality time and parenting in general are not about perfection but about persistence.

They say your kid is a reflection of you. Visit Gagazine.com to learn how to raise a better child by raising a better parent (YOU) first.

Never Underestimate The Importance Of A Father

Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy. Listen in as Ayize and Aiyana discuss the importance of FATHERHOOD. Often underrated and underestimated. Fathers are critical to children and families. Too many people don’t understand how important fathers are to the lives of their children. Even for those who have never known their father or don’t have an involved father—your relationship (or lack of a relationship) with your father is impacting you, your choices, your worldview and your path in life each and every single day. Listen in to understand why.

Will Your Man Be A Good Father? 8 Signs That Say YES!!

By Mona Lisa Macalino

Sure, he’s a great boyfriend or fiance, but how would he fare on the fatherhood front?

Father’s Day just passed, and amidst all of the celebrating and gift-giving, I can’t help but feel happy (and a little relieved) knowing that my future hubby will be an amazing father to my children one day.

So how do you tell if your Mr. Perfect will translate into a stellar dad? Here are some telltale signs:

1. He posts pictures of his nephews’ or little cousins’ elementary school art projects on Facebook, proclaiming that he can’t wait to be a dad.

2. This one’s a no-brainer: He loves kids and babies, and they love him. I swear that all babies love my fiancé, even the most fickle.

3. He attends your little brother’s baseball games and truly looks forward to mingling and playing ball with the little ones.

4. He adapts to outside circumstances easily and can go with the flow. He always comes up with another plan on the spot when things go wrong, like when it rains on your Disneyland vacation.

5. He loves to stay home with you just as much, if not more than, partying all night with the boys.

6. He doesn’t have a scary temper. This one’s important — you don’t want your kids to deal with the scars of his rage on you or them.

7. He’s patient, stable and loves you unconditionally. Your future offspring will know that no matter what happens, he will always be there for them.

8. He knows how to work as a team — super important when you’re raising children! You’ll feel safe knowing that you’re in it together as you both transition into parenthood.

A Plea To Black Women: Do Not Block Your Son From Seeing His Father

Dr. Rosie Milligan

Boys need fathers in their lives. I am making a plea to African-American fathers to be active participants in the lives of their sons; and for African-American women to assist these fathers in the transition of their reentering the lives of their sons.

Most every ill that plagues the Black male child is mostly related to fatherlessness. Having a father as a role model and teacher is critical for a male child. The male who understands this best is the male child whose father was present, and participated, in his life. Unfortunately, for many Black males, they have not had the experience of having a father role model. A male child who did not have his father present can not relate to the critical differences it makes, for he has no comparison to make. Therefore, it becomes easy for him, as an adult, to abandon his son; especially, when it becomes a challenge to be a part of his life.

In addition, I believe that we must revisit history as we examine the family structure of Blacks in America. An absentee father was the norm for the African-American family. Families were separated by force! Slavery severely impacted the lives of the Black family. Considering the fact that our physical exodus from slavery has only been 140 years, that’s not a long time, and we are still experiencing its effects.

Blacks were forced to produce offsprings, not for themselves, but for their master’s economic gain. Today, Blacks are not forced to produce babies; however, because of the residual effect of slavery on the Black family, their offsprings continue to be an economic product for the modern-day master called PRISON. Today, in 2005, Black males in prison are paid less for their labor than they were paid 140 years ago.

Black men were not socialized as other men, that is, to be accountable or responsible for his family. In order to understand why the Black man and Black woman are having such challenges in their relationships, you must understand how their experience and living conditions in America have impacted their lives and the lives of their family.

When a Black family needed assistance from Social Services programs, the father had to remove himself from the family in order for his wife and children to get assistance. Black men have a long way to go to get back to their African roots of being a provider and protector. Black men have come a long way, and they will get back to their God-Created-Nature, with the help of God, Almighty, and with the understanding of their past.

It is the responsibility of the father to help provide for his child. And providing entails more than financial provisions. I’m pleading with women, to not prevent the father from being a part of his son’s life because of the father’s inability to support financially. A male child needs his father in his life, and the woman only hurts her son(s) when she tries to prevent them from having a father-son relationship. The many ills of Black men are inevitably traced to their Fatherlessness.

Most Black men really want to be with their families and children. What they need is someone to be a father-like figure for them. A Black man needs guidance. Most of them are trying to be something or somebody that they have never seen or experienced, and must be taught that. The womans ideal of what a man is supposed to be is distorted because she too has not experience a father in her life.

You see, a father is a role model for his son and a father gives definition to his daughter as to what a man is. A mother is a role model for her daughter and she gives definition to her son as to what a woman is. 70% of Black households are headed and ran by a female with the father most times being totally out of the picture. The sons and daughters are both confused about male/female responsibility.

Many men are not allowed to have relationships with their children. If these men are allowed to participate in their childrens lives, it must be on the woman’s terms only. When it becomes unbearable, he leaves the woman and the child behind. The real victim is the child.

There are some things that a man needs to teach his son, such as: how to bathe and clean his genital area, how to shop for clothing, how to choose his friends, how to respect himself, how to drive an automobile, how to resolve conflicts, how to fight, how to avoid a fight, how to play sports. I am not casting blame on the Black woman. I am only pointing out the facts that are hindering the progress of the Black family. I believe that if we could get a perspective of the Black man, as related to who he was before coming to America and what America has made him become, then we would have a better understanding of our family dynamics and we can embrace each other and begin to value ourselves and our children again.

*Editorial Note* While the above piece cites data from 2005, the essence of the message still remains an unfortunate truth.

Dr. Rosie Milligan, Counselor/Author: Author of Negroes, Colored People, Black, African-Americans in America, Satisfying The Black Man Sexually, Satisfying The Black Woman Sexually and Why Black Men Choose White Women.
For more information from Dr. Rosie you can visit: http://www.Drrosie.com/

5 Ways Divorced Fathers Can Make The Most Of Visitation Time With Their Children

It’s hard when fathers are faced with the reality of visitation—a typically negotiated and brief time they have to spend with their children. Visitation is often limited and quite different in comparison to the relationships dads used to enjoy. This change is a lot to handle, so don’t hesitate to seek fathers rights support for help.

It’s essential to make visitation time a great experience for both dads and their children.  Here are some ways to make the most of your visitation:

1. Don’t try to be “Mr. Mom.”

The first visitation with your children might be one of the few times you have been alone with them, or you may be an old pro at taking full responsibility for them. Either way, do not try to be a mom. This could set you up for failure. Men are dads. Your children expect you to act like a father, so do the things you’ve always done. If you cooked before, keep cooking. If you haven’t ever laid food on the kitchen table, don’t try to be a gourmet chef. Be honest with your kids and let them learn with you. Invite them into your life and continue to be a part of theirs.

2. Give them space.

Children feel more connected and comfortable when they have a place that is their own. It can be a bedroom, a dresser, or even a desk—anywhere that they can keep their belongings and know they’ll still be there when they return. Let them hang a poster or put a picture they love in a frame. These mementos will put them more at ease.

3. Stay flexible.

The agreement mediated by the courts gives you your visitation rights. You may have every other weekend and holidays, or some other schedule. Just remember that there’s no reason that arrangement should stay constant. You are allowed slight variations by mutual agreement between you, your ex-spouse, and the children. There may be a time your child is invited to a birthday party or a time you can’t get off work. To make shared custody work, avoid rigidity. It only hurts you and your children.

4. Avoid over-planning.

Visitation may initially seem daunting.  You may worry about how you will keep the children occupied and having fun. Ask yourself if you were concerned about this prior to the divorce. You probably weren’t. Kids like just being with you and don’t have to be constantly entertained and stimulated. It may take some time, but soon enough you will establish a natural rhythm, a time to make memories and forge strong bonds with your children.

There’s a saying that time heals all wounds. Time is part of the equation—to heal the heart, you must commit to getting better. Injured baseball players don’t just throw in the towel. They diligently work themselves back into playing the game, even though they may feel repercussions and pain from the injury for years. Fatherswho have gone through a bitter divorce may find that the separation feels like an injury and a great disadvantage when it comes to parenting.  Remember to call upon the fathering part of yourself. It may be awkward and hard at first, but over time and with patience, things will improve.

Black Folks & Self-Determination….A Beautiful Thang

By Aiyana Ma’at

Today is the second day of Kwanzaa and we are lifting up Kujichagulia which means Self-Determination. I love this principle not only because it is so powerful for me on a personal level but because it is do necessary for how we live our lives every single day.

Issues with your man? Try some Self-Determination.

Issues with you kids? Self-Determination….

How about issues with your self-esteem? Some old-fashioned Self-Determination is all you need.

Listen in as I ramble a bit (…but it’s purposeful rambling….lol) about Black Folks & Self-Determination.

Love ya’ll.

StopPlayingStartPushing
*DISCLAIMER*— Ayize (my hubby) is responsible for the ratchet cinematography….Lol! -Aiyana xoxxo

 

 

Tyler Perry Says He Could See Being A Father At Age 45

Tyler Perry recently stopped by the “Steve Harvey Show” and talked about wanting to become a father in the next two years at age 45.  Steve Harvey joked with him and told him that he’s not Michael Douglas and that he doesn’t have all day.  Steve said when Tyler turns 60 the boy or girl will be 15 and Tyler Perry responded by saying that he’ll hire someone to get out there and play basketball with his child. LOL

 

Check out the video below:

Magic Johnson Shows His Love When Speaking About His Gay Son ‘E J’

NBA Hall Of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson sat down with TMZ for an unbelievably candid interview about his gay son Earvin Johnson III and the implications that EJ’s coming out will have in the black community, in the sports community and in their lives.  Magic certainly showed a high level of emotional maturity when talking about this sensitive area and probably, without his knowledge, gave other fathers and sons permission to engage in this type of “uncomfortable” conversation.  Hats off to Magic for being a father and a man.

Ready To Grow Your Family? Check Out These 6 Essential Tips.

By Susan F Taylor

There are many reasons why a woman cannot conceive a baby. If you are one of these women, who are experiencing difficulty with getting pregnant stop what you’re doing and read on to get tips to improve your chances of conceiving a baby. You likely have heard of some of these, but the question is are you doing these things?

 

1) You have to consult first an obstetrician for you to be diagnosed. Your doctor could conduct series of tests to know if you have hormonal imbalances.

 

2) Engage yourself to physical activities or exercise routines everyday for at least 30 minutes. Try different sports such as playing tennis, swimming, badminton, or volleyball. Or you can do simple exercises such as walking your dog, jogging or biking.

 

3) You should consider your sexual positions during sex. The advisable positions are dog style and missionary positions. During intercourse, do not shift to different positions especially sitting to standing positions. After intercourse, you have to raise your hips by putting a pillow under your bottom to help the sperm swim near your cervix.

 

4) Do not stress yourself if you cannot conceive. Do it naturally and with love. Remember that a child is a product of your love with your partner.

 

5) Another tip for improving your odds of getting pregnant is to know your ovulation period. Timing is very critical in conceiving. Knowing your ovulation period will give you the best time to have intercourse with your partner.

 

6) Eating healthy and nutritious foods will help improve your chances of conceiving a baby. You have to include in your balanced diet the following: milk, orange, poultry, beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables and lean meats. Avoid in your daily meal trans fat food such as potato chips, cookies, French fries and doughnuts.