Sit back and enjoy a conversation I (Ayize Ma’at) had with the Co-Star of the hit movie “Courageous”, Ken Bevel. This movie has revived the dialogue across the country about fatherhood and it’s importance in developing healthy families and building strong communities. This movie was tight…with a CAPITAL “T” I thoroughly enjoyed it and was emotionally moved on many levels to examine myself and challenge myself not to be just a good father….but instead be a great father. If you haven’t seen the movie yet…GO CHECK IT OUT. It’s playing in theaters nationwide.
By Ayize Ma’at
I am the proud father of 4 children ages 9,7,5, & 4. In 2001 when Aiyana and I had our first child I had no idea that I’d arrive at a place where my family would be 6 deep. Truthfully, I can very vividly remember asking myself “What the hell did I get myself into?”, after bringing my first child home from the hospital. The 3 hour increments of sleep, the crying, and the doo doo filled diapers had me literally screaming. Again, “What the hell did I get myself into?” What’s funny is that prior to even having 1, Aiyana and I talked about having 5 children. And Yall, don’t go asking no questions or making no suggestions because i’m very, very, very comfortable with Fo’ (4) and No Mo’ (0).
As I look at who I am today as a father I can definitely say that I’ve grown in my understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a Dad. Indulge me for a moment as I share with you 7 simple things that I love about being “Baba”.
I love to listen to my children laugh. “You got the fart touch”. “Ill, your breath stinks.” These are a couple of the many phrases in my home that are usually followed by an eruption of laughter. When I watch my children laugh I see happiness. Happiness for me makes me feel like their spirits are full. Keep on laughing babies.
I love to watch my children sleep. For 16 hours out of the day they’re running, jumping, talking, yelling, crying, laughing, and every other “ing” you can think of. Capturing them in a moment of quietude, eyes closed, nestled in a blanket of serenity is priceless. When I watch my children sleep I see stillness. Keep sleeping babies.
I love walking behind my children and watching them. When i watch them walk in a row or in a cluster, I see order. I see a snapshot of sequence. I see probability. I see mathematics. I see reciprocity. I see cause and effect. I see the fruit from my seed. When I watch my children walk I see order and I smile. Keep walking babies.
I love taking showers with my 4 year old son. The other day I was taking a shower by my lonesome and my wife interrupted my solitude by sneaking up on me and placing my 4 year old son in the shower with me. I verbally resisted but when I looked down and saw my four year old looking up at me with water splashing on his face I couldn’t help but submit. While in the shower my son is looking at me…looking at himself…looking at me…and then looking at himself….and then looking at me and smiling. Right before the smile I saw curiosity and I loved it. Let’s take some more showers together son, because soon we won’t be able to take showers together anymore.
I love holding my children’s hands. Time stands still when I’m walking with my 9 year old son and we’re holding hands. That’s special to me. He’s not too cool that he doesn’t want to be seen with me and I’m still such a significant part of his life that he wants to be close to me. With his hand held in mine and my hand held in his there’s acceptance. There’s reassurance. There’s that “nothing else matters in the world” feeling. Children I look forward to forever holding your hands.
I love when my children say I love you. When they say I love you…they mean it. When my 7 year old daughter gives me kisses she’s saying “I love you”. When My 5 year old daughter cuddles with me she’s saying “I love you”. When my 4 year old son asks me to watch cartoons with him, he’s saying “I love you”. When my 9 year old son wrestles with me he’s saying “I love you”. As an expression of love our children have labeled Aiyana and I, “the best and the bomb”. When one of our children says, “Mommy’s the best and Baba is the bomb” one of our other children will yell out in protest, “No Baba’s the best and Mommy’s the bomb”. Trust and believe, I soak all of the adoration up. I love when my children say I love you. Our love is unconditional and will last for the rest of our lives.
I love to listen to my children’s heartbeat. Hearing their rhythm, feeling their vibration, being in tune with their pulse reminds me of the possibility of the human spirit. I hear life without limitation. When placing my ear on their chest I feel them, I smell them, and I hear them. I am one with them. I love listening to my children’s heartbeats. I’m determined to be in sync with that baseline for the rest of my life.
Ayize Ma’at is Co-founder and President of B Intentional, LLC, the Relationship Education company that owns and operates Blackloveandmarriage.com, the premiere cutting edge Marriage and Family web publication with the largest collection of love and marriage advice videos for African Americans. He is a Marriage & Relationship Educator certified in various Singles and Marriage Education curriculums and has a passion for inspiring others to grow and gain a deeper understanding of love. He is a devoted husband and the proud father of 4 amazing children.
By Lana Moline
I saw a kiss that changed my outlook on life. Now I don’t typically go around watching other people kiss but there was something about this one that was just special. What was even more amazing is that every time I witness this type of display I admit that I experience the same emotion. It’s the moment a father leans in to embrace and kiss his son. That melts my heart.
When boys are young, it is easy for society to accept the tenderness in father/son interaction. On any given day it’s easy to find a father and son at school events, shopping malls or even their place of worship. Who wouldn’t smile at a dad throwing a ball to his son or helping his little one climb up the sliding board?
Dads are equally invested in the emotional support of their kids and when a need is indicated such as an accident on a playground, for example, dads comfort their sons with love and affection and everyone around is in agreement that is good. What is amazing, however, is that during the course of a boy’s upbringing this same affection becomes almost downright unacceptable. I’m proud to say I’ve spoken to many dads who simply refuse to let society dictate how they raise their kids. They remain sensitive to the needs of their son while teaching them to grow into a man.
The thing that’s bugged me is why otherwise wholesome affection has become so stigmatized. When I look at the family structure of even my own family, I see how things have changed. I think 50 years ago, our idea of family was primarily a man and woman working together side by side to raise a family and make a positive mark on the world. That’s what we all wanted. We each have stories of visiting our grandparents and how they were simply operating in love.
Well today that isn’t exactly the picture we see. An increasing number of children are born to parents who are not married. Although this does not suggest that kids cannot be just as nourished in this situation, it does make it challenging when custody or visitation agreements can’t be met. As a result, the bonds that are formed early on are engulfed in hurt and confusion.
So here’s what I am saying. I believe that an equal balance of affection would allow our young men to witness healthy affection from both parents and solidify a foundation for love. So to all the dads, listen closely – I heart hugs! You should too!
Lana Moline is a freelance writer and poet who lives in Fort Worth with her husband and three kids. She has been married 11 years and understands that marriage truly is a journey that is sometimes complicated by our own thoughts, perceptions and feelings. Visit her at her blog LanaSuccess4Kids.wordpress.com
By E. Payne
There is one way in which I feel I am failing my son miserably. In the birds and the bees department I truly suck. The extent of my mother’s sex talk with me was, “BOY, DON’T LET THESE GIRLS GET IN YOUR PANTS!” (Thanks, Mom. That really helped). And my father never had “The Talk” with me at all. So in truth, I honestly don’t have any real-life background on how to broach this subject with my 14 year old boy.
Since the age of 10, my wife has asked me to go down this road with him. At 10 I was morally opposed. At 11, I don’t remember what I said. At 12, I believe I threatened him when he went away to summer camp. At 13, I spoke to him about not doing anything I wouldn’t do (which is probably the last thing I should’ve said to him). And twice this year, before the summer, in which I had a threatening, comical heart to heart with him and once again at the end of the summer I was asked/pressured/demanded to have the talk again.
“How many times am I going to talk to this boy about this?” I half pleaded with the wife. “You don’t think he gets it?”
“He went away this summer and now he’s in high school he needs to be spoken to. If you don’t I will.” This is something neither he (my son) nor I need or want. Think of Sam Witwicky’s mother in Transformers.
As much as my parents didn’t talk to me about this subject I did have church to fall back on. And here is where I feel I’m failing my son. We currently and haven’t gone to church in years. So what he would probably already know via Sunday school, he does not.
About a month ago, I brought it up again on the way home from football practice.
Me: “So I just wanted to talk to you about the summer and the upcoming fall. You’re getting older, and you’re going to be playing sports and you’re an attractive young man.” [This has already started wrong]
Son: Listens intently.
Me: “And I just want you to know that I know you have a little girlfriend and although I didn’t date when I was your age (or even have girls like me), I can understand the thoughts that may or may not be going through your head. And with the music on the radio these days, that’s not helping matters at all because music is just… [I trail off realizing I’m going off topic]
Son: Continues to listen intently.
Me: “All I’m saying is that you can flirt, even kiss if you must, but I don’t want you bringing home any babies or diseases.” [at this point I feel like I did the first time I jumped into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim] “I want you to be respectful at all times, that’s all. You have your whole life to act as a adult, you don’t have to rush and do it now. Got it?”
Son: “Yeah, dad.”
[I should’ve ended here]
Me: “Because even though I’m married now, a few years ago I used to be a man and I used to do my thing, I mean, I was out there.” [DANGER! DANGER! ABORT!] “So you can always come and talk to me about anything when it comes to the ladies.”
This was a Freudian slip and a half that left me choking on my words and wanting to rewind time. I looked out my driver’s side window and mumbled, “That went great…”
Me: “Well, that’s all I’ve got to say. Just be respectful and don’t do anything that will put yourself in danger or mess up your education.”
I sighed and then groaned. My son went back to sending text messages from his phone.
I didn’t want to holler. I wanted to scream.
Editor’s Note: This conversation between Dad & son occurred some time ago. Everything’s all good now. 🙂
E.Payne is the author of Investing In An Emotional Letdown and I Didn’t Invented Sex. Additionally, he has an E Book titled Dad: As Easy As A, B, C . For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between. You can check him out at MakesMeWannaHoller.com
If you are a teacher….WATCH THIS. If you got kids in your neighborhood….WATCH THIS. If you got nieces, nephews or grand children….WATCH THIS. If you are the guardian of a child…WATCH THIS. If you are a parent….WATCH THIS. If you plan to be a parent….YOU BETTA WATCH THIS.
We first encountered the wisdom of Dr. Joy DeGruy 6 years ago. To say the least we were truly impacted. Her words will kick you in the gut and make you aware that IT’S OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOVE OUR CHILDREN AND RAISE OUR CHILDREN. If we don’t give them love….it’s very easy (considering the world we live in) for them to internalize self hate. We appreciate you Dr. DeGruy. B Intentional Yall!
Dr. Joy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. She is an ambassador for healing and a voice for those who’ve struggled in search of the past, and continue to struggle through the present.A highly skilled and educated activist for social justice, Dr. Joy reaches people on the community level and has a captivating way of persuading others to search for a deeper understanding of themselves. CLICK HERE to visit her website.
By Ilex Bien- Aime
Dear little one,
I eagerly await your arrival into this world. I have so many things that I would like to do with you and for you. I can’t wait to see your smile and hear your laugh. I pray that your lifetime will have more smiles and laughs than hard times and tears but just know, there will be hard times and tears. I wish that I could play your “Guardian Angel” and keep you from the horrible things in life, but I am just a man who must also live under the rules and wants of God.
Unfortunately everyone must go through rough patches in life and you will be no different but if you listen to the things your mother and I tell you, you will be able to minimize the pain. If you live in wisdom, you will see how to keep yourself from the unnecessary heartaches that most people allow into their lives. You won’t be alone; I will be here along with your mother, guiding you and molding you. Even when you grow older and go off on your own, we will only be one phone call away from you.
I have made many mistakes in life. On one hand, I would like to keep those things secret from you – on the other hand I want you to know that I have been where you are. There are many things that I was not taught and as a result, learned them the hard way – on my own.. Though some believe this to be the best way to learn, I say a wise man listens to those who have gone before him and chooses a path that does not lead to failure and disappointment. I have foolishly placed my hands on the burning stove and I have the scars to prove it – that is why you don’t need to place your hands on that stove to know it burns.
Do not be afraid to live your life with character and morals. People are going to try to make you do things that you already know are wrong. They are going to try to make you feel bad for not doing these things. They will call you out of your name and they will say that you think you are better than them, but that is not your problem. Never feel the need to compromise yourself and you will never feel the sting of regret for doing so.
Always keep in mind that your actions will have consequences to them. When you feel the need to live outside of your values, you must be willing to pay a heavy price. Many men and women will try to get you to compromise yourself for them but listen to that voice of reason inside of you. Many will come into your world and will try to make you do what they want for their own gain. No sooner than you adhere to their demands, they are nowhere to be found and you are left with the lasting memories of your self betrayal.
You are Kings and Queens and no one can force you to be anything less than that. Your worth is not what other people say it is but it is beyond their comprehension. You are worth so much and don’t allow yourself to be treated like trash. When you believe in yourself, no one will be able to tear you down or disrespect you. Don’t further feed into their hands by disrespecting yourself.
I wish that I could keep you from making mistakes but we all make them. No one on this earth is perfect so never get too down on yourself. Just know that some things are known as mistakes and other things are known as being foolish. A man who puts his hand on the red eye of the stove is a fool but the man who mistakenly places his hand on the eye of the stove that seemingly looks cool, has made a mistake. Both will cause pain however one of them could have been prevented.
Your mother and I are just your earthly parents and the rules and regulations we have used to raise you were learned from our heavenly father. Keep yourself close to Him and I promise you, that even though the world will still be a difficult place to live in, your life will have less dead ends then other people’s lives. You won’t need to worry about baby mommas and baby daddies. You won’t worry about trying to hide how many people you’ve slept with. You won’t need to worry about diseases and foolish heartaches. You will see that the well lit path will never lead you astray but when you deviate from it, you open yourself up for disaster. Stay on the path and if you veer off, have enough sense to get back on.
My name is Ilex Bien-Aime and I live in Washington, DC with my lovely wife. I write as a man who has seen women mistreat themselves and who have allowed themselves to be mistreated. I write as a man who wants to give my future daughters a guideline on how to deal with men. Lastly I write what I write because my female friends are always asking my opinion about these situations.
Last night at the VMA’s Beyonce in stunning fashion “freed” herself by exposing the secret she’s been hiding from the public for some time…..she’s pregnant. After performing “Love On Top” she dropped the mic, unbuttoned her jacket, and began rubbing her belly….instant classic. Jay Z was grinning from ear to ear as the audience clapped and cheered. This moment…their moment was definitely memorable. Congratulations Jay Z and Beyonce on your pregnancy. We at BLAM wish you health and happiness as you continue to build your family. To check out their announcement….see the video below.
By Ayize Ma’at
VIDEO: Yesterday I watched the trailer for “Dear Daddy” by Janks Morton for the first time and to say the least I was moved to tears. I watched it with my wife and she sat there stoically, seemingly holding back or just not in touch with the raw emotion that was displayed. I was kinda surprised because Aiyana is a major crier….but considering the fact that there’s some similarities between her story and that of the young lady in the video….I was able to walk away with a quiet understanding.
Major shout out to Janks Morton for having the courage to create this piece. I’ve got much respect for his ability to capture the raw emotion that needs to be revealed to absentee, neglectful, and irresponsible father’s everywhere. To donate to this project visit http://www.FundDearDaddy.com If you’re interested in checking out and purchasing any of Janks other enlightening films visit http://whatblackmenthink.com/
A Michigan father is in jeopardy of losing custody of his 10-year-old daughter, all because he can legally smoke marijuana. Livingston Thompson Jr. has epilepsy. He’s been dealing with it for 20 years, and according to him, nothing has really helped except for the marijuana. “It relaxes me. I’m not as stressed. I discovered that my epileptic seizures — some of them are stress activated,” says Thompson.
Still, his medication of choice could cost him his daughter, Shylynn. “If I lost custody of my daughter it would crush me. They’d probably see a lot more episodes,” he says.
That’s something Shylynn can’t handle.
“If my daddy lost custody of me I’d be sad, just as sad as he would be if he lost custody of me. Because my dad has had me for ten years. And I don’t want to lose my dad,” says Shylynn.
By Michael Covin AKA IamOFFDACHAIN
What Does A Man/Father Know About Breast Feeding Anyway? This was a remark that someone made to me on a blog site which will remain nameless. (only because it is not even deserving of the pub) There was an article written that was putting out information I felt was incorrect and was going to be read by thousands and I just could not allow the information to move forward unchallenged.
The mother was sharing how she felt tricked into thinking breast feeding was easy. I explained to her she should have gotten more accurate information before attempting breast feeding and from a better source. I told her even though your family may love you they are not always the best source for information. She felt offended by my statements and felt I would not know anything about the subject because I was a man. I told her I did not know you had to have the body part to study facts pertaining to the part of anatomy.
This is where I asked her the sex of her OBGYN…
Funny thing is she never answered that question for me…HMMMMM!
The comments…like most following breast feeding articles went on for days!! (Those who know what I am talking about just smile)
What I want the world to know is men/dads know lots about doing what is best for our children! If we are doing our reading and researching there is nothing our babies will receive other than what God offers. I explained to her that only 3% of the women of the world are in a situation where they are physically not able to breast feed and the others have just made a decision NOT to do what is best for the child PERIOD…and JUST NEED TO OWN THEIR CHOICES.
I also had to explain that my wife is a Lactation Educator and I am nosey when it comes to her literature.
Also, as a father of 4 little girls I have assisted my wife with 4 breast feeding challenges that have taken a span of over 10 years. Yep, but I probably don’t know much! Some of my wife’s challenges involved engorgement, cracked bleeding nipples, no latching, split nipples, no pooping AT ALL, weight loss of almost 1.0 pounds(more than once) which lasted for more than a month before the child started to pick up weight. During this time I have:
1. Kept my mouth closed
2. Asked my wife what she needed me to do
3. Giventhe baby breast milk from a spoon that my wife had expressed into a sippy cup for over a week for every feeding while my wife was in tears.
4. Kept the non-knowledgeable people who would discourage her away…BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY! (Some still don’t speak, but I am always going to protect my Queen)
I think my passion for breast feeding comes because I want my well educated/disciplined wife to always finish her goals. She is a finisher and because of her discipline she decided to nurse once she studied the BEST Godly options for our children and breast feeding is that option.
It is the option that bonds the child and mother. It is the option that gives the child all it needs for the entire first year of life. My daughters are exclusively BF for the first YEAR OF LIFE! It is the option that sets the child up for the best health results. (i.e. lower incidences of asthma, ear aches, allergies, digestive issues, common colds, etc.). Breast feeding is also responsible for lowering the mothers risk of breast cancer…but……..
“What does a father/dad know about Breast feeding anyway?”
IamOFFDACHAIN is a Husband and Dad who is a no holds barred, outspoken advocate for family and functional relationships. He has committed to change the game in his community by pushing educated and informed decisions to be the norm, because “that’s how it’s always been” are fighting words! You can find out more about him at www.offdachainandouttadabox.wordpress.com and check out his weekly radio show on www.everythingmanradio.com.