The Impact of My Uncle and My Grandfather

2017, has been a challenging year for my family.  I often heard that it's the challenges that make us stronger.  Those words have given me solace during the tougher days.  In July, my paternal grandfather passed away.  Then October 25 my Uncle passed away.  Earlier this year I wrote a blog, My Grandfather's Legacy, which shared a few thoughts on how my grandfather's presence in my life influenced my path.  My Uncle Lester left a great impression on my life as well. 

Several times during this year and the years past I had to rely on my Uncle's wisdom.  Life came at me really fast and there were times I was so caught up in my movements I didn't get a chance to live and enjoy the things that I worked for.  My Uncle told me a couple things that have served me well and I'm sure it will continue to serve me in the future.

1.  Be true to yourself.  Define yourself for yourself and don't let others tell you who you are.
2.  Be a man of your word.
3.  Don't let…

My Grandfather's Legacy

On July 2, 2017, my last living grandparent Elmore Bell, Sr. passed away at the age of 94.  Born in 1923 his eyes were filled with wisdom.  During his later years as his voice began to dim the wisdom of his words increased in value.  At his funeral, my cousin and I had a conversation detailing what being a man in our family meant and what it will mean moving forward.  During our conversation, the weight of his legacy rested on my shoulders.  He made sure we know who we are, where we come from, and where we are expected to go.  We also know the road ahead won't be easy but the expectation is for us to get to the destination regardless.

My grandfather set the standard for men in our lineage high.  He was married to the same woman for 52 years, managed to put all his children through college, and lived long enough to see 10 of his great-grandchildren!  The family was a priority for him.  He left his hometown and decided to settle in Jacksonville, FL.  Once he settled a few of his b…

Father's Day is Upon Us!

Today is Father's Day and as I reflect on my circle of life ( being a grandson, son, and father) I realize how important it is for us as fathers to be present.  The impact of a Father on a child is immeasurable!  Father's have been tasked with providing and protecting but our role is much more expansive than that.  Our words and leadership either sets our children on a path of freedom or bondage.  Let's think about this.  How valuable is it for a child to look over at dad and hear dad say, "You can do it"?  Now, imagine the reverse.  Imagine the challenging time or even the celebration in which your child looks for you and you aren't there.  Imagine the impression it leaves.

Our children are part us.  They are a reflection of our past self.  How will they know who they are if we don't tell them?  There is a generation of men who have been hurt by their father and/or lack of his presence in their life.  I feel your pain but not having a father present doe…

A Man's Responsibility

One of the best conversations I've had this year revolved around male responsibility.  What is a responsibility?  What is the male responsible for?  What is the guiding for in determining any of the above?  Those are some tough questions.  You would probably get a different answer from each person you ask.  I submit that is what makes the answer even more important.

Self Awareness stood out most to me.  I've often grappled with the questions, "Who am I?" or "Why am I here?".  In my journey from boy to man, those have been my guiding force questions.  It was a point in my life where I couldn't answer the questions and as a result, I was subject to whatever anyone in my ear said about me.  After years of this, I realized I was heading in the wrong direction.  My inner compass told me something was wrong and I was heading in the wrong direction.  I had to be built up from the ground floor based on who I am and finding out why I am here (purpose).  When a m…

What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

I heard about Shaken Baby Syndrome in a meeting and subsequently had an opportunity to sit in on a training about the syndrome.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to partake in this training as I gained a wealth of knowledge that I can share to enlighten others and hopefully prevent at least one incident of shaken baby syndrome.  The training started off with a video which gave a visual glimpse of what causes the syndrome.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is an aggressive shaking of a child most likely as a result of the child crying for extended periods of time. There are some common threads did stick out. Most perpetrators of the shaking are male (biological father or the current boyfriend of the mother).  Be mindful any person is capable of shaking the baby such as childcare providers, family members, etc.  Why do you say?  The other factors which include stress (family or financial), not being use to the child's crying, less familiar with the child's needs, etc.  Normal activities li…

Reflections: Daddy & Me Fashion Show

My daughter and I participated in the Daddy and Me fashion show this past Saturday hosted by the Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E (Parental Responsibility Inspiring Dads Everywhere) program in Jacksonville, FL.  Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. is a part of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition with the specific focus of providing comprehensive fatherhood services to the dads in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.  It was our first time participating in a fashion show (my daughter and I had one prior opportunity but scheduling won't allow us to participate) and initially my daughter and I were excited as we thought is was a great idea and it created a special time for us to bond.

I learned so much participating in the Daddy and Me Fashion show about my daughter, my myself, and the meaning of our interaction.  Leading up to the fashion show all was well but as the date grew near I must say I felt a little pressure.  What would we wear?  How many people would be in attendance?  Would…

Outside Looking In

The theme around my last post dealt with fatherless sons specifically as it relates to young men coming of age without much male guidance.  In this post, I want to discuss how at times dad’s face many personal dilemmas which often leads to dad being on the outside looking in as it pertains to the decision-making process.

I said it before and I'll say it again whenever and wherever possible a conscious decision has to be made to involve the father in the upbringing of his child(ren).   I know several fathers that want to play integral roles in their child’s life and/or redeem themselves as the “man” in the eyes of the family, on some occasions those eyes are their very own.  In our society, there is little sympathy and/or empathy for fathers and it shrinks when it appears the man has abandoned his responsibility to his children.  My intent isn’t to defend, make a case, or make an excuse.  What I want to do is cause the reader to look objectively at the dilemma of dad on the outsi…