Happy Father's Day 2018

Being a father is a full-time job.  The day I learned that I was a father my life changed forever and I must say it changed for the better.  My daughter brought the best out of me immediately.  I knew at that moment whatever excuse I had for not chasing my dreams or being my best self-was null and void.  As I held my daughter innately, I knew I had to blaze of a path that would last for generations.  I read Proverbs 13:22 in the King James Version (KJV) which says "22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just."  The verse didn't say how it just announced as a father it was my responsibility.

There wasn't a manual on how to be a man, a father, or an active co-parent.  I learned some hard lessons immediately.  My daughter's mother and I weren't together when our daughter was born.  So in the eyes of the system and some members of the public, mom has all the rights and power in how our…

Mother's Day from the Perspective of a Single Father

When I took on the responsibility of raising my daughter full time five years ago, I didn't know anything about raising a child independently.  The learning came fast and hard.  There were changes that I needed to make mentally, socially, career-wise, etc.  I received all sorts of feedback from men (saying we won) to women (either applauding my move or seemingly upset because my daughter resided with me).  The two things on the top of my mind were 1.  The judge asking was I ready and 2. My mother reminding me that men in my family took care of their children.  I was nervous and had to make my next move my best move.  So I prayed and asked God for guidance and grace.

I was blessed with a team of women (friends and family) that helped ease my transition.  I was thrust into the position of setting hair appointments, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, school registration, etc.  The support of those women got me through the transitional curve.  What I began to realize is mothe…

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…