Fatherhood Reconstructed

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This Father’s Day we decided to ask some father’s to tell us what fatherhood means to them.  We thought that it was important to create a space for father’s to share their experience rather than write something from a mother’s perspective, we are about authentic narratives after all.  Father’s you are vital and we value you.

Prepare for all the feels.  All of them!

 

Bode Aboderin

For me, being a Father to Esmè-Olivia does not provide any second chances. I only have one shot to get it right. I believe that the road map to success for my children is based on my involvement.

Children are our legacy. My goal is to die a happy man knowing that I was there every step of the way.img_8069.jpg

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Randall Warner

Finding out I was going to be a Dad was scary. I didn’t think I was ready. Once my son was born, I was ready immediately.

When my son turned eight, he stopped eating and we couldn’t work out what was wrong as he generally has a healthy appetite.  He didn’t know why he couldn’t eat either, he just knew it was causing pain.  We knew it was serious when treats like McDonalds became hard for him to eat.

It took nearly ten months of trips to and from the GP before he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

We were referred to a specialist hospital for tests, by the time we got home, the hospital called us to say that we had to return the next day for an emergency blood transfusion as our son was in a bad way. My heart sunk. I was so scared that my partner in crime was going to leave me.

My son’s Crohn’s was confirmed after the doctors completed an endoscopy and colonoscopy. By this time my son had deteriorated even further and was struggling to walk a short distance it was heart breaking to watch.  He was immediately admitted to hospital.

This experience brought my son and I even closer (I didn’t think that was possible before he became ill).  He wanted me to stay with him all the time. Whilst in hospital we distracted ourselves by building Lego, for a moment I would forget why we were there.

Thankfully he is doing a lot better now and is able to do things we used to take for granted, like run! I am getting my partner in crime back. Life has changed we have to be so careful about what he eats and what he does, but at least we are learning how to manage his condition now.

This experience has taught me never to take one moment with him for granted. His determination and strength to overcome this horrible time, has made me the proudest father in the world. I feel that every time I look at him.

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J.M.

Being a Father is the greatest responsibility and privilege that a man can have. I am extremely blessed to have three beautiful biological children as well as two equally gorgeous step children. My Ten year old told her Mother, that when she grows up she wants her husband to be just like me. My eight year old told me that I am her hero. Those two sentiments alone, make every hardship or sacrifice made for them, worth it.

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Kevin Edwards 

@kreeeytivitee

Being a Father is by far the greatest responsibility and pleasure I have.  It’s the ultimate incentive for me to get up in the morning to go to work, not to give them everything they want but everything they need.  I’ve learnt that the most valuable thing I can give my children is my time, so I make a point of doing so.  We’re all about making memories, not just grand gestures but enjoying the everyday moments.

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Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa

Chief Executive – Foyer Federation

@ToksyTweets

Becoming a Father in 2015 exceeded every expectation I had, it has heightened my sense of purpose and sharpened my understanding of legacy.  My son’s name Olukayode means God has brought joy. As he grows up I would like my son to know he is boundless and for him to feel the confidence to live his truth by tapping into his wealth of potential and opportunity.

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Danny Fontaine

I love being a Father. It is without a doubt the best and most rewarding thing that I’ve done in my life, but it’s also been the hardest. The biggest challenge for me is a constant inner-struggle with my own perception of what ‘being a good Father is’.  I want to do everything for my kids, and I want to give them all of my attention, but with work taking up my entire week, and then the usual weekend chores of decorating, tidying, shopping, I tend to beat myself up over the lack of time that I spend with them.  They’re growing up into fine, polite, young men, and I’m extremely proud of them, but finding that perfect life/kids balance is difficult. Without my dedication to my job, we wouldn’t have our lovely house, but is that worth missing out on important chunks of my kid’s young lives? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m still learning from our experiences, and I just hope that when they’re older, I won’t look back at their childhood with regret.

I’ve been asked to also talk about what it’s like to have kids that are of mixed ethnicity, and I find it incredibly interesting how different it is for me compared to my wife Sareta’s (Kiki Blah-Blah) feelings on the subject.  Sareta is black, and has unsurprisingly been met with racism on numerous occasions in her life.  She sees the kids as targets for racism too, and subsequently speaks with them regularly on what to do and what not to do to avoid discrimination.  She says that they need to work twice as hard as the white boys to get the same results.

For me growing up in England, I’ve have had the privilege of feeling that I could achieve anything, and am entitled to the success that matches my ambition. I don’t take no for an answer, and I don’t stand for bullying or discrimination of any kind. No matter what my kids go through, I will always feel empowered to defend them to any authority, whether that’s school, university, the police…I’ll go in and tear them a new one.  The difference is that I’m well aware that when I do this, I get listened to; when Sareta does this, she can be conceived as the angry black lady, and met with rolling eyes.  I don’t take on the role to avoid that situation with Sareta, I do it because I’ll always feel empowered to make a change by stating my opinion, and I’ll be relentless in doing so.
Unfortunately, I find fighting racism very similar to my frustrations of being a ‘good Father’. Do I do enough? No, I don’t, not unless it’s specifically about my own kids. Do I want to do more? Absolutely.
I’m very happy for anyone’s thoughts or suggestions on the above – I’m not a blogger, and I barely use social media (life priorities again), and so this is really the first time I’ve shared my feelings in this way.

Happy Father’s Day.

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Mus Kalamulah

You cannot prepare for Fatherhood, the love is surreal.  From the moment my son was born, it felt like my own personal rebirth. My understanding of the world and the role I play changed immediately. I know I must be the man my son can look up to with his gorgeous brown eyes.  I am not only his Father, I am his role model.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m teaching him how to be a responsible little man who utilises his intelligence and shows care for others and the things around him.

Elijah, my son is 1-year-old next week, he shares, says thank you and already has an amazing character. I can see love in his eyes when he looks at his Mother and I.  His smile that bares his little teeth light up the room, the different sounds he makes trying to talk are a delight to my partner and I and our extended family.

He will be a great man, he will go on to do great things, but for now I enjoy watching him grow and giving me even more purpose in life to do the right things to ensure he has the best start in life.

The love and bond between a Father and Son is very special. For me as a black man of West African decent I think that the legacy I leave my son must include a positive sense of his identity.  I am trying to create an environment where Elijah grows to have the potential to leave a long-lasting positive impact in an ever-changing world.

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Greg Fearon

Personal Trainer.

@coach_greg_project_fit

What Fatherhood means to me…
A Father protects
A father is a provider
A Father loves unconditionally
A Father guides

My son Jared is now 13 and I’m still surprised by what he teaches me about myself and what I need to become to be a better father.

His best moment came when he was about 2 and his mother and I were trying to sleep.  Jared would not settle at all.  After what seemed like hours of telling Jared to sleep he burst into song “Lonely I’m so lonely” – I have never laughed so much in my life.

He never fails to make me smile.  Being a Father is a role of the utmost importance. For me Fatherhood is  nurturing life itself…

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Eddie Olaleye

@eophotographyuk

Fatherhood is a great blessing. It is the opportunity to guide children to discover who they are and their limitless potential. It helps me to appreciate the beauty of life, seeing the children learn grow and excel. It is my responsibility to be there for my children when they fall and give them the love, support and confidence to get up and go again.

Fatherhood is the willingness to give up my own life to protect theirs.  It is the feeling that makes me wake with a sense of purpose, and the motivation to do better. Fatherhood is the gift that keeps giving.

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Darwood Grace

@darwoodgraceisblackjesus

There are too many great and beautiful moments to choose from, it’s the best thing I did with my youth.  It’s been such an ongoing great experience that my biggest regret is that I wore condoms in my wilder days! I so should have “breeded” up the world.  As controversial as that may seem, my point is Fatherhood, with all its challenges, is extremely rewarding.

My Father left my Mother when I was about two.  I always knew I wasn’t going to follow in his selfish path and I made a decision from the day I found out I was going to be a Dad, to speak to my Son like I would an adult that was also my best friend I had total respect for.  No baby talk, no hiding the truth, no lies, just present myself honestly with my flaws and all. (And yes, I did seriously question myself when he was in his terrible two’s ‘why?’ phase.  It did however teach me to answer ‘I don’t know, but gimme a sec and I’ll find out’).  It was like a “future proofing” of the way we should communicate when he becomes a man and I knew I had to start the process immediately. His Mum would laugh as I had deep conversations about politics, life, spirituality etcetera, etcetera with him whilst I changed his nappy.

Fatherhood means so many things but how I communicate with my child and selflessly protect our relationship to limit him growing up with any issues stemming from me is a daily work in progress. And I love it.

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Chris Warner

What does Fatherhood mean to me?  I first became a Father at the age of 22, looking back I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been.  When my first child was born my life changed instantly.  The realisation that I had a young person to look after for the rest of my life,  to show her the rights and wrongs, teach her how to be a good human being, teach her to love, to share and to take ownership all hit me in one moment.  I remember just sitting there gazing at this little person wondering how I was going to achieve all the wonderful things I had in mind for her.  Soon after my first daughter was born I joined the London Fire Brigade as I felt the need to have a career with prospects for development and growth.  My partner and I went on to have two other children.  The love I feel for each of my children was instant and continues to be immense.

I have always strived to be a role model for my children because the world that we live in tends to focus on the negative stereotypes of black Fathers, which is far from my experience personally or looking at the people in my life.  I try to be a positive role model for my children and for black fatherhood.  I continue to work hard and show my children that they should not limit themselves.  I have made sure that they are positive about education because I think a good education provides freedom to choose.   I teach them to respect their elders and to learn from them because they can take this knowledge, adapt the good bits and learn from the bad.

After my relationship with the Mother of my three older children ended I went on to meet a very wonderful woman who had two children of her own .  We had a child together 4 years ago and got married last year.  I am now responsible for 6 children! I feel so blessed, they are wonderful people and I have a great relationship with them individually and as a family.  I must say my life is wonderful.  The joy that I feel can sometimes make me feel tearful!

All my children come to me for help and advice ranging from challenges at work to support with homework and puberty!!  I value spending time and understanding my children and step children as individuals. My children know that they are my everything, my love is unconditional and I am always willing to drop everything for them.  That said I am not afraid to tell them when they are wrong and not afraid to discipline when called for.

My first-born has gone on to have her first child so now I’m a granddad and I’m loving it.  It’s so beautiful to see the development of another generation.  Some people say he looks like me and that fills me with pride. My grandson is such a lovely boy I love him so much.

#dad
#stepdad
#granddad

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Emmanuel Davis

The biggest surprise in Fatherhood for me has been the love you feel for your children and your desire to protect them from the world at all times.

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Romaine Reid

Being a Father has provided me with the largest and most meaningful learning curve of my life. It’s given me a wider perspective on parenthood and the relationships we choose to build with one another. I’m of the belief that we choose our parents, and our parents choose us (spiritually), so I see my passage into Fatherhood as a great privilege and an evolving journey which will bring about great growth, love and experiences.

My purpose then, isn’t simply to raise my child into the best human being that she can be (which is relative based on opinion), but to be open, trusting, patient & intuitive to her unique nature, to work collaboratively with her, so she can express her purpose and souls agenda through her lifetime, in the most authentic way possible!

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Renaldo LaRose 

@newbeaconbooks

Fatherhood is everything to me…it made me grow up…quickly!!!, gives me motivation to be the best me, has forced me to make changes in my life that has only been for the better!

It’s scary, but as long as you set them in the right path with the right values of themselves and how to deal with the world (as best you can) they will be fine.

Fatherhood helps you to experience the purest, unconditional, unapologetic love a human can experience and it’s a beautiful thing.

I’m truly blessed to have my 3 beautiful daughters….Im sure you’ll hear this a lot but I really am the proudest dad in the world!!

Thank you to the wonderful father’s that have contributed to this post.  We wish you and all Father’s a very Happy Father’s Day 2017

We would like to say a massive thank you to all the fathers that have made beautiful contributions to this post and wish them and all fathers a Happy Father’s Day 2017 💜

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