I’m a Black single father. I’ve got two beautiful children–a son and a daughter. My son is an eager older brother who believes it is his role to care for his younger sister and “show her the right things to do.” I’m very proud of him in this regard. He’s far more advanced at his age than I was when I was his age. He’s giving me a run for my money in the number of books he’s read, and I’m an avid reader! He’s an intellectual, and it’s so interesting to see me in him.
Among my friends and family members, I can count on one hand how many fathers play a significant and proactive role in raising their children. This fact, along with the sometimes bleak reality of life drives me to be extra hard on myself and my children. For my son, this is not really an issue. He will quickly tell you that “Daddy is hard on me,” but he loves me regardless because, as he says, I “take care of [him] and make sure everything is okay.” Even though I’ve had no formal training in the way of growing up with my own father, I am confident in my ability to parent my son. However, I have some notable concerns with regard to my daughter.
I know so many women with self-esteem issues–women allowing men to mistreat them and use and abuse them sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. They continue to choose the wrong men over and over again. A common thread among these women is not having a loving father in their lives. Not to brag, but my daughter is absolutely beautiful, and she’s very prissy. She’s gonna be a man-killer, and I don’t want her to ever sell herself short. She’s already smarter than I was when I was were age (that’s a good sign for a parent). I can see great things coming from her (and my son for that matter).
Being emotionally balanced is so important. Both my children are naturally loving and emotionally giving, and I don’t want them to be taken advantage of. I want to love my daughter in such a way that she considers it a waste of time to date anyone who is not offering the care and concern that Daddy does. I want her to be able to talk to me about her fears, triumphs, losses, joys, and hurts. To be honest, I’m afraid that I don’t really know how to accomplish that. I don’t want her to be afraid or to feel alienated once she begins her cycle. I want there to be no embarrassment when she needs sanitary napkins. I know this stuff may not traditionally be a father’s domain, but I really want to be all to her. I tell her how beautiful she is and how smart she is and how capable she is now. I want there to be no assumption of inadequacy within her.
This is all so different from how my son and I interact. He just wants to tell me everything that goes on in his world anyhow. He wants to be just like me, which forces me to be the best I can be. So, when he sees me reading, he wants to read. If I’m studying, he wants to study. But my daughter, my little beauty, aww she’s my heart, and I want to protect her without being overbearing.
Have you heard Chrisette Michele’s “Joy” and cried as I have?