During a conversation this week, I was discussing why we have the challenges we have in our community with fatherhood. I talked about how sites such as BMWK lead the charge in making differences in lives and communities. I want to share some thoughts on why we have so many single parent homes and what we can do individually to change this experience in our communities.
1. Be the Example
A few weeks ago I was in Texas visiting my family and driving with my mother, niece and nephew. I mentioned something to her that she has never thought about—no one on her side of my family is married. Although my parents were married for a time, they are the exception in that side of the family and not the rule. No one in that part of my family has had the example of great marriages. No one has seen the reality of how great marriages evolve into great family trees and building generational bonds.
If we don’t have examples of our own, we have to set our minds to become the example who is going to choose to have a family. Men must consider how we impact lives. We are given a directive to lead, but if we don’t see strong leaders in our families, we don’t know how to do it. For those of us without examples, I would ask that we work to become the example. Don’t be shy about learning what you don’t know. Take parenting classes, read sites like BMWK, go to counseling sessions, read books on how to make your woman happy and build a family together. Being the example isn’t easy when you haven’t had examples to show you how it’s done. If you choose to become an exemplary husband and father, you will impact your community positively in countless ways. Becoming the example is one of the first steps in changing the narrative when it comes to fatherhood in our community.
2. Find a Mentor
The unfortunate and unrealistic expectation of men in our community is that we are supposed to know simply by birth how to lead our families. That’s an unreasonable expectation. If you haven’t seen an example of leadership by another man, how can you be expected to lead? Find someone who has done what you are setting out to do. Look for men who enjoy being married and remain committed and engaged in their family life. You will be pleasantly surprised by the number of men who will gladly have conversations with you to discuss how to build a marriage. Definitely look to counselors and coaches, but also look to those you know in the community who are simply enjoying life and being the man of their household. The wisdom a mentor can share with you is invaluable.
3. Change Your Mindset
If you’re single, I’m not suggesting you rush and get married. I am suggesting that even as single men, we think about how we are going to build our futures and our families. I want to see us develop generations of strong leaders and families who impact the lives of others. I want to see generational wealth built and changing attitudes and mindsets about finances. There is a point in our lives where we have to make hard choices. Are we going to follow what we have seen or are we going to choose to take the steps we need to take to become leaders in our families and communities? If we change the way we think about leadership and having the ability and drive to be great husbands, fathers and leaders, we can ultimately change the Black community for the better and positively impact the world.
BMWK – what other ingredients help to build great leaders?