Happy Father’s Day to Each and Every Gentleman that exemplifies the meaning of a Father.
A Father is defined as a male parent, a man who has begotten a child, a male animal who has sired an offspring, GOD sense, the first person of the Trinity, forefather, one related to another in a way suggesting that of the father to child, an old man used as a respectful form of address, to be the founder, producer, or author of, to accept responsibility, to fix paternity or origin of, to place responsibility for the origin or cause of, foist, impose.
Foist or impose, these 2 words caught me off guard being listed under the definition of Father. Foist means to impose an unwelcome or unnecessary person or thing on. Impose means to force something unwelcome or unfamiliar to be accepted or put in place, take advantage of someone by demanding their attention or commitment.
Looking from the outside in I can see foist and impose under various situations men come across being a Father. With my first born his father was never very interested in being a parent to our son. Did I impose it on him? I don’t believe so, I never forced him to spend time with him but I did impose state mandated child support. After learning I was pregnant at 18 I really didn’t know what to expect from him when I told him I was pregnant. When the first words out his mouth said well it ain’t mine that told me right then and there exactly what he would be in regards to caring for the child he and I created. That was 27 years ago and he totally lived up to exactly what I expected of him.
Being a parent for 28 years have taught me no matter what your child will exemplify the traits of both parents. This is my perspective from being a single mom and a married mom. I don’t want this article to focus on me and my experiences so I asked a few of our Fathers
What does being a Father mean to You?
"At first I thought this was a hard question to answer. As I thought about the question, I realized that it was an easy question to answer.
Being a father means protector, teacher, provider, leader, counselor and many more. As a kid, I know what it felt like not having a father there to be those things for me. I always told myself that my kids will never experience that feeling. As I father, every decision I make in life I always think about my kids. To make sure that Daddy is coming home.
Even though I said teacher, I am also a student. Everyday is a different situation and I’m still learning how to deal with them the right way. The best part of being a Father to me is seeing my children grow and mature.
Being a father is not easy, but I wouldn’t change it for nothing. I believe my children play a big part of my growth. Because of them I am a better person.
Being a Father is what keeps me motivated."
Samuel J. Stribling, Sr. father of 5
"Being a Father means to me the opportunity to help shape two young impressionable minds. I love being able to show them the world and broaden their horizon.
As a father, you want to protect your youth but you also want them to experience things to be well-rounded and not take things for granted. My kids will remember my legacy and create their own.
Lastly, being a father isn’t just about your kids but the growth of an individual over their adolescence."
Martin Mitchell, father of 2
Continuing the conversation from Helping Hands I interviewed my brother in law Jason Stribling:
LaWann: What do you do for a living?
Jason: I am employed as an IT Specialists for the Federal Government
LaWann: How long have you been in this career?
Jason: 17 years
LaWann: What made you choose this career path?
Jason: I chose this career path because I always enjoyed problem solving and STEM.
LaWann: Can you elaborate on the journey it took to get here?
Jason: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2003 and I searched for a job in the Information Technology field because it was a great job market/field that aligned with my interests and skills.
LaWann: Do you feel it is important for Black Professionals to be in a position to change systemic flaws in hiring practices?
Jason: Yes, it is important to change systemic flaws that prevent the hiring of a diverse workforce. I feel having black representation and professionals in the positions of power is a key part of the solution to this problem.
LaWann: What ways do you practice self care in your daily life with your responsibilities as a Man, Husband, Father and Professional?
Jason: I try to set time aside each day to do activities that I enjoy such as watching TV, exercising and gaming. I focus on having great communication with my wife as much as possible because happy wife, happy life. I find that having patience is essential to being a loving father to my young kids. Establishing a good work-life balance is also an important way I practice self-care by making sure work does not interfere with my family and home life.
LaWann: How do you manage your mental and physical health, do you attend regular doctor appointments? Have you ever gone to therapy before?
Jason: I try to live a healthy life style by eating healthy and being active. I also enjoy having alcoholic beverages and using marijuana on occasions. I do not attend regular doctor appointments and I have never gone to therapy.
LaWann: What are your thoughts on seeing a therapist or counselor?
Jason: I am open to seeing a therapist or counselor if it is needed. I have heard it can be very helpful for those who need it.
LaWann: Can you tell me about a time when you faced a particularly difficult situation at work, and how you overcame it?
Jason: I have been very fortunate to work in place that greatly values me as a person and employee. I have not experienced particularly difficult situations at work outside of typical job-related responsibilities that may have required me to give extra effort and time to accomplish.
LaWann: What does success in life mean to you?
Jason: Success in life to me in the simplest terms is for me and my family to be happy, healthy and financially secure.
In closing reflecting back to my experiences with my own father I wonder how differently things could have been had he been raised in a nurturing environment. My father was very equipped at providing financial support and teaching how to care for a home on the outside and inside, domestic skills like grocery shopping, simple sewing and cooking. He keep us involved in extra curriculum activities and even volunteered to be our running coach for soccer.
My father was always present for our soccer games and recorded each one. We would have family movie night every Wednesday with an order of Chinese food. My father taught me how to use a computer when all we had available was word perfect. I enjoyed visiting his job to see all the computers he managed and enjoyed summer backyard barbeques. It’s him who taught me originally how to operate in the kitchen and it is him who I learned how to grill from as well as that good’ ole elbow grease.
Had my father had to opportunity to experience what being raised in a nurturing environment with both parents would certainly have changed the outcome of our relationship and life truthfully. But I don’t live in the past and realize the many societal, governmental and generational issues contribute to how we end the way we do.
My hope is these articles will encourage individuals to end the stigmas associated with espression, feelings, communication, therapy, financial, physical and mental health.
To encourage you to be mindful of your everyday, focus on your mental health and well-being and be a helping hand.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment, without judgment or distraction. It can involve paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, as well as your surroundings and the people around you.
Practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for your mental and physical health, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus and cognitive function, and promoting better sleep quality. Here are some ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine:
Start your day with a few minutes of mindful breathing or meditation to set a positive tone for the day.
Take breaks throughout the day to check in with your thoughts and emotions, and simply observe them without judgment.
Engage in mindful activities such as yoga, walking, or even cooking, by focusing on the sensations and experiences involved in each action.
Practice active listening and being fully present when engaging with others, whether it's in a work meeting or a conversation with a loved one.
Use mindfulness as a tool to manage stress and difficult emotions, by acknowledging and accepting them rather than trying to push them away or distract yourself from them.
Remember, mindfulness is a skill that takes practice and patience to develop, but the more you incorporate it into your daily life, the more benefits you will experience.
"Helping hands" is a phrase commonly used to describe people who offer assistance or support to others in need. It's often associated with volunteer work and philanthropy. Many people feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose when they are able to contribute to a cause or help someone in need. Studies have shown that volunteering can have positive effects on mental health and well-being.
You don't have to be an organization to offer support to your family, friends, neighbors and associates. Helping hands creates a sense of community and connectedness. When people come together to help others, they often form strong bonds and relationships that can last a lifetime. A Rainbow Coalition! "Helping hands" represents the power of individuals and communities to make a positive impact on the world around them. Whether it's through being in a position to hire or promote, volunteering, donating, or simply offering a kind word, there are many ways to be a helping hand to those in need.
For Men's Health Care Awareness, Father's Day and Juneteenth I challenge you to reevaluate yourself.
Are you prioritizing self-care for yourself? Are you being mindful and intentional for the quality of your life and family? Reflect on who you have helped along the way and how you can help others going forward.