It happened on April,12th 1978. My son was born that day and I was now the proud Father of a two year old daughter and a newborn son. He arrived perfectly healthy and on time. In keeping with family tradition we had already decided to name him after me. We all started calling him Jay, which is what we still call him twenty years later. He was an excellent baby that slept well and was very content as a child. He grew up in a home with two caring parents and one very attentive older sister DeVon.
Jay was a very regimented and structured soldier as a young boy. He would wake up and start to get ready everyday at the same time. You could set your watch by what time he was combing his hair and brushing his teeth. His Mother stayed home with him and gave him very good lessons about getting up and getting ready. Having a working Father and a Mother at home gave he and his sister the best of both worlds.
Jay was always an outstanding student from K-12 who never failed a subject once. His tenacity to grasp and master information was something to watch. Early childhood development is so very important to overcoming some of our social ills that plague us. His confidence in himself could not be contained. We were taught not to think too much of yourself, it wasn't godly. He was taught to be as good as you could be and never except being second.
He entered his schools talent show at six years of age to sing Mr Telephone Man and won despite difficult odds. I was more nervous than he, my son on stage alone singing his heart out to a packed auditorium. How proud we were as a family to have both kids singing on the same night. He took his performance in stride and as a matter of being prepared and confident.
His classroom success carried over to his extra curriculum and sporting activities. He always wanted to finish first and would outwork his competition until he achieved his goal. As a black father it was my job to mold him into something productive for our society. Humanity could use someone in his age bracket to show others how to share and care for one another. He was prodded to help and be concerned with all the people around him. He was constantly being told to take on the problems of your friends in an effort to help them out. My lessons started to pay off as Jay started to bring his friends home to hear what his dad was preaching about.
In my house we fed and cared about everyone that showed up. It was the only way you could show young children how to be concerned and responsible for the world around them. Our home was where the neighborhood kids could come to go swimming in our back yard or borrow some of Jay's sporting equipment. It was for everyone to use and enjoy. Jay saw this lesson close up and now understands why I looked out for the have's and the have not.
Jay grew up wanting to be tall and athletic like his dad. At six foot one inch tall I know I must have been quite a target for a young son growing up. He constantly reminded me that one day he would make it up there in tall man land. He played basketball and baseball almost daily in hopes that one day he would be able to take me on. One day I looked up to find my son looking down at me ready to even the score. Our games took on an NBA atmosphere with Playoff intensity. We almost always played against one another to make the games interesting. It was WAR from two determined (not to lose) soldiers. All of my lessons of determination were now coming back to haunt me. Never accept losing was taken to another level by both my son and I. We would both go home with bumps and bruises proving that all is fair in love and war. I would always embrace him after tough games and let him know he had a good game, win or lose. At six foot five inches he had developed a game that at my age would not allow me to compete. His friends would always beg me to come back to play but I could never accept losing, imagine that will you.
Jay went on to be a pretty decent high school pitcher. As a tall lean lefthander with an attitude Jay loved striking out the side. Anisa and I tried to attend all of his games no matter where or when they were played. As usual we would would bring snacks,drinks, ice etc. The team counted on us to bring them some much needed support. The first thing I would do after every game would be to hug my son inspite of the game results. Children respect consistency and he knew my love for him never depended on his sports success. I miss those days of going out to dinner after games and rehashing the game with my son. I really am happy about his upbringing and how he is now who he was as a child. The better the ingredients used in the pot for making and raising our youth the better the results. What kind of chef are you? Contrary to our beliefs the children ARE listening but are we providing the right actions for them to follow?
A part of providing a positive environment that Jay and his friends could hang out in is remembering that the mean streets were waiting for you to let your guard down. He constantly reminded me of how much I liked my job as father and that maybe I liked it too much. My reply was that I loved my JOB as a father and that is why there would be NO days off for me. Our father/son,student/teacher relationship is one that we are both extremely proud of. We both understand how missing this relationship is in our 400 plus years of forced Amerikanized Family Dysfunction. Amerika has put us on this road and we must reverse this in order to restore proper mental function.
Good black father/son relationships will always be absent when fathers come from a long history of passed on mental and physical slavery. True love can never come out of these settings. The way fathers have treated their offspring tells you a lot about how they feel about themselves. We must free our amerikan mind of this malady and pursue a course of afrocentric logic. I challenge all the Black Fathers to look inwardly at how you treat yourselves and therefore your children. Our number one sin against our youth is our selfishness. We must start to put the children first in everything we do. Show them how to sacrifice by being a giver and not a taker. Children that learn that lesson will be the new leaders of the next generation. We talk about the struggle everyday because we work in the family business together. The only thing better than raising a son is working with your son. At 23 and too tall for words I still hug him. I consider my son Jay one of those people who will lead his generation. He has been raised by a warrior and is now ready for the battle.
Please join us at the Pan Afrikan Diaspora Conference in West Palm Beach to learn more about "Raising Youth Consciousness". I will be hosting the workshop on that subject and would love to have you there for some serious and timely dialog. Come on down and bring your kids, I would love to meet them.
Would you like to spend your money with your own people?
Are you interested in superior quality merchandise? Then go to My Store