Childish Man to Childlike Father
I’ve discovered a quote within my conscience some months back. It went something like:
Although a man puts away childish things, he maintains his child-like essence.
This piece of information, I hold very dear to my spirit. It depicts that a man is a maturing child of God. He never claims that he is grown – he never stops growing; unless he is stubborn, then he will decay in virtue. I love the fact that I still have a connection with my inner child; this connection is the portal that will guide me to connecting to my son. I have a very different view on parenting than most traditionalists and conservatives – to each, his own, right? I just know how I would like to be approached when I was a child. I didn’t have the benefit of my dad’s presence in the household. He was cold emotionally as he was physically; but he definitely had potential. He always told me he loved me. And yet, he made some choices that didn’t promote what most would consider a prosperous future; but he did ok for himself.
After observing his life, I truly realized what I didn’t want. His absence made me feel inadequate, in some ways. Yet, I possess his genes and I even assumed some of his mannerisms (smirks). Amazing how a boy can be like his father without witnessing him. DNA: a beautifully divine innovation that can curse the innocent. My dad was a living apparition in my life; and I still had this sense of knowing that I was becoming more like him. Progressively? Not quite. Imagine, walking on a beach; the sun is suspended in a blue sky that’s exploding with feathery clouds. You look 45 degrees in front of you, and footprints grow in the sand away from your position. You follow these footprints, curious of where they lead to. And as you look around, the beautiful beach decays into a stormy lagoon; yet the footsteps possess your curiosity. You may even have a few friends in the distance trying to dissuade you from the unpleasant-trees (<<peep the wordplay)
I was looking for my father instead of looking for myself.
Yet, instead of holding him responsible, I inquired: how can I remedy this myself? I placed myself in this cycle. How do I escape?
Most men don’t even realize that they’re following their heredity paths. Of course, I’m not implying that this concept applies to all fatherless children. Even in the spirit of experience and genetics, one may choose a different path with the interference of a particular variable such as a loving influence that promotes self transcendence.
My mother supported me throughout my career as a child and as an adolescent. Yet, in the infancy of my adulthood, I began experimenting. I began reinventing myself; looking to become something other than myself, as if it weren’t enough. I began tapping into my ego. And it definitely led me down a sandy trail of dementia, low self esteem, a thunderstorm of other hellish virtues. And during my journey, I somehow, ensured to preserve my child-like essence. This was an unforgettable, reliable spirit that endured with me through the quick sands of conformity.
This is a journey that I fear that my son may have to walk, due to my financial ambitions and spiritual goals. I’m purposeful in trying to become the ideal character for him to pull ideas from, and craft into his own being….if….he chooses. And as I discover more innovative ways in being godly, I start to realize innovative ways to serve my son. This is my 2nd year as a contractor. And often, I have to remind myself that I’m over here not only for the financial security that will produce the platform that will nourish him with material capabilities to explore himself, but I’m also over here for my larger family, and to foster my own growth. I’ve been exposed to the many exotic cultures and places; all which have helped me to evolve into my current persona. And occasionally, in the heart of my exploration, I reconnect with my son, whose voice is the catalyst that triggers my emotional breakdowns. A voice, that sounds so much like that familiar spirit that walked with me during my journey through that sinister lagoon; that familiar spirit which emancipated me from a chaotic cycle. It was because of him that I left my life in Washington State in the first place! My intuition advised to me to go to him. And I did. And we created memories. And then….I left again when I realized what I needed to do.
If you would’ve asked me what my son sounded like in 2009, there’d be a pause; which would signify how I perceived his voice
– silence. Today, (sighs) when I hear him, I hear myself (teary eyed). I’ve always prayed to God: “please, just let him develop his speech and his capacity to understand just so I can connect. PLEASE!!”
My initial meeting with him was the foundation of my relationship with him. I’ve grown to love the guy. Believe it or not – I wanted him aborted back in 2005. (raises hand) Yep, I was that guy.
So, when I hear a lot of single moms bash these so called “deadbeat dads”, I do one of two things: I stay silent or I try to shed a different perspective. One of my goals, as a human being, is maintain my composure as to not affirm verbally that I’m a “real man”. I think it’s self destructive that any man should have to degrade another man’s worth, and promote his own as if it were going to resolve the problem. I’m not saying we should mute the obvious, however, people always emphasize action rather words when dealing with people. I’m implying that telling a lost soul how lost he is won’t help him discover himself. If anything, it makes him more lost because he’s got the motivational push from you….to keep on going where he’s going. You’ve made it clear (in your delivery of words) that love is not on the other side – hate is. If you would’ve told me how much of a coward I was between ‘05-‘09, I would’ve shrugged you off without a micro scratch of guilt. I was more focused on the betterment of my current life than of the one I abandoned. So, not only would that “debate” have been a lost for you, but a lost for my son – you pushed daddy away. If anything, you did more harm than good. But your intentions are good. Noble. Your approach may work for some.
I talked to an old friend the other day via email. Because of his choices, he can’t get a job because of the felonies that’s marked on his social security number. Who desires to hire a felon? Even if he is war veteran who has 3 sons by 3 different women? He’s resorted to selling drugs and busting guns, yes, but he has heart and potential like many of us; but his collection of self imposed choices created his circumstance. He’s accepted it all with the little dignity and pride in his possession, and he’s drowning in pessimism. It brung me to tears when he told me: unlike you, I don’t wish my son to be like me…I wish he’d be greater. And although I desire my son to be greater than me as well, I understood the context in which he said that. It shows me that as much as he wants to be in his children’s lives, he wasn’t innovative enough to tap into his inner child, and break free from the shackles of his self imposed circumstance. It makes me wonder if his children will suffer the same fate. A man’s character is his fate (Heraclitus)….
I just wanna emphasize to the gentlemen in the world that if we want to inspire our fallen comrades with a reminder of their inherent godliness, we should exercise grace and compassion in our words. Talk to a brotha without the tough part of your tough love campaign because it hardly works! It’s very pompous to assume our male brethren to be full of estrogen simply because they’ve misunderstood their purpose. Ahem, I am addressing the gentlemen. And not all men are full time gentlemen. A gentleman is assertive when necessary, and is always compassionate and patient. Jesus nor Gandhi would speak as if they’re greater than another. A gentleman speaks softly with an undertone of vigor; expressing that he means what he says, but he’s conservative in tone. Egos are aggressive speakers – they attack and impose. Gentlemen are evasive and inviting – they’re defensive and neutral speakers. Which one are you? And even though I can elaborate more, I need to conclude with this: a gentleman is deeply in tune with his inner child because that spirit is the center of his growth.
My son inspires me to grow because I recognize that we share the same center.
I love you Zae! One day, I’ll be able to prove it in more ways that I can today.
In my lifetime, ain’t too many things better
than watching your first son put his sentences together
Yo, it kinda make me think of way back when
I was the portrait of the artist as a young man
All them teenage dreams of rapping
Writing rhymes on napkins
Was really visualization
Making this here actually happen
It’s like something comin through me
That truly just consume me
Speaking through the voices of the spirits speaking to me
I think back in the day, I absorbed everything like a sponge
Took a plunge into my past to share with my son
– Talib Kweli in