Fatherhood: Be Prepared For Your Child, Be Empathetic

Joel Austin

By Joel Austin

I originally was going to write one of those top ten lists, but I became tired of those when my twelve year old son was still five. What we need to know is that our children do not care about how much money we make, or that we have to get to work on time, or what type of car we drive, or what size house we own. Brace yourself, they care about one thing and one thing only: that is how much time you spend with them. If you are also under belief that you can freely go to work while your souse or child’s mother raises fine young men, you are wrong.

All communities are affected by the fragile families, father-absence, and random unemployment. Be prepared to come straight home to talk, play, and nurture your children. Yes, I did say nurture. Men are excellent at nurturing. Whenever I talk to my son, I put my hand on his shoulder, I look him in the eye, and when we are done, I tell him I love him. This is nurturing, touching, eye contact and out ward emotions. Can you do this? Are you doing this? Start now!

Once you become a Father, you need to ask yourself, is your child’s life, dreams, and success more important to you than your own? You will have to adjust your dreams for theirs. Once you give birth to a child, the responsibility is on you to guide them in the right direction. If a job comes along that doubles your salary but takes you away from home more and more, then who is the job benefiting? It does not benefit the child to have the best bike in the neighborhood, best bat and mitt on the block, and favorite hobby, if you are not there to share them. There are Fathers out there reading this and thinking about how alone they felt as a child with the best of everything.

How do you feel when you see a man playing with his son in the park? I can tell you that you see what truly defines us. What you may not see in the park is the sacrifice that is made every minute every second of every day by that Father. It is a sacrifice of ultimate humility. It is an effort of love that brings out the best of us. In our hearts we all want to be the, “Hero” in the comic book. Fatherhood is the hero and our children are the people in distress that lookup and say, “WOW!”

What we need to know before we become Fathers is how important our role and responsibilities are to their well being. Without Fatherhood involvement, our children will be subject to failing grades, poverty, social problems, criminal behavior and drug abuse. Our job is to set the tone with structure and discipline. We bring about justice and facts along with an example of the way a good man and father acts. Our children are always watching us, that‘s why the sacrifice is so consistent. The other day, I was unable to voice my opinion and yell at a police officer writing me a ticket because I told my children to respect the police. However, if I see that officer again, I will get him a watch so he can see I was not parked that long. Back to writing…

I cannot emphasis how important it is to become comfortable with the commitment and responsibility it takes to be an involved father. I cannot also express how little money matters when it comes to being a great father. What I tend to find is the more we pay for an event the worst the event turns out for the child. We showboat our children into completing things and going places we never did. Ask your child, where would you like to go? Don’t take them to your game until they like it. Be more than just a dad, be empathetic. Seek help, seek guidance, and seek to cure your own issues before you pass them to your children.

Are you comfortable putting off your needs for the needs of your children? Are you willing to put off a tee time appointment with your associates for miniature golf with a child? Do you have a career that is comfortable for your family and their needs? Do you understand that your child is in danger of failing without your presence? Do you realize that to become a Father is not an act of science but and ordainment from the universe? Let me explain:

Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not. The best predictor of father presence is marital status. Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.

Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.

Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

The reality of our time is that fatherhood is the problem and the solution to our world’s problems. Fatherhood is the only description of a man that you cannot lose. Let me explain, after you leave this earth people will ask who is that person in the picture; someone will say he was a doctor, he was my husband, and he was this and that. They will always say, that is my father, he is my father or My Dad. You can never loose the title. Please understand how important this ordainment is, it can never be taken from you. It is changing the face of the world as we know it. Your baseball throwing, your attending ballet, your graduation attendance, changes someone’s life. It is the deciding factor whether your daughter or son will fall victim to teen pregnancy, school dropout, and drug use. Your child is doomed without your influence, your time, and your love.

What do you need to know before you have a child? You need to know that you cannot fix everything. Remember that you become a parent the day they are born. Understand that you become a member of the largest fraternity in the world, so ask questions. Realize that you get to live your life over thru theirs. Understand that Disney is nice, but playing catch is free and more memorable. Travel around the world first, so then you will have half the answers to the questions your children will ask you. And last but not least, the most important decision in a man’s life is who he chooses as a spouse. It governs everything else. Chose wisely!

Joel Austin and his organizations Daddy UniverCity and www.fatherfest.com are dedicated to helping all fathers appreciate themselves and the responsibility of fatherhood. To put this complex situation in simple terms, Austin would like to to heal the world one father and child at a time.

Together with Black Men In America.com, Joel will bring you a fresh, practical and relevant perspective to the issue of fatherhood. Helping fathers understand the importance their role has on the future of children throughout the world is a major task, however, it can be done and for many that task will start here on this web site and blog.


4 Responses to “Fatherhood: Be Prepared For Your Child, Be Empathetic”

  1. From a new dad to a clearly more experienced one: Very nicely said.

    – Freckly white man in Australia =)

  2. Amanita Says:

    Continue to empower, educate and enlighten. Well written and as always thought provoking.

  3. I give you immense applause for this post! This should really be shared with a national newspaper or magazine of some sort. I feel that a lot of men (and women as well) could benefit from this. I agreed with so many points that you made and I love the fact that you emphasized that the amount of money that you are able to spend on a child, does not compare to the amount of “time” you spend with your child. Please spread the word. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Paul Alleyne Says:

    Hello There:

    My comment is one of frustration with these and other topics about being “Black In America.” There is no one in the black community that I know who haven’t seen or read some aspect of this, or who have not experienced any of it. It is time for us all to stop talking about the experience of being black, or being a man, or woman in America, and begin holding those in positions of power, such as politicians, business leaders, community leaders, law enforcement officials. church officials, etc. accountable for all the empty promises they make, over and over again.

    The media who seems to dictate what we see and hear, and do with our daily lives, must begin to ask hard questions of these individuals about why they have failed the inner cities of this country. There are enough stories crying for attention within these communities, and which the media sees fit not to cover, but would rather talk about meanless tribble while claiming that this is what “people” want to see and hear.

    Anyone who knows and cares about anything important does not believe, for example that our new President, probably Barack Obama will not accomplish 70& of all those promises he has made in either his first, or second term, if he gets one; but there seems to be a benigned acceptance of all the talk.

    So, talking about being black in America, or anything else related to it is meaningless, unless it is packaged with real solutions to the numerous problems which plague us in the inner cities of this country.

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