Our diversity across race, faith tradition, our children’s ages, neurodiversity, and age was increasingly present on this day. We began by sharing some of our favorite quotations from MLK:Our Diverse fathers group talks about racism and White privilege
Are you considering homeschooling?
If you haven’t checked out Akilah S. Richards Fare of the Free Child podcast of Raising Free People Network, you are truly missing out! This podcast focuses on all things around ways to work toward liberation.
In the most recent episode, Akilah shares resources for home and unschooling families as well as deschooling support because we could all use some deschooling.
Take a listen here –> https://www.raisingfreepeople.com/rfp/
Heri Za Kwanzaa! (Happy Kwanzaa in Swahili)
Habari Gani? Umoja! (UNITY) .
TODAY is the first day of Kwanzaa. We observe the principle Umoja. To strive for and maintain unity in the community, nation and race.
Join the community at the African American Museum in Philadelphia or in your neighborhood celebrating the Kwanzaa traditions and principle of UMOJA TODAY.
#Kwanzaa is a pan-African holiday which
celebrates family, community and culture
created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966
and celebrated from December 26–January 1.
Official Kwanzaa Website
Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Karenga, the Nguzo Saba stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for it is these values which are not only the building blocks for community but also serve to reinforce and enhance them.
Happy Father’s Day!
Wishing all of the fathers and father figures a Happy Father’s Day.
Wishing peace and sending prayers to the children whose fathers have transitioned or have no relationship with their Fathers who are living.
Sending extra love to the fathers whose children have transitioned. If you’re unable to celebrate them, do something special and loving for yourself today.
Honoring my dad today the unofficial originator of the “selfie ”
When They See Us – film discussion in New York on June 28th with mental health professionals.
Repost from the P.A.M. (Preserve a Mom) Project :
I’m happy to share that Dr. Renée D. Charles has offered a safe space for the community to discussion the film When They See Us and Wellness Coach Retha Fernandez of Soul of Long Island, LLC has offered her meditation services as well.
Together we invite the community to join us in a conversation
(safe space) about the film, mental health advocacy, healing past traumas and wellness in the black community.
Click the link to join us in Hempstead – space is limited: https://howweseeourselves.eventbrite.com
Enjoy the day Beloved ~
Dodging Raindrops : A Return to Joy
It’s been too long since I’ve written on the blog. I have had a whilrwind of a year and different but similar challenges with my kids but I am recommitted to sharing my journey, support, knowledge, mistakes and resources with parents and anyone willing to join me here. I hope you leave feeling more encouraged and less alone than when you came.
Today I took my son to his doctor’s appointment at Children’s Hospital. It’s always an emotionally exhausting trip. The traffic is always a mess and he usually has back to back doctor visits which means we’re there for at least two hours. I try to make it worth the trip by also getting in some quality time. Being a suburban kid he loves the idea of spending time walking around West Philly and eating burgers off of the food trucks. Even though I had tons of work to do back at home and clients buzzing my phone we stopped at one of his favorite diners in town to ear. I watched as the rain started to drizzle , then pour then slow down to a drizzle and then back to a heavy shower. I wanted to do anything but walk out of there and get soaked but I saw him look out at the rain with anticipation. He smiled every so slightly and I was instantly reminded of the days I would laugh out loud watching the joy on his face as he jumped into the largest puddle he could find. I would keep an extra change of clothes and shoes in the car just for these times. We would search for the largest, mud-filled puddle in the playground or on the way home. He would look at me with this look of excitement and smile just as he approached the puddle as if to ask permission to take flight. It brought both of us both joy, a few strange looks from other parents, and an extra load of laundry in the house, but oh how we both laughed. He was a toddler then but those are moments he’ll never forget.
Today my son and I got caught in the pouring rain. We were two city blocks away from the car. I found myself trying to avoid the puddles as I watched him find the largest one to walk through. At one point we both met eyes and laughed getting our clothes soaked while running to the car. It took me back to those days I would stop the car just to let him jump in a big puddle. I saw the same joy in his eyes that I saw then as the scientist in him laughed at me trying to dodge raindrops all the way to the car. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. I realized at that moment he was teaching me how to let go of what other people think and just jump in. Have fun. Get wet. Get soaked. Be cold. I’m learning to be more fun and less motherly these days. My children need that side of me. I need the joy moments too. Just wanted to share a piece of my sunshine today. Hope you are taking moments for joy today.
Please feel free to share, like and comment.
How Effective is Your School District? Repost of the interactive NYT Article 12/9
I’m not too surprised to see that some of the wealthier districts perform similar and sometimes less effective than those not so wealthy. It’s not only the money that’s required to make education equitable, but it sure would help those districts in need. If we don’t educate ALL of our children equitable, we as a nation will have more problems than a tax cut.
Please urge your elected officials to support equity and inclusion in our school districts; visit Common Cause to find out who they are and how to contact them. Show up to your school district meetings and speak up, attend a local workshop, rally or meeting and educate yourself about the inequities in education in your community. Commit to a minimum of an hour a week, volunteering with local grassroots organizations. Donate to an active organization or support a school in your state in need of classroom supplies through Donors Choose.
We can no longer sit and expect our tax dollars, our representatives and our local activist to do all of the work. Take a sick day, take a lunch break, take your kids with you but please take action! Comment below on what action you will take. We need everyone to make this world great!
Maintaining family traditions; stability in a world that often isn’t.
My son and daughter are five years apart. My favorite picture of the two of them was taken the day my daughter was born. My son had taken a big brother class at the hospital and understood that she would look up to him and follow him as the older sibling. The first time they met, she gazed up into his eyes and I’m so grateful my sister-in-law captured it on film. He loved being my helper, getting her diaper or toys when I asked and I tried to give him all of the quality time I could when she was napping or down for the night.
Even after the separation, as a solo parent I would still be conscious of the attention that she naturally received as the baby of the family. I made sure they were treated equally regarding chores and rules and would let him stay up to watch television or play a game with me after I tucked her in at night. What I refer to as our night-time snuggle hour (it was cute then, not so much now that he’s a teenager) is a tradition now and even though he won’t admit it, I know he looks forward to it at least once or twice a week. Now that my son is a teenager and my daughter a tween, both are going through emotional and physical changes which naturally distances them. As an introvert, he spends a lot of time in his room and she commands my time and all of the rest of the space in the house with her creative endeavors. I understand that they need the space to develop in their own way but I have to admit it’s been difficult as a parent watching powerless, as age difference, school and puberty send them to their separate corners of the world.
I must admit I had given up on our family rituals. Running a household, business and caring for two school aged children is more than a full-time job. I’m usually ready to go to bed before they do, and I felt that they had grown out of our summer vacations, back to school gifts, end of school dinner celebration, church service (twice a month if we can), midnight or early morning movies in our pajamas, Friday pizza and movie nights and other traditions until recently. For the first time in close to a year we watched a movie together last night sharing pizza and the same couch! I almost always order pizza and this past year I would be the only one sitting on the couch watching the movie or most likely it would be just my daughter and I. Last night was different. I ordered the pizza and made plans to go out to a local fundraiser when I expected the kids would be retired to their rooms; but as usual when I make plans, God laughs! After the pizza was demolished I turned on The Dark Knight and invited my son to sit and watch it with me. Years ago he was fascinated by all of the Marvel and DC Comics but gave it up when he got the message from peers that enjoying action figures was childish. I walked out of the room and was floored when I saw him actually reclining on the couch waiting for me. My daughter, not to be outdone fought for her spot on the couch too. I had to play referee once or twice but we watched the entire movie together as a family. I was waiting for them both the bail mid-movie but they didn’t. I silently apologized to my conscience for missing the fundraiser so I could be present, enjoying the snuggle and bonding time with my children instead. I went to bed hopeful and determined to slowly reinstate the not so typical family traditions that we have created over the years. At a time when so much in their lives is changing, the ability to rely on mom’s sometimes quirky traditions offers the nurturing and stability they so desperately need. I am aware that every night may not have a fairy tale ending and that traditions may continue to be tested, yet I remain encouraged. Pizza and move night was a reminder that consistency is important and not to give up until the miracle happens.
What are some of the non-traditional traditions that bring your family together? Feel free to share in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.
~African American Parenting
The Daddy Daughter Dance; it’s not just a party it’s an investment in her emotional well being.
TODAY, June 17th is the eighth annual Daddy Daughter Dance. It takes place again this year in Philadelphia at the Hilton Hotel from 6-pm. The event started as the idea of the founder of Daddy UniverseCity who recognized the significance of the bond between father and daughter. With all of the bullying, school stress and social media influence in our young girls lives our daughters can easily fall victim to anxiety, depression, school suspension and low self-esteem without a strong father or father figure for support.
Educator caught on tape belittling a young female student
I volunteer every year not just to support DaddyUniverseCity and their vision to support and educate fathers, but because of the beautiful stories that I see walking through the door. I’ve seen fathers with disabled daughters, grandfathers attending with their daughter and granddaughter, men with infants and diaper bags on their shoulder and young girls dancing with their little feet on top of their father’s for guidance. I’ve seen tears in the eyes of grown men and grown women alike and it’s obvious that it’s the first time they have spent this type of quality time with their father or child. There is not simply music, good food and tiaras but there is genuine healing of families and relationships happening after the tickets are purchased and the couples are seated. I see it in their eyes, I hear the conversations and feedback as they pour out of the ballroom drenched with joy. I am always filled with hope and fulfillment and while I wish I had the chance to attend once with my own Dad, I am ever so grateful that my daughter is sitting at the table every year with hers.
The event started eight years ago with 50, last year over 500 were in attendance. If you don’t have your ticket, there may still be time but I wouldn’t wait much longer. Miracles are waiting.
Oh yes and Happy Father’s Day!
Fatherhood advice via new website for Daddy University
Re-post of the January 8, 2017 article about Daddy University, a Fatherhood support resource, in the Philadelphia Tribune:
The leadership team at Daddy University has started off the new year with a brand new website to help guide fathers of all ages through parenthood.
Located at daddyuniv.com, the website offers a baby supplies checklist for new fathers, legal information and a place for fathers to share their story of challenge or triumph.
While the website is new, the male parenting education company Daddy University has helped fathers in the Philadelphia area since 2004.
For eight months out of the year, fathers come to the West Philadelphia YMCA to meet with President and CEO Joel Austin and discuss topics ranging from how to communicate with a rebellious teen to how to braid their daughter’s hair.
Austin, a father of four, was inspired to create Daddy University after taking his eldest son to a Big Brother/Big Sister class at a nearby hospital. While hospital staff taught his son how to change a diaper and help out mom and dad, Austin realized he needed to take notes too.
“I am now the head of my household, and the only one who has had no training in taking care of children,” Austin said. “Even my five-year old has had a better class than me.”
He decided enough was enough. First, Austin started researching lessons on childcare online. Most of his results were from maternity websites. Next, he and co-founder Edward McGee started meeting with focus groups. After those took off in popularity, Austin and McGee then launched the Fathers Club with a full class curriculum.
“It’s not about fatherhood over motherhood, it’s about having two educated parents to raise a child,” Austin said.
In the past, people have joined the Fathers Club through word-of-mouth or recommendations from social services. Attendance ranges from 50 to 100 people, from teen fathers to grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
One of the first lessons Austin teaches is personal responsibility. Instead of referring to the child’s mother by name, he tells the men in his class to use the phrase, “the woman I chose.” Austin also teaches parents how to communicate with their children. His solution-based lessons help parents create more time between reacting and responding to an issue.
“The biggest problem I have in my class is that many of my men are not taught conflict resolution,” Austin said. “The thing is, everybody can actually win.”
The Fathers Club classes cover the time between a child is born to adulthood. With his oldest children in their early 20’s, Austin says he doesn’t believe in 18 being the magic number.
“So you were dumb at 17-and-a-half, but for some reason at 18 you’re supposed to be given this miraculous gift from the heavens of knowledge?” he said. “Instead, he works with parents to develop an exit strategy so children can be successful after they leave the home.
“None of them are raising children,” Austin added. “They are raising somebody’s future husband, wife, mother or father.”
Other than weekly classes, Daddy University also offers a fatherhood conference, young male Conference, mother and son dance and a daddy and daughter dance. The daddy and daughter dance takes the form of a debutante ball, and ticket sales help fund Daddy University. About 50 people showed up to the first dance. Seven years later, more than 650 fathers took their daughters to dance.
“We didn’t realize that a lot of adult women would be bringing their dads as well,” Austin said. “Now, the ages of the event are three years old all the way up to 60 or 70.”
With the website now active, the leaders at Daddy University are now looking towards advocacy for parenting rights and expanding the Fathers Club to the South Philadelphia YMCA. Austin plans to continue guiding dads in parenthood.
“I want people to have fun with parenting,” he said. “Crawl on the floor as much as you can.”
Information and ways to donate to Daddy University are available online at daddyuniv.com.