The Single Father's Blog

Real Talk…From A Real Dad…On Real Life

Archive for the tag “blogs”

5 STEPS FOR FATHERS TO MAKE IT THROUGH PROM SEASON

It’s almost the time of year that many fathers seem to dread. Prom season can pose a threat to a father’s sanity if he allows it. It’s mainly stressful because of the anxiety that most teens get when preparing for their big night. Dads around the world can’t wait for the night to be over so they don’t have to worry about all of the things that could possibly go wrong while their child is out on the town.

Some dads are professionals at this. They have raised a few kids and they know how the routine goes. But for those of you who have never been through this experience, I have created a few steps that should help make the process better for both you and your child.

1.  Find out who your child is going with. As a dad you should already be familiar with your child’s circle of friends.  You should know if he/she is going to the prom with a date, or if they are going with a group of their friends.  Which ever route they are taking it would be a good idea to meet the people who will be accompanying your child.  They should have a clear understanding of what your ground rules are.  Peer pressure is less likely to occur if everyone is on the same page.  They should have a clear understanding of what type of behavior you expect, and what you as a parent will not accept.  Also, you should have the emergency contact information of everyone who is going to be riding with your child that night.  In the event that something does happen, you need to be able to get in contact with the other kid’s parents.

2.  Remind your child that we live in a time where any action can be captured and posted on the internet for all to see.  One of the last things that any parent wants to see is their child in a compromising position on the internet.  Lets face it, teenagers aren’t always the best decision makers.  Sometimes they can do things that can get them in a little bit of hot water.  In today’s age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc… anything can be filmed and put on display.  One reason they have to be especially careful is to make sure that they are not violating any college admissions guidelines.  Many colleges are now looking at behavior on social networks as a part of their admissions process.  No potential college student needs to have embarrassing pictures or videos floating around on the internet that will cause concern for an admissions coordinator.

3.  Set a curfew and remind them about the dangers of drunk driving.  Many times kids will have an “after party” to their prom and sometimes even an “after after party”.  These are cool, but I think you still have to set boundaries as a parent.  Just because all of the “cool” kids have plans to hang out until the morning after prom doesn’t mean that your child has to be hanging out with them.  Come up with a reasonable curfew that you feel will give them enough time to enjoy themselves, hang out with their friends and still get home at a reasonable time.  There is an old saying that says that “only two things are open after 2:00am…Wal-Mart and legs!  The later it gets, the more opportunities for trouble seem to present themselves.  Also, even though you have probably already talked to your child about the dangers of alcohol, make sure you reiterate the consequences of drinking and driving.  Let them know that they are not to consume any alcohol, or ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.  Teenage drinking is a problem within itself, but the odds of some tragic event happening on the night of prom are much more likely if you haven’t even discussed the dangers of drinking and driving. You don’t want your child to be a victim.  Let them know that if they need you to pick them up from somewhere that you will be available.  They shouldn’t be ashamed to call or text you if they do happen to get themselves in a situation that they don’t know how to get out of.

4. Create a prom care package.  I know that it is hard to admit that your baby is finally growing up.  This might even be the hardest thing for you to do.  Even though children will retain some of the things that you tell them, it is more likely that they will follow the things that you show them.  If you and your child have already had “the talk” and you have a feeling that there will be any type of sexual activity going on, then you should provide them with protection. Whether it be condoms, birth control pills, or a chastity belt (LOL). Just make sure that they are prepared.  They probably already have a cell phone, but what about spending money,  or a scrap book that includes some of your favorite moments from their childhood.  This is a milestone in their life.  Make sure that it is as memorable for them as possible.

5.  Stay up and wait for them to come home.  It’s important to wait up for your kids after the prom to make sure that they get home safe, sound, and sober.  Even though I’m sure that you will trust their judgement, there is nothing better than the having the assurance that everything is okay before you close your eyes for the night. Besides, they are going to want to tell you all about their experience.

Just remember that prom is a time when teenagers can hang out with their friends for what maybe their last formal event together.  Memories will be made that are going to stick with them for the rest of their life.  I was just laughing with a high school friend last week about some of the shenanigans that took place during and after our prom. It’s their night, so let them enjoy it and have fun. Just remember that you’re still the boss. Whenever in doubt just ask yourself…WWTDD (What Would Tony Danza Do)?

NO POLITICS…JUST FUNNY!!!!

This is just undeniably funny! Happy Friday folks….LOL

IT’S A SATURDAY LOVE

If you’re anything like me you grew up sitting in front of a television eating cereal on Saturday mornings.  I must admit that I wasn’t a cartoon fanatic like many kids were growing up. My entertainment of choice on Saturdays was wrestling. I would wake up and watch a minimum of three hours of wrestling every saturday morning. It didn’t matter what channel it came on, who was involved in the matches, or how many times I knew that the good guys were going to win. Actually, even if some of the shows were repeats I would still watch them like they were brand new. I had every wrestler and their signature move committed to memory as a child and on Saturday mornings I would plop down on the couch with my breakfast and watch my favorites like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Junkyard Dog, Sting and more go to war with their opponents. And when lunch time came around I would be in the same spot watching more matches. The wrestling programs would be over at around 2pm and afterwards I would get up and go about my day. Usually, after the matches were done for the day I would go in my room and pick up my wrestling action figures and pretend to fight them inside of a toy ring.  Often times I would reenact action from some of the matches that I had just watched.

Now that I am older and wiser(depending on who you ask) I look back on those Saturday mornings and realize something. I spent the majority of my Saturday mornings alone. Just me and the TV. My mother usually worked from home on Saturday, so while I was watching World Championship Wrestling or the World Wrestling Federation she was in the den working.  She would come in to check on me, and I would go into the den periodically, but for the most part it was just me and the TV.

Even though those memories of watching my favorite wrestlers battle every weekend are etched into my brain, the one thing that sticks out to me is that I didn’t have a father to sit down with me and watch those matches. These thoughts didn’t dawn on me until recently when I was sitting in front of the TV with my own daughter.  She isn’t a wrestling fan like I was, in fact she is the furthest thing from it.  The Disney Channel is her Saturday morning vice.  She knows every character on every show. And even though I swear  I have seen certain episodes of ‘Shake It Up’ and ‘Wizards of Waverly Place‘ at least five dozen times, she will watch them and laugh like each episode is brand spanking new.    As I am sitting there eating my Frosted Flakes (you’re never  be too old for Tony The Tiger) and watching a seemingly endless amount of ‘Good Luck Charlie’ and ‘A.N.T. Farm’ episodes it dawns on me…THIS is what Fatherhood is all about.  It’s not  about custody battles or seeing who can spend the most money on material items. It’s not about what lawyer has the best court room strategy. It’s about spending quality time with your child and enjoying the spirit of God’s greatest creation.

As a father who doesn’t have full custody of my child, it’s imperative that I  build the strongest bond possible with my daughter whenever I can.  So whether it be watching TV and eating cereal on a Saturday morning, teaching her to roller blade,  or having one of our infamous burping contests I know the time we spend together is going to stay with her as she gets older.  Hopefully, one day when she looks back and reflects on how she spent her Saturday mornings growing up she will cherish the time  we spent together and appreciate our bond.  I’m not saying that watching TV with your child one day a week makes you a good father.  What I am saying is that sometimes we can get so caught up in the  material things that we  think our kids need that we  forget that what the main thing that they need is consistent quality time with us more .  So I encourage any father to evaluate the time they are spending with their kids.  Are you giving enough of yourself? Are you engaging in activities that your children are fond of?  Are you exposing them to new and exciting challenges and opportunities? Take it from me, those few hours throughout the week that may seem minuscule to you are actually colossal in the mind of your children.  Maybe one day my daughter and I  will be able to compare the Jessie that she grew up with to the Jesse that I grew up with.

Tell me your stories. What are some of your favorite Saturday morning memories with your father?

1 BILLION REASONS WHY YOUR KIDS SHOULD SPEND MORE TIME ON THE COMPUTER

I am a proud 80’s baby! I was born and raised during the age of Nintendo game systems, Bart Simpson T-Shirts, caller ID-less telephones and mustard that came in a glass jar. During my late teens and early 20’s I had my first introduction to this thing that we call the internet.  Back in 1998 I had to hope and pray that my mother wouldn’t have to use the telephone while I was on the internet in an AOL chatroom talking to who knows who about who knows what.  I would spend hours on the internet in chat rooms and on websites. Learning how to do stuff like save pictures of fancy cars to my desktop wallpaper, or eventually graduating to sites like  Bearshare and Napster to download music.  I thought I had it all figured out.  Boy was I wrong! I had no idea that there was much more to the internet than AOL Instant Messenger.  Even though I didn’t capitalize on it the way that I should have, I’m glad I got to have those experiences while the world wide web was still in it’s infancy.  It gave me a greater appreciation for what I read yesterday when it was announced that social networking giant Facebook had acquired start up company Instagram for ONE BILLION U.S.DOLLARS!

If you are not familiar with Instagram, it is a photo sharing application that was exclusively available to iPhone and Ipad users up until last week.  Facebook’s owner Mark Zuckerberg saw the potential in Instagram and it’s 30 million users and decided that it would be in his company’s best interest to snatch it up and make it their own.  Instagram allows users to take photos, add retro filters and share with friends.  Seems like a pretty simple idea. In fact the owners of Instagram say that they were inspired to create the app by the old instant Polaroid cameras that most of us grew up on.

So, Zuckerberg pays $1 billion in cash and stock for a 2-year old company with 13 employees. Not really a bad come up for 2 guys in their 30’s who graduated from Stanford.

So as parents what can we learn from Instagram’s owners hitting the mega millions lottery savvy business move?  Well, I think the first thing that we can understand is how important it is for our children to be raised with an understanding of the value of technology and how essential it is to their existence in society.   I’m a firm believer that children should start learning about computers at a very early age. And by early, I mean right around the time that they start walking. Being around computers and technology has to be like second nature to them because without it, they are going to be behind in the classroom, the workforce, and in life.

I think it is especially important for minority children to get a head start in the area of technology. That means we have to step up parents! And I don’t mean just learning how to play Angry Birds on your iPad.  I think we have to make sure that we are stressing the importance of getting familiar with technology and creating a greater understanding of where it can take you if you simply embrace it.   As parents of black and latino children we can’t afford to let the same things that intimidate us intimidate our children.  I have no problems admitting that I hate roller coasters and those weird carnival rides that lift you up to unknown heights and drop you down to the ground and pick you back up, and drop you back down. That type of stuff just isn’t my thing.  As I’ve gotten older, the mere thought of being thousands of feet in the air and rocking back and forth just makes my stomach turn.  My 7-year-old daughter on the other hand loves them. She will get on any roller coaster or ride that her size permits. She hasn’t met a roller coaster ride that she doesn’t like. I mean she is fearless! Now as a father I would be wrong to let my fears prohibit her from doing what she wants to do.  In fact, when we go to an amusement part or a carnival I encourage her to ride as many rides as she wants until her heart is content.  The same approach must be taken when she wants to try her hand at other things that may intimidate me.  Fear of the unknown can’t be an option when you are raising children.  Times have changed, and we must push our kids into a realm of success.

If your children are familiar with Facebook or Instagram I encourage you to share with them the success of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.  These two young men should be an example for not only success in business but also what can happen when you relentlessly chase your dreams.  After graduating college and working for several tech companies like Google and Twitter the two created a plan and made it work a billion times over.

The days of sitting around and allowing your child to go to school without any parental involvement are over.  As a parent you must get involved with your children’s education and make sure they are being pushed to levels of excellence and greatness.  If greatness is going to be achieved with the next generation it all starts at home.  There  are plenty of free educational apps that can be installed on cell phones, computers and laptops. Just take a moment and think about how proud the parents of Kevin and Mike were when they heard the announcement of their children’s accomplishment.  That’s the kind of joy that I want to feel as a parent. Not because of the monetary value attached to the deal, but because of the level that Kevin and Mike met and exceeded their goals.  I could only imagine the sense of satisfaction that was felt by the parents when they got that first phone call or text from their son.

With a little hard work, persistance, and dedication who knows…Anything is possible.   YOUR child could be the next billionaire…get the “Picture”?!?!?

DIG DEEPER…6 STEPS TO HELP DADS FIND THEIR PASSION

Passion aint easy, but it sure is fun! That’s a motto that I have adapted over the years. Finding out what your passion is can be hard. Figuring out what the one thing is that drives you and makes you want to get up and give 150% every day is no easy task. In today’s world who really has time for passion when you have to rob one bill collector named Peter just so you can make a payment plan to try and pay Paul? Your kids are eating you out of house, home, and anything else that they set their eyes on. I mean you barely even have 30 minutes a day to sh*t, shower, and shave, right? Yup…I get it trust me I do. But in the midst of all of those things that are pulling you lies something called Passion.  As fathers we have to not only find out what our passion is, but we are responsible for instilling a sense of passion and purpose into our children. Passion is an emotion that reflects a strong desire or deep interest in something or someone. So before I go any further I want you to take a moment and think about what are the three things that you are most passionate about in life. Maybe a love for your community is the thing that turns you into an outspoken activist when you witness injustice or maybe you have such a strong passion for music that you can’t sleep at night without downloading the latest songs on iTunes. It could be that gardening is your passion. Don’t laugh, there are some brothers out there who are pretty nice when it comes to the green thumb. The things that came to your mind when you thought about your passion are the things that you should be pursuing diligently with every fiber in your body. And if nothing came to mind, don’t even worry, because I will cover that a little later. Some people think that just because certain things happen in their lives that they can’t find their passion. There are also some folks who find something that they are passionate about, and lose interest once the world gives them a few swift kicks in the backside.   Life is life, and things are going to happen that are beyond your control. Some of the stuff that you will go through will be the exact things that you never thought would happen in your life. It’s what you do and how you react to those things that will determine how far you go and what you will achieve. We all get stuck in those ruts that feel like the world is against us.  And I’m not saying that finding your passion is going to stop those feelings from happening.  But once you start making clear and concise decisions based on where you want to go not based on where you are you will begin to see a world of difference in your life. I’m here to tell you that once you find your passion it’s like an immovable object that will stay with you.  The thing about it is passion won’t just come and sit in front of you and say “Hey..whassup?!?! Here I Am” You have to go and get it. You have to find it and make sure that you take it with you wherever you go. So, what I have done is create six steps that I think will help you find your passion.  I know as men and as fathers it can be hard for us to communicate and express ourselves at certain times so you may not know where to go or who to talk to when life gets you down, but once you find that passion and begin to act on it you will have an escapism so to speak when those tough times come.

1.  Start with what interests you –  Remember earlier when I had you think about the things that drive you. That was the first step in finding your passion. The things that we are usually most passionate about are usually the things that somehow touch our everyday life.   So take a moment and write down those things in your life that you just couldn’t live without.  One thing that I know I couldn’t live without is my daughter.  It is because of her that you are even reading this blog.  Fatherhood is one of my passions and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. If you would have asked me ten years ago if I thought I would be passionate about fatherhood and issues pertaining to fathers I would have given you a resounding “Hell NO!” But hey, as we grow older our priorities begin to change and the things that were small and minuscule become gigantic and larger than life.

2. Create and establish goals for yourself – In order to work any plan or establish any tangible results you must first define what your goals are.  I don’t mean goals like ” I want to be rich in 5 years” or ” I want a 10 bedroom house with Brazilian models feeding me ice cream on Wednesdays and Fridays”. There is nothing wrong with thinking those types of thoughts and wanting them to become a reality, but first we have to figure out what are you going to be doing to achieve those results.   I am talking about goals that have to do with helping you to become a better you and also find what it is that drives you.  You have to begin to live your life with a sense of purpose.  Make a conscious decision that THIS is what you want to do and nothing will come between you and achieving your desired results.   When you set your goals you should start off with a big picture and then break down smaller objectives that are going to help you get to the large goal. Keep breaking those objectives down until you get to where you are today and figure out what it is that you can do right now at this very moment to take you to the next step.  Once you get to the next step, just keep working on it until you get to the step after that.  Passion is a process. It’s not something that is just going to happen overnight.

3. Go out and play –  Once you have figured out what it is that you are passionate about and you have set the goals that you wish to obtain, what else is there to do besides go out and start exploring?!?!? If you are passionate about something I am willing to bet any amount of money that you can find someone out in the world who is not only passionate about the exact same thing that you are, but has also been where you are and knows where you are trying to go.  You have to get out there and experience things for yourself.  Start touching and gathering those building blocks that are going to become the foundation of your success.  You have to meet people who have similar interests and are willing to share their knowledge with you.  If no one in  your circle of friends shares the same interest that you do, then guess what…It’s time to start making a new circle!

4.  Share your journey with others   I’m a huge fan of social networks.  Today, there is a social network and a website or a chat room  for EVERYTHING!If you don’t have anyone at home or in your circle of friends who shares the interest that you have in your passion, that’s fine. Just take yourself online and document your journey for those who have an idea of what you are attempting to do.   When you share your current thoughts and ideas with other people it makes it easier to create new thoughts and new ideas.  You would be amazed at how interested people can be when you tell them about something that makes you happy.

5.  Forget about the money–  A lot of times when people talk about passion they immediately tie it into prosperity.  Well I am NOT one of those people. I understand that we all have to make a living and provide for our families.  But, passion is the thing that you would do whether you would get paid for it or not.  Once you start using money to motivate you, your judgment becomes cloudy and you begin to do things that could turn out to be the exact opposite of what you stood for in the beginning.  I’m not saying that you should not be an astute businessman because in today’s world there is a market for everything.  Just don’t let the money determine how you are going to pursue what it is that was meant for you.  Use your gifts and your talents and the reward is going to come.

6.Have Fun – As important as I think it is to find your passion, I think the most important thing to do in the midst of everything else is to have fun. Enjoy life…I mean really, no one gets  out of here alive.  If you find something that brings joy to your heart  I think you should do it. It’s important for our children to not only see us chasing our dreams, but to know that we are enjoying ourselves as we do it.  If you have something that you are passionate about and it becomes tedious to even think about it, you may want to go back up to step #1 and start all over again looking for a new and improved passion.  The thing about life is that we have the ability to change our direction at any given moment.  If you go through those first four steps and find out that things aren’t working in your favor then you can go right back and start working on something else.  As long as you are growing and learning from each and every experience you are on the right road. The key to finding your passion is motivation.  Because as I said before life is going to hit you slam upside your head on more than one occasion.  Your desire to succeed and your will to win have got to be greater than any obstacle that may come before you.  You have to dig deep…Find that passion and let everyone know that THIS is what you were made to do and THIS is what you will be doing!

CHICAGO’S ALL BLACK MALE PREP SCHOOL SENDS ALL SENIORS TO COLLEGE

 

We often times read about the failures of the education system in America.  This story is the EXACT opposite of anything that you have read that says the system can not work.  Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy is not only graduating 100% of this year’s senior class, they are also sending them all off to college in the fall.

Opened in 2006, Urban Prep is the only all-black, all-male charter school in Chicago and has been sending each of it’s graduates to college for the past three years.

As we all know, the statistics for black men in the school systems of Urban areas often reflect high numbers of drop outs and below average performances.  Tim King and other community leaders in the area created Urban Prep Academy as a way to impact young black men in the public education system.  The school aims to instill self esteem among students with their motto “We Believe”.

Students from Urban Prep don’t just go to college. They go to college and ACHIEVE!!!.  Eighty-three percent of students who graduate from the school continue in college after their freshmen year.

More institutions like Urban Prep Academy are needed across the country.  Their dedicated staff is preparing tomorrow’s leaders for a lifetime of success.  I commend them Mr. King and his staff for stepping up to the plate and creating a way for the young men of Chicago to succeed and navigate their way through life.

VIDEO * CORI B. F/ SNOOP DOGG “DADDY’S GIRL”

 

Cori B. is the daughter of rapper Snoop Dogg and she is following in her daddy’s footsteps.  Cori is also an artist making strides within the music industry.   In her latest video she tells us why she is such a “Daddy’s Girl”

In the video Snoop is a proud poppa who is out on the road while his little girl decides to throw a birthday party with some of her friends.  The Doggfather comes home early and surprises his little lady but he doesn’t even trip when he realizes she is having a party. It becomes a family affair as Snoop joins in on the fun.

DWYANE WADE HOSTS FATHERHOOD EVENT WITH WHITE HOUSE STAFF DURING NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND

Miami Heat point guard Dwyane Wade hosted the Fatherhood Heroes round table discussion during the NBA’s All Star Weekend festivities in Orlando, Florida recently.

The event was part of President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. D. Wade was joined by White House official Joshua Dubois and more. The goal of the discussion was to raise awareness about the importance of being involved in the lives of children.

Wade was asked to join Obama’s fatherhood task force in 2011, shortly after he gained sole custody of his two sons following a long custody battle with his now ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade.

In a blog for Huffington Post in June 2010, he wrote, “I’ve never been at a loss for nicknames. There’s D-Wade and Flash. I love them both, but to be honest, no label sounds as good to me as Daddy.”

source

BEING A SINGLE PARENT IS CHILD ABUSE ACCORDING TO A WISCONSIN SENATOR

A bill has been proposed by Sen. Glenn Grothman to consider single parenting as child abuse.  Sen. Grothman is a republican from Wisconsin who has created a bill to have the state’s Health department consider children from single parent homes as victims of child abuse.

If passed into law the bill would create a campaign that would “emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect

That’s right folks, you got it. According to this man if you are a single parent you are committing a crime and automatically neglecting your child.  Never mind that there are single mothers and fathers out here busting their asses to be sure that their children’s needs get met.  Forget about the fact that according to the U.S. Census Bureau there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.2 million children.   I also guess it doesn’t matter that the number of homes with single fathers has grown by 60% in the last 10 years.

I don’t know who this senator is or what his motivation is for trying to push such non sense onto his constituents but this bill alone proves that he is not in touch with reality and not fit to serve.  The preservation of the family structure is something that I think is very important, but that in no way negates the fact that single parents are just as capable of raising children whether they are married or not. And it is unfathomable to think that someone in 2012 would insinuate that being a single parent should be considered as a criminal act.   Instead of trying to incarcerate and intimidate single parents, why not take a moment to honor those parents who raising children on their own without the help of a partner?

As a single parent myself I take offense to the idea of this entire bill and think that something has to be done to get people who think like this out of public office.  Take a moment to think about this the next time you have a local or state election in  your area.

SOURCE

VIDEO * 5 YEAR OLD COMEDIAN TALKS ABOUT “GROWING UP BLACK”

I’m totally in favor of encouraging your kids to pursue their dreams. I think it’s imperative that we start helping our children focus on chasing their dreams at an early age. This way they know the importance of going after the things that they want in life.

5-year-old Zay Zay went to his father and let him know that he wanted to be a comedian when he grows up. In an attempt to help Zay Zay fulfill his dreams, his dad who is also a comedian wrote some material for his son and filmed him for this youtube clip. His father appears in the video , and even set up a facebook and twitter account for the youngin’.

The routine is entitled “Growing Up Black” and features Zay Zay talking about the things that he has experienced as a child growing up.

What do you think about Zay Zay’s attempt at stand up comedy?

Post Navigation