Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Archive for the ‘Black Fathers’ Category

Has the Rites of Passage Ended?

Posted by Thomas on January 20, 2011

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This post has 375 words.

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Life Shifts

My son has turned 18 and will graduate from high school in a few months. During the holidays I had a conversation with a cousin of mine. He talked about shifts—how, when we move from one stage or phase of our lives into another. I had not framed it that way but my son moving into the next part of his life is a shift for us as parents. So, what do parents do when the rites of passage ends?

Stop Living in Denial

I thought a good deal about this question, prompted by the conversation with my cousin in December. To some degree I was in denial—thinking that my son moving on would not affect me. Now, I know otherwise.

So much energy is bound up in seeing after our children that it is inevitable a hole forms once they are no longer under roof. Though I am excited for my son, I know I will miss him. In fact, many in our circle of friends and family will miss him incredibly. So what’s next for us as parents, for me as a father?

Parenting Never Ends

Well, parenting never stops. I always think of myself at my son’s age. I vividly recall how much support and guidance I still required in my late teens and early twenties from the caring adults around me. Though I feel my son is better positioned than I was by eighteen he will still need wise counsel. The formalized rites of passage may be over, but continued guidance remains constant. He may need us less but he will still need us.

Manhood Training Continues

I have been open with my son, letting him know there is a great deal of information I cannot teach him due to my ignorance. I have encouraged him to continue seeking out mentors—older, wiser men that are willing to continue his responsible manhood training by example or through friendships. In that vein his rites of passage program will last a long time. To all other dads out there take comfort in the parenting you have done; because the proper foundation has been set, all else will be as it should. No need to fear the shift ahead.



Posted in African American Men, Black Boys, Black Dads, Black Fathers, Dads, Family, Mentorship | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wholesome Parenthood: Is It Worth It?

Posted by Thomas on January 12, 2011

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This post has 377 words
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Have you ever wondered if your parenting efforts, specifically, your efforts to be a good father are worth it? I mean, we know our children will disappoint us—for we disappointed our parents. Ever feel like throwing in the towel? Because you’re certain your child will bump their head on something foolish, real soon.

I’ve been there. I don’t like the idea of investing in something without the prospect of a decent return on that investment. Sometimes, I see my efforts in fatherhood through those same lenses. It is scary. I’ve said before, that being a parent is hands-down the hardest job I’ve ever had. And often times I wonder if my ranting and raving; and talking and talking and talking, is really making a difference in the life of my now teenage son.

We’ve seen in recent years, families close to us, struggle deeply in dealing with their young adults. And I’m not talking about kids reared in broken homes. These are kids—from families with involved moms and dads—making bad decisions; engaging in frightening behavior.

Is wholesome parenthood, particularly fatherhood, worth it? Why worry ourselves throughout sleepless nights over ungrateful and foolhardy children? (Sigh)

When I feel like this I try hard to remember the hell I put my mom through as a young adult. I try hard to step into the shoes of the young person. I try, despite the difficulties, to see things from the young person’s perspective—remembering where I came from.

When you start feeling down as a parent, second guessing your choices, your rules, the guidelines you’ve laid out for your child—exhale. Look in the mirror and say aloud “It’s worth it. It all will pay off in the end.” Trust that.

Remember, the ups and downs we experience with our children are only for a season. Have faith that you’ve done the best you could with what you had. And yes, from one parent to another, “YES!” it is all worth it. Your child will be a better person for all of your efforts. And that friends, is one of your positive contributions to the world at large.

God bless you!

May the Year of our Lord 2011 be very good to you and your loved ones.

I just finished reading Denzel Washington’s book A Hand to Guide Me. He makes a case for the Boys and Girls Club of America organization. He gives a compelling tale of how his own life was changed by the caring adults at his local club growing up. The remainder of the book is filled with personal testaments from other successful people (and not all are celebrities – which is great). Get the book and be inspired as a parent or a caring adult doing your part to make the world better by positively impacting the life of a child. So, this post could be titled: Wholesome Mentoring: Is It Worth It? You tell me…


Posted in African American Families, African American Men, Black Dads, Black Fathers, Dads, Education, Family, Mentorship, Rants | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »