One of my most cherished memories is the countless times my parents took our family on vacations. They knew the power of traveling and how it would introduce us to different cultures and expand our knowledge of the United States. As I have become a parent, I have developed a passion for teaching this experience to my daughter, Kennedy. Unfortunately, not too often will you see Black Fathers traveling the world with their kids, an art form of memory building often overlooked.
I have fond memories of my childhood family trips to Florida to see the Beaches and Disney World, Hawaii to experience volcanoes, and Canada to feel the sheer power of the mighty Niagara Falls. I’ll never forget my father’s facial expressions. We were probably too loud while he drove and most likely annoying him asking “Are we there yet?”, but I learned many lessons from his conversations while reading the atlas and his calming presence on our journeys. As a child, I did not know that those journeys included modeling how to be a present father and playing an active role in your life. This fully present role is critical to the health and development of thriving children and families. As I have taken on this role, I’ve cherished and enjoyed our daughter’s pure innocence.
The fond memories of early childhood vacations sparked my passion for travel and my desire to show Kennedy the world. She is 5 years old and has already been to 5 states to experience new foods, cultures, and unique accommodations. She will receive 3 stamps on her passport before she starts kindergarten. Our travels have allowed us to teach her a worldview as much as possible. When not traveling, we like to explore our city of Austin, Texas, by filling our weekends with excursions and staycations. Our recent staycation at Kimpton’s Hotel Van Zandt allowed us to experience an entirely new side of Austin.
Travel has helped me develop an increased sense of pride in being a Black Father. What started as a way to document and share memories has turned into an entire Youtube channel that allows us to create as a family. We love to showcase our black parenthood and rewrite the narrative of how black nuclear families can travel. It has also allowed me to create a portrait I want to see in the world by sharing positive images, videos, and stories of an active black dad.
As a toddler’s father, each day is filled with new surprises. “I am smart. I am strong. I am beautiful. I can do anything!” are the words Kennedy recites as she starts her day with daily affirmations centered around self-esteem. But, of course, a pivotal component to a girl’s positive self-esteem is a healthy father-daughter relationship. A relationship in which I implore Kennedy to explore, experiment, be inquisitive, learn lessons, and most importantly, have fun!
However, sometimes there are moments of fatherhood that are not so fun. In the more challenging times, I call upon my brotherhood of friends who each experienced the growing pains of being a Black Father in different ways. Though we are all scattered across the continental United States, our experiences are similar. I particularly enjoy the times when we are all in person together with our kids so they might see present and active Black Fathers. The support and advice shared are invaluable and together we can challenge the perceptions of absent Black Fathers. We take pride in showing up for our children and spouses mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.
From this brotherhood, we are proud of the keys we all have in common:
- We are good examples.
- We ensure that our kids see us setting the examples of right versus wrong. Not only setting good standards but helping them learn principles of right versus wrong.
- We protect our children.
- Whether it’s a story about something happening at school or investments for our kids when they grow old, our brotherhood has an undeniable innate ability to protect and provide.
- We take the time to explore our kids’ interests.
- One day we are creating masterpieces with Peppa Pig coloring book pages, and the next, we might be playing with dolls in the garden. It is vital to meet your child where they are and help them explore their interest.
- We learn and teach.
- It’s essential to raise your child (or they will raise you), but it’s equally important to show them that you can learn and always stay learning. We all enjoy excerpts from Black Father’s Matter.
- We know that male caregiving challenges the negative stereotypes of absent Black Fatherhood.
- We are disciplined.
- Fatherhood can be fun, but it can also be challenging. Supporting the good times and having the self-discipline to navigate through the difficult times to see things through.
- Respect is a high priority.
- Teaching your child respect is a skill often forgotten. Respect for life, its processes, items small and priorities large, respect for the highly important, and respect for the inconsequential allow your child to learn self-acceptance and self-actualization.
Black Fatherhood is unique. Black Fatherhood is a blessing. Black Fatherhood is powerful.
This blog post was commissioned in partnership with the Black Travel Alliance.