During Black History Month, I participated as a panelist in the 2021 Winter’s Black History Month Celebration. Many myths and stereotypes would lead the general population to believe Black Fathers neglect our families and diminish our value. During this panel discussion, we dispel those Black Father myths and stereotypes.
Each of us on the panel took the time to share our heart, and the true character and identity of the Black Father.
I’m sure there’s a lot more that I can write about who we are. However, I’ll let our voices speak to the importance of The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
Before you listen, take a moment to read and reflect on my haiku called “Black Fatherhood” that I wrote for you.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself this question “what’s, really, going on?” More often than not, I find myself affording perception the opportunity to become reality. When in all actuality, reality is perception until the lens changes.
I like words. They possess the capacity to provide richness and depth to a conversation. However, chaos and division might ensue when word choice and usage lead to misunderstandings. My goal is create a clear picture. In order to have the same lens, we’ll use Merriam-Webster as a point of reference for perception and reality
Perception often breathes life into our reality based on our attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. These are our points of reference for approaching our lives. In this instance, I included Dictionary.com in the second set of words.
Variance exists between how these organizations define these words; even though, they are the same. I have no idea why. Nor, will I take the time to find out. The lenses lead to their selection.
Back to attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Although these three are truth for us in many instances, it doesn’t mean that they are truth for others. Case in point. Stop signs are red; unless, an individual with color blindness is the one looking at it. The stop sign is no longer red from that person’s perception; even though, the reality is stop signs are red. But, only to sighted individuals.
Let’s take a closer look. Shall we?
If my reality is based on my perception and your reality is based on your perception, that sounds like a recipe for disaster in a world where we believe that our reality is the absolute truth. I’m sure you’ll have seen this play out time and time again in this virtual world. Take for instance, social media algorithms place a tint over our lenses. Now a commonly viewed situation is causing chaos in an individual’s reality without disturbing the harmony of another. The next thing you know, Facebook drama and Twitter wars abound. Instead of viewing the world through someone else’s lens, there’s a tendency to dig in our heels to not yield space or fortify our walls to avoid a collapse.
In doing so, seeking first to understand then to be understood (as suggested in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is left null and void. Imagine a society of people, who seek to understand and who challenge their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.
Can you see it as clearly as I see it through my lens?
I hope so.
It’s a peaceful place that’s bright enough for all of us to rock our lenses.
This morning, I participated in Bible study with a group of men from a local church. I wasn’t sure of the topic for the day. But, I was eager for the fellowship. When I found out that the focus for the time would be on purpose, I was pleased. Attending the meeting, I feel was a confirmation of sorts for me. Let me explain my reasoning.
This week, I took on a coaching client to help him walk through my 13-week course to discover his purpose. At the end of this course, he will have a written manifesto for his life purpose. The focus (in short) is to help him become the change agent, that he desires to be in his life. We’ll dig into things like childhood, belief systems, talents, personality, and skills. He’ll have to comb through various aspects of his identity to discover, uncover, and re-discovery…HIMSELF! His introspection will become medicine for healing whatever has disconnected him from his purpose.
It will be a huge undertaking, and it won’t be an easy journey. However, the journey will be worth it when he’s completed it. We owe it to ourselves to ask the hard questions. We owe it to our relationships to be honest and open with our answers. We owe it to ourselves to connect with the Most High, who placed the purpose inside of us. We were created with purpose and for a purpose. All of the deep digging will be useless without connecting to the source of our existence.
If you find yourself drifting through life, ask for wisdom from on high. Your prayers will point you to the answers for working through the recesses of your heart. We are naive to think, that we can figure it out on our own.
When you think about faith and it’s impact on your life? What is the first thing that comes to your mind? What rises up in your flesh; as well as, your spirit? What do you take hold of as apart of your own beliefs? What do you cast off by the way side?
When one begins to think about faith, how did they come to a particular faith or lack of faith? Are you, merely, operating out of what you were taught by your parents? Perhaps, your faith is due to being born in a certain region of the world. No matter how you came to a particular belief system, you must learn something about you as a person. If you’re not learning and growing; you’re, fooling yourself!
“’Christians’ need to be asked some serious questions. I’m tired of how shallow most people’s faith is…”–Joshua Banks
The statement above came from a good friend of mine after an interesting conversation about knowing oneself. Particularly, how faith is a key component of knowing oneself. For me, it is the rudder steering the ship of my life. When I’m most aligned with my belief system, my ship is full steam ahead. At times, I find myself out of alignment for numerous reasons. Consequently, I experience difficulties with navigating the ship. The waters become murky. The waves are larger than life itself. Next thing you know, I’m way off course. Once I come to my senses, my faith is quickly restored. Now, I’m moving in the right direction.
All too often, we don’t study, practice, and teach our beliefs. When we neglect any or all of these, we can find ourselves in a position of not knowing who we are. We start acting and behaving in ways, which are not consistent with our character. Most importantly, not consistent with our professed system of faith. Or, we find ourselves going through the motions. Merely, faking it! What happens when we stop faking it?
When we begin to draw near to God, He draws near to us. If you’re not familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, you can find it here. The story tells us about a young man, who left home with an inheritance. He went off to a far off place, where He was doing any and everything under the sun. At some point after wasting his inheritance, the son comes to himself and returns to his home. He had become unrecognizable. As he is approaching, his father recognizes him. Then, runs to receive him with open arms. Ultimately, the father throws a welcome home party for the son.
His identity was quickly restored through his actions. Despite his waywardness, he was the exact same person that his father always knew. His father knew, solely, based on their relationship. Despite the distance and the son’s behavior, their relationship hadn’t changed one bit for the father. The father knew himself. It was the son, who lost sight of himself.
At the same time, while this father and son is rekindling their relationship, the other son is having a case of amnesia brought on by his own identity crisis. He, too, didn’t know who he was to his father. And, he hadn’t left the house. He had been there the whole time, and didn’t recognize his own worth and value. He didn’t realize the love, that was ever present for him.
As a father, I can say that I love my two children equally. There’s no favoritism of one over the other. However, our relationships are very different. I see them as individuals. Therefore, I love them differently. But, I don’t love one more than the other. No matter what they do. I love them!
Back to the question at hand. What does my faith system tell me about myself? My faith tells me, that I’m loved by the most high. It tells me, that the Creator is delighted in me. That he knew me inside of my mother’s womb. With this knowledge, I understand that there’s nothing that I can do to add to it or take away from that love. And, as the song states “I’m fully known and loved!”