By Serrano, The Dad Squad
I never thought the influence would be so real.
I mean, my pop was around, I saw him almost daily. I don’t recall this level of mirroring that I witness with my two sons. Like, maybe I have to check with my mom; but, I cannot recall too many times when I looked at my father and said, “Yup, I wanna be just like my daddy!”
Now there hav been instances where I think my father wanted me to be like him. Peep Exhibit 1A.
Now, I had no say in this foolishness [pictured above] but I was cute though . . . that’s all that matters!
But, [in all seriousness], there was one point in about 3rd grade where my father told me if I get straight A’s I could get my hair like his. Per Exhibit 1A, my pops had the illest Jheri curl. But you see me, being me, I ain’t want nothing to do with that. I guess it was a nice gesture though.
I never thought about my sons taking after me or wanting to be like me. The only thing that was certain for me is that I want them to go to Howard University like me; but, everything else is up for grabs. Everyone always says that kids are like sponges. Whatever you spill out, they soak up. I guess my experiences with my own father and my career as an educator put me in two different modes. One where I agree wholeheartedly and another where I was not a sponge, but more of a towel with bleach.
I was trying to disinfect this [ish].
And to a certain extent I did. I did rid myself of wanting to be anything like my father, outside of being funny and charming. But I also know that what you put in to kids they give back ten fold.
. . .
I didn’t even notice it; my wife caught it before I did. My oldest would see me just combing through or brushing my beard and then attempt to do it to himself. It was by far the cutest [thing] I’ve ever seen. I don’t recall moments like that with my father; I thank God daily that I get to witness it every day with my own sons. My youngest now has a head full of hair and when he finds my brush he tries to brush his hair too. Now I have two lil’ copy cats running around. Rocking their hats like me, doing push ups when I do them, posting up like me – see Exhibit 1B.
The copy/paste is real. These dudes are going to do everything that the see me do. They already know a good bourbon when they see it!
I really hope they pick up how much I love their mother. How our interactions are positive. I hope my boys pick up on how I make it a point to hug and kiss them at every opportunity. I want the biggest thing that they can take away from me to be love, honesty and selflessness. If I can get that (and a love for good bourbon, cigars and a great culinary skill set) then I will know that I have been not only an influence on my sons but I was The Influence that made them into the Dons they are supposed to be.
It’s crazy how I can see what the impact of having a father around can have on a child’s development and well being. I now realize the reason folks were upset about removing Black fathers from the home back in the day. It’s because being a father is a power move. Being a father is literally instilling the best attributes of you and leaving them in your kids. Fathers make kids better, period. I didn’t want to stunt like my daddy; I wanted to be better and I know that part makes him very, very proud. So men, eat well, communicate well, cook, clean, be active, because our kids are eventually going to stunt just like us!
So be great, be loving and be inspirational!