You succeeded in cloning yourself. Whether or not you think you did it intentionally (no one ever actually “accidentally” makes a baby), you have just embarked on a career that comes with vacation, no sick days, retirement and guaranteed employment. In other words, you can never quit. In the Arabic culture, when you have a child, your name becomes defined by the names of your children. For example, my name is “Mustafa Abu Abdul Khaliq Gatdula”, or Mustafa, father of Abdul Khaliq–my oldest son. Learn to define yourself as a Dad. If you full accept this job (like I said, you are guaranteed employment and can never truly be fired, nor can you quit), doing so will enhance your life and make you a more complete, much happier man.
I have outlined some of the details of this position, your responsibilities, and the benefits. If anyone would like to add to it, please comment.
- Whether or not you think this baby looks like you, or whether other people think the baby looks like you, be proud. This child is an exponent of you–Daddy squared, Daddy cubed, Daddy to the fourth power–and whatever qualities you possess (both positive as well as negative), they are magnified. Your best features are apparent in a child, and your worst features only come out when this child has pissed off the mother. Your job is to keep the relationship as peaceful as you can so that your child becomes only a positive expression of who you are.
- If someone fails to call the baby cute, but instead mumbles, “damn, he look just like his Daddy…” don’t get mad. Just do the baby’s hair, put lotion on his crusty skin, keep her clothes clean and make sure s/he smiles a lot. Every child has the potential to be cute. LOL
- When I was a teenager, my uncle and I were driving down the street when he saw my cousin’s baby daddy standing out on the corner (she was pregnant then), so he rolled up on him. “Nigga what are you doing? You have a baby on the way and you’re wasting time when you should be out there hustling up some money!” He then gave him “the lecture”. When my brother had gotten his girlfriend pregnant, my father made him get a job and confiscated all but a small percentage of every check, and saved it for him. So my question to you is, Nigga what are you doing? You have a baby on the way and you’re wasting time when you should be out there hustling up some money! Right now will be the last opportunity you have to work two, three jobs and save every dime. After this you will have to put aside a good amount of time to bond with your child but look at it like this–you have 9 months to work two jobs, live off of one (or a percentage of one) check, bank the entire second check. When that baby gets here you could have a FAT amount of money in the bank. NEVER bring a child into a poor world. Never be the kind of Daddy who tells the baby or the Momma that “sorry, I ain’t got it”. Work your behind off for this time, I guarantee you will be glad you did.
- Get used to wearing clothes from the thrift store and Walmart. I been doing it for years, and it’s actually not that bad. Trust, when your kids are walking around fly, my brother you look good no matter what you’re wearing.
- Speaking of looking good, represent your children well every time you leave the house. Just as they are an expression of you, you are a reflection of them. You are the Sun, they are the shadow. The brighter you shine, the stronger their image. A kid looks at his Daddy as the one who can do anything–damn near walking on water. When he looks to his Daddy like you was Superman, he feels like Superboy. Give him that. It’s one of the most potent superpowers you can give a child. Make him the kind of kid who brags “my Daddy can beat your Daddy”. Cause Lord knows, my father was the strongest man in the world when I was a kid. Kids today don’t have those kind of arguments anymore, and it shows by how little ambition they have for themselves.
- Be well-read. Your kids will come to you with questions about all kinds of stuff. Don’t be the one to blow your kid off because you don’t know the answer to the question they’re asking. Each time your child asks a question, it’s an opportunity for that baby to get a little smarter. So, are you going to help? Or keep your baby in ignorance? Educate yourself.
- Get subscriptions to three magazines: Time, National Geographic, and Highlight’s. Time magazine will keep you in the know for current events. Little do you realize how things going on around the world affect the live you and your children live here. National Geographic is for you and the kids, so that they know there is a huge world out there. And although they can’t travel everywhere–each month your kids get to take mental journeys to the furthest corners of the world. Plus when your boys are “discovering themselves”, they’ll have plenty fodder. I surely hope you don’t keep Playboys within their reach. (I keep those on top of my closet. Cause of the articles. For real!) Finally, Highlights is one of my favorite children magazines. There is nothing like packages coming in the mail for your children, with their names on them… and no one can open them but them. Plus Highlights has good reading for children, and it keeps them reading.
- Show your sons how they should act when they become men, and show your daughters what to look for in a man… by being THAT man. Women will often compare their potential mates to the man in their life (you), and when you don’t set that standard, they go to the guys they see in the media. And for real, do you want Pookie and them teaching your daughter what to look for in a man?
- You need some sort of religious spiritual base. Please don’t be one of those fools talking about “I don’t believe in organized religion.” That’s like saying, “I don’t believe in government” or “I ain’t working for the White man” or “I don’t believe in the institution of marriage…. after all, it’s just a piece of paper!” Everyone needs rules, and people who talk like that don’t want to answer to authority or to even have rules. Discipline yourself, and then keep a disciplined household for your children.
- By the way, you need to have a place of your own. This is priority. Get your own apartment, your own house, and NO roommates. Your children need a secluded world that no one else can invade; where they are the prince and princess of this kingdom. Not a room at your momma’s house. Not a home where they can’t touch the milk because it belongs to your roommate. Give them their own world, Remember, before a child has a concept of who God is, you’re it for them.
- Start a savings account for each one of them. Don’t let your children get to 18 and you can’t afford to send them to school with a few dollars in their pockets. Start it now, and that account must be SACRED. Don’t touch that money for nothing, and no one. It ain’t your money, it’s theirs. Hey, even if you only saved $50 a month for 18 years, on the 18th birthday you will have $11,000 per child. And everybody–even broke people with no job–will blow off $50 a month on some garbage. Just limit your garbage…
- If you and their mother are no longer together, then do your best to keep the drama away from the kids. Drama causes children to worry and it makes their world unstable. Keep it as peaceful as possible–at least in their view–and never introduce your kids to the arguments you have. Let your home be a sanctuary away from anything that may cause them bad feelings.
- Never tell young children dirt about their mother. Not even to counter the dirt she tells them.
- Always have compliments about their mother to the kids. Your mother is a beautiful woman, your mother is smart, your mother is a great woman. blah blah blah. Children’s self confidence come from seeing who they come from. When they are made to feel proud of their mother, they become proud of themselves. When they are made to look down at their mother (you’re momma need to lose weight/I can’t stand your mother), it makes them ashamed of their mother… and in essence, they become ashamed of themselves. Have nothing but praise for them, even if you don’t mean it.
- Likewise, be the kind of Dad your children are proud of. When you tell them you’re coming to the award ceremony, break your neck to be there. Never let your children down. Treat it as if Beyonce was inviting you over to a butt-naked-pajama party for just the two of you. Nga, you will drive 10 hours through a snowstorm for that party (you know you would!) and wouldn’t nothing–flat tire, overtime at the job, traffic–keep you from making it. Am I right? Well then your kids are certainly more important than a boodie call… even if that bootie was as plump and luscious and succulent as Beyonces…. Make grand entrances to your kids school each time you arrive. There is nothing like the rush that “oo, my Daddy is coming today!” To a kid, that’s like the President had just arrived to their school to visit them.
- Always know what your kids want, and try your best to eventually get it. I’m not saying to spoil them. But at least to know what your children like and then try to fulfill that desire. There is a feeling of accomplishment when you come home with that puppy, or that new video game, or that jungle gym. There are too many kids who are always wanting for something. Make sure your children are not one of them.
- Don’t be too macho that you can’t hug your teenaged sons and tell them that you love them. The girls get it all the time, but for some reason we tend to think there’s something wrong with kissing and showing affection to your sons. I’m 41 and I still hug my Dad. No homo, for reals. LOL
- Don’t be so protective that you won’t allow your daughters to meet a boy (once she’s grown, that is). My uncle (same one from earlier) once asked my cousin if she liked a guy that was flirting with her at the gas station. She said yes, so he called him over. Asked what kind of work he did, did he think my cousin was cute, who his parents were, etc. He then told the guy to “give me a call, and maybe once you check out, I’ll introduce you to my daughter.” Uncle Monk got game. And he put this dude in a position where he could never dog my cousin out if he tried. “I got my eye on you, young man.” Involve yourself in that process, and your daughters will never hide anything from you. There would be no reason!
- Train your sons on how to to talk to women. My Dad did that for us, and showed us what pimping was all about. (lol) Tell women that they are beautiful, talk about your woman and she’ll listen to you all day long, don’t be too aggressive in trying to get her phone number, or how about this gem: tell a girl that she is finest girl in the neighborhood, but then never ask her out on a date. Sooner or later, she will ask YOU. Damn, James Westray is the man! This even works today! I would tell you more, but you gotta buy the book.
- Set the standards for behavior in your household. I want dishes washed every night before bed. You will pray as soon as you get up. Dirty clothes will only found in one place–the hamper. Wash hands before opening the fridge. Teach your kids how to live, and they will carry this forever. You don’t want your children accepting a slum lifestyle. When their home is in order, their lives will be in order.
- Pull your pants up, and make your son pull HIS pants up.
Alright y’all, I’m at a writer’s retreat, so I have to get to work on my book. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!