The Burden Of A Black Father – Thoughts From A Black Son3 min read

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The other day I was on the balcony of a friend’s condo having a very deep talk while in a state that is not usually my own. We got onto the subject of parents, especially fathers. The consensus between the three of us was that our mothers were a godsend and our fathers were cold. But how all of us? Our fathers were very successful, so there must have been some wisdom communicated at least. It hit me at the moment that it was time to share a story with them.

My father is a fair man, but he loves my sister a tad bit more because she has followed the path that he has wanted for all his kids of being a scholar. She takes college classes, is a contender for valedictorian, and aspires to be a doctor.

She recently got into a car crash where she totaled her brand new Corolla S. The car was a loss, she was perfectly fine. A short time after receiving the check from the insurance, he purchased a brand new Lexus under that guise that it was for him and that my sister would drive my old car. On a trip home the following weekend I realized that my sister was the only one driving the Lexus and that my father was still driving his old car. I understood immediately. He said it was for him because he knew it was unfair to buy her a car after me purchasing three for myself. Usually I would charge it to him loving her more, but I saw through it for the first time.

He was scared.

My father almost lost his little girl and was going to do whatever it took to keep her safe, even if it was dropping forty racks on a car for a 17-year-old girl.

Pops told me it was for him because he didn’t want me to feel unloved her cheated. Subsequent thoughts were on all the other times it seemed as though he bought things for himself and gifted them to us. Other times he told me no when I asked for things, but I somehow found the means to buy them for myself soon after. In those moments I’d uncovered a clear modus operandi in a man I’ve know for over 20 years. I felt ashamed, but I shared my story with the two young ladies that I was sitting with and it resonated.

Tears fell and I know that they thought back and forgave their fathers for a few of the things they didn’t quite understand as they happened. It is easy to suppress painful experiences and never search for understanding in them. It is easy to blame my father for my shortcomings and give my mother all the praise for my accomplishments.

But my father’s generation grew up in a time where being a man meant disciplinarian, rigidness, and not showing emotion. I’ve never wanted for anything and did tons of extracurriculars as a kid. I’m selfish; many kids out there would kill to grow up with both parents around. I’m glad I know now and I hope it’s not too late to be grateful to the man who’s always had my best interest at hear. I will continue to revisit certain moments between him and I have no doubt that it will strengthen our relationship.

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