If I Could Be Half The Man You Are!

a tribute to my granddad…

One of my biggest regrets I have in life is not standing up and making a speech at the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandmother and grandfather. You might say that’s not such a big deal, well it is for me. I mean c’mon, 50 Years! The Golden Anniversary, it’s actually quite a big deal in and of itself but the fact this is the matriarch and patriarch of our tribe celebrating a half-century of togetherness is absolutely mega. It’s what I aspire to achieve and my grandfather is the man I most model myself after, at least from a family man and an “I can do anything I put my hands to” standpoint. My first real-life superhero, he who could do no wrong.

A few weeks after having written this title and deciding that I wanted to write about my grandfather I was sitting down having a conversation with one of my female cousins who made me question my admiration for him. Maybe I’m reaching when I say “question” my admiration but she did paint a different picture of my grandfather than the one I hold in my mind or at least made me look at him from a different angle than the one currently held. Maybe it’s the great male vs. female,  Mars vs. Venus conundrum, who knows the picture that she saw when she thought of our grandfather. That’s basically what we live with when it comes to people who we do not see and interact with on a constant basis. People who were there throughout your childhood, they leave imprints on your mind, images that you hold of them. It made me realize that I may see him in a totally different light than she does and the negatives that she mentioned were not noticeable to me as I admired his positives or at least what I deemed to be positives. It made me think though, these same negatives may be present in me and I am blind to them in myself in the same way that I was blind to them with my grandfather, what’s the picture that I am painting my son, what’s the indelible image that I’ll be leaving him with, will he aspire to be just like me.

The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re still alive.

  • Orlando A. Battista

You may wonder why I’ve even bothered to write about my grandfather, I mean what exactly does he add to this whole “awonderfulme” dynamic? Well, like I said he is the man that I’ve always looked up to, he is the man that I’ve always seen as a positive role model, but most importantly I want to let him know just how much he means to me while he is still alive. Yes, that old cliche “Cherish your loved ones while they are still alive” …it becomes kind of redundant after hearing it over and over but I think as you yourself get older and that generation two or three levels above your generation slowly and surely start dying off, it begins to resonate more with you.

Cherish your loved ones while they are still here – because that day will inevitably come when they’re not here. Immaturity, pride, and ego are often what separates us from really showing the people we love just how much we truly love them. Pride and ego are fleeting and come and go just like the wind, the presence of a person though, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Cherish your loved ones while they are still here… 

While writing this piece, sadly my grandfather passed away. He had taken ill and progressively his body was ravaged by his sickness. Thankfully I was able to travel to England to see him one last time and I also got the opportunity to bring my son and let him meet his great-grandfather. I told you earlier that I had regretted speaking at the wedding anniversary of my grandparents, well I was able to have a conversation with my grandfather on his deathbed. A conversation, the likes of which we had never previously shared and for the first time in my existence I actually told him that I loved him. I’m sure he always knew that I loved and respected him but I had never said the words. I sit and think about that talk and wonder how it is that we never had these types of conversations up until that moment. I’m sure it’s because I had left England at a time when I wasn’t as mature as I am now and did not really see life as I see it now. I did not fully comprehend the wealth of life knowledge that exists in the mind of our elders, the world as they saw it and how they see it now. The sacrifices that they made for us to be able to see a life maybe better than the ones they had lived. They would always say it, sometimes in passing and sometimes when explaining why you needed to turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You know,  the typical things you might hear a parent or grandparent telling their kids.

All that being said, take time out to let your loved ones know that you love them, guaranteed is the day that one of you will no longer be here to say it.

This was one of daddy’s favorite tunes….

Cleaning Up After The Elephant…

A couple of my coworkers recently turned vegan after having watched the Netflix documentary “What the Health”, which documents the role that meat and dairy products play in our diet and subsequently our general health.

It would be easy and routine to see the word diet and instantly think about food, Well!… I am not talking about a diet that pertains to just food, I am talking about a diet that pertains to what we also consume visually and spiritually.

The words diet comes from the Greek word diaita which means “a way of life”, consumption comes from the verb consume which derives from its Latin  origins con “altogether” and sumere “take up” – I point out these references because we spend our whole lives being consumers of a multitude of different “diets” or to put it another way we spend our whole lives “altogether taking up a way of life”

As a 70’s baby, I grew up watching Dukes of Hazard. Not the 2005 reboot, no! I’m talking about the original Dukes of Hazzard, man I used to love Daisy Duke. “Just the good ol‘ boys, Never meanin’ no harm” the theme song, Boss Hogg, Roscoe. The way that Bo and Luke would slide across the hood, jump into their car through the window and race away. The General Lee! emblazoned with a huge Confederate flag on the rooftop, how naive I was? Or was I? I guess what you don’t know can’t hurt you…

Nowadays I try not to watch as much TV as I used to, I’m not judging those that do watch a lot of television, I just choose not to. Although, in saying that I was watching the recent public unrest in Charlottesville and I couldn’t help but get angry and agitated, a procession of racists and neo-nazis spewing hate and delivering a message of white nationalism under a banner of “Unite the Right” vehemently opposed by counter-protestors determined to put a halt to the proceedings. Now coming from where I’m from it’s damn near impossible for me to feel a way about white people, especially considering the fact that a lot of my friends are white. I’m not gonna lie though, having watched these events I felt a certain way about a white male that stood next to me on the train the Monday morning after that weekend’s unrest. I  normally wouldn’t, but this imagery left a sense of disdain for white males and led me to believe that this man standing next to me was essentially one of these far-right bigots that were plastered all over my TV screen this past weekend. He looked just like them, was dressed just like one of them for all I know he could have really been there. I tell you this story just as an example of something that I consumed and how it had a negative effect on me. This coming from a man who has experienced and seen quite a bit in his lifetime and considers himself far less likely to have his opinion swayed by external sources.

That’s the thing with a lot of current television and media coverage. There is a tremendous amount of negative content with a little bit of feel-good sprinkled in every now and again but for the most part, it’s negative content that is continually promoted and thrown in our faces.  Go to the local gas station, 7-eleven or bodega and pick up a newspaper, I can almost guarantee you it will be a negative headline. Shock and awe, mouth aghast, is this what editors of newspapers demand of their headline writers? I’m pretty sure that’s how the story goes. Journalistic sensationalism is a word I’ve heard on several occasions in regards to our current news smorgasbord. Then there’s television’s most recent phenomenon – Reality TV, where do I start? Especially that which is targeting a more youthful, urban market. If you peel back the layers to the majority of it you will find nothing, no substance, no art, no form of motivation, nothing that will enhance your life. Not that you won’t be entertained and not that every waking moment should be spent trying to enhance your life but try living on a steady diet of that and see how it slowly infiltrates who you are and then becomes “who you are”.  Don’t get me wrong as someone who watches the occasional reality show, It’s entertaining, I am entertained. But I find that it is somewhat of a guilty pleasure as I can often feel like it’s an hour of my life that I want back after having watched.

In fact, let’s talk about our current President – Donald J. Trump – a businessman who became a reality TV star who became the ULTIMATE reality TV star. I don’t want to get into politics, trust me. But, even his staunchest supporters would have to admit that his presidency is like a serial drama with a storyline that would seem far-fetched if conceived by Shonda Rhimes. Imagine what this is doing to the collective psyche of the American public. The Whitehouse drama that sees someone in his administration either fired or quitting every other day. The racial overtones that see a seemingly politically sanitized racist America emboldened and without mercy inflict their will on the minorities. This could be a whole piece about “45” in and of itself but I’ll cut this short for now and return to regular programming.

This digital world we live in is like a media free for all, a scrimmage controlled by those who get out their content the fastest and whose flock is the largest. Even more so now with the rise of the smartphone, everyone and their mother is a freelance videographer and media is shared at a rapid pace often times without being vetted or censored. Worldstarhiphop.com, many of you may not be familiar with this website but I’m sure at some point you seen at least one viral video with someone shouting “Worldstar” in the background, I can almost guarantee that video was not of the heartwarming variety.

There’s a continual inner dialogue that we as humans have with ourselves. Self-conscious to confident to arrogant. A pendulum that swings from invincible to vulnerable in the blink of an eye. We are a perpetual rollercoaster of emotions and feelings all generated by thoughts, thoughts which are often determined by what we consume. In fact, while doing some research on this piece I’ve come across the term “cognitive distortion”. Cognitive distortionsare simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves. Now imagine how bad you’ll end up feeling about yourself if you consume a steady diet of nonsense or not even how bad you’ll feel about yourself but how your thoughts will be controlled by that content. Television, music, social media, aural and visual consumption is essentially what shapes our minds.

Environmentalists talk about “cleaning up after the elephant”: the endless task cleaning up industrial contamination, and how a far more effective strategy is to avoid fouling up the environment in the first place.

– B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. – “The Attention Revolution”


“avoid fouling up the environment in the first place”


I would love to be able to say that as a parent, specifically in my role as the father,  that I am without fault in the way that I raise my son. I’m not! I know it, his mother knows it, I’m pretty sure that at this point even my son(who’s currently 4 years old)  knows it. I’m fine with that. There is no parenting handbook, no manual or instructions or rulebook to abide by. This is nothing that prepares you for parenthood. My little guy is a unique individual, unique as in there will only ever be one Cameron Elijah Madiba Walters. We observe and we adjust, we make mistakes and we adjust. As long as I ensure that the primary focus on adjustment is within myself, my demeanor and how I, we as parents, handle his environment.  How we ensure that he is not negatively affected by the world that we display for him to consume. The goal is to clean up after my elephants so as to leave his environment and his domain uncontaminated. 

Life’s Seasons

I find myself somewhat disappointed with Mark Walters, the man. If I’m being totally honest, writing in the 3rd person for the sake of unwavering accountability.

  • Disappointed with the fact that  I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain when it comes to maintaining a writing schedule.
  • Disappointed with the fact that I haven’t reached some of the goals that I have set myself in life.
  • Disappointed with the fact that I have not kept my end of the bargain in more than a few things in my personal life.

The goal was to keep content flowing no matter what, to have completed such a limited amount of work after almost a year online is disheartening.  Alas, it is what it is and still, I continue. I realize though that I am a continual work in progress and that in itself is encouraging. I do have my excuses, quite a few if I’m honest, but none of them really hold any true weight if I want to be who I aspire to be. So, I’ll take a pass on my excuses and just explain them as excuses that we all have. Although, in the plain light of day you could say it really just boils down to laziness.

The Winter Funk

Photo by Morgan Jones on Unsplash

I always seem to go into this funk during the winter months. I think it’s because of the limited time outside and the little time spent outside is normally accompanied by a dark sky, and some kind of wet weather condition be it rain or snow. Yes, some people like the winter but not me. Like most people, it’s more a time of bunkering down and relaxing.  There’s little to no enthusiasm for the creative side of things, at least for me that is. I guess in a way, your surroundings lose a pulse and a vibrancy and you’re stuck with a “meh” vibe. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain in words but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was not the only one that feels this way. Cabin fever – irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter – that about sums it up. All in all leading to more excuses.

The Hamster Wheel

Ah, the old 9 to 5 or in my case the 7 to 4. What with getting up before the crack of dawn and then coming home to an energetic 4-year old with a 3-hour commute and hyper-stressed clients sandwiched in between. It’s no wonder that I often find myself falling asleep in front of the TV most Friday nights. During the week I may alternate between falling asleep and going to bed at a respectable time, Friday is our designated movie night so there’s a desire to stay up late but as previously stated there’s often failure. The workweek grind will leave you with no time for anything else.

Get up, shower, work, eat, sleep…Get up, shower, work, eat, sleep!

Although once again this is an excuse, there’s a saying, if you want something bad enough you will find a way. Sadly, and I use this term begrudgingly because it debunks my too tired myth, this is true. It’s all about habits – breaking the old(BAD) and forming the new(GOOD). I think Gary Vaynerchuk best explains it when speaking, he often asks what are you willing to do to realize your dreams, are you willing to outwork all others? Are you willing to, despite all these excuses, find time to do what it is you set out to do?


Social media, social media, a bit of TV, social media and sports. The distraction factor! I guess I could have lumped this in with Winter Funk as these tools and mediums of entertainment go into overdrive during the winter months but they remain a constant thorn in the side of incremental progress all year round. For instance, the sports team I so dearly love – Liverpool F.C – are currently involved in the Champions League Final, those of you not familiar with European soccer, let’s just say that this is like the Superbowl of soccer. Distraction? Hell Yes! as I find a lot of my time currently consumed with following up on the latest news from my team in and around the lead up to this monumental game. I am at heart a big Sports fan. Even on a general level of social media I’ll find myself easily consumed. For example, Twitter – the number of times I’ve logged in with the intent of looking at something specific and got drawn into something entirely different due to a trending topic or an appealing headline.

Me, Myself and I

It’s funny, one of my biggest hangups is not maintaining a high standard or should I say not being able to create works as good as works that have previously been well received. At least, that’s whats in my head. To put it bluntly,  past success leading to present doubt. I say success in the loosest terms as it’s really just my ego being stroked when someone praises your creative side. Mind you,  there is some truth to it though. I have written a couple of pieces that I am extremely proud of and I want to be able to continue to touch people’s emotions. To have value where my words are relevant and resonate with people. Am I an individual? Yes! But,  I am also a peer, I am a part of a whole, the fatherhood fraternity, the parenting community. I want to be able to speak to and for,  those who may not know the words or simply don’t know how to. At the same time, this is also my therapy. The keyboard my voice, the blank slate the psychiatrist’s chair, the echo my thoughts. So once again I make a promise to myself to maintain the schedule which I initially set out to keep, slowly but surely I will break through these mental barriers and gain that oh so precious momentum that will see me adhere to a new found me. A book I am currently reading entitled “GRIT” by Angela Duckworth is helping me recalibrate along with the warm weather and sunshine as we come out of the winter doldrums.

Do What You Believe You Can’t Do!….

The old cliche – “anything is possible” – we say it but do we really believe it?  … Well, actually achieving something is the best form of validation and motivation.

The title says “Do What You Believe You Can’t Do”. On the surface that sounds counterintuitive but when you read it to yourself a few times and really listen to that voice in your head, think about it.

Anything is possible? Yes, but we often leave that for someone else to prove, what makes them so special? Yes they achieved the unachievable but how often have you heard yourself saying “I could have done that” – “Anyone could have done that” – “I wish I’d thought of that “ well why didn’t you?… Oftentimes, it as simple as having talked yourself out of it, not leaping when you should have, hesitating when you should have just gone for it. What’s the worst that could happen, you fail? Show me one highly successful person that has not failed and I’ll show you a liar, in fact most high achievers embrace failure with open arms as failure is a part of the learning process, failure is akin to a bodybuilder pumping iron. It’s not really failure, it’s a piece of the lesson in what is takes to achieve your dreams.

The funny thing with “doing things” is , the more you do, the more you do!…

The doing is always possible, the result is what separates the failure  from the success. You never know, you just might surprise yourself.

Social Media, not so social…. Part 1

I realized something today, well I realized it quite some time ago but today it hit home in a way that I never would have thought. I called my grandfather to wish him a Happy 87th Birthday and we had a nice long conversation. Later this evening I went over to my mother’ s house and asked her if she had spoken to daddy(we all call him daddy) for his birthday. “No! Daddy’s birthday was on the 1st, today is Denise’s(my aunt) birthday”, replies my bewildered mother. My mum’s birthday happens to be on the 7th. It just so happens that my grandfather and my mother do not have Facebook accounts, how inconvenient. My aunt Denise does have a Facebook account but she doesn’t publish her birthday, once again how inconvenient.

I love social media but the same thing I love about it is exactly the same thing I hate about it. You can scroll through your feed and feel like you are in communication with people even though technically you aren’t. I’ve had many a phone call where the conversation starts with “long time no speak” and we proceed to tell each other about all the things that are happening in our lives only to be met with a sense of deja vu. Of course! You know this already, you’ve already seen it all on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat feeds.

It’s like there’s this disconnected sense of connection that is prevalent in our society.  This is coming from a 43 year old male, who knows different, has experienced different. Who remembers a time when people couldn’t take selfies or posts pictures of every meal or live streams. I don’t feel old but to a 2017 teenager I’m almost ancient. Seriously, a conversation I was having a couple of months ago involved discussing the fact that a teenager did not possess the wherewithal to have made a phone call to get information that he needed. We laughed about it at the the time but in all seriousness actually talking on the phone is a lost art. Texting, textese or texting language is the order of the day. This teenager so used to texting, didn’t figure out that he could just call a phone number and actually speak to someone.

Listen, I’m not complaining. Social technology is a great thing and I can personally attest to it’s usefulness, especially being an immigrant living in New York. I can maintain relationships with family and friends overseas. We can organize groups without the need for close proximity. I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives at the moment. I guess my real question at the moment is, where are we headed?

What Would You Do?

TGIF! Thank God It’s Friday, time to get off work and enjoy some cocktails during a much needed happy hour. Yeah right! Not with a 3 year-old it at home it isn’t. Long gone are those days of leaving work and hightailing it to a bar on a whim,  to unwind and enjoy some libations. My preferred destination nowadays is homeward bound and to be perfectly honest with you, I am just fine with that.

So lets’s start this again then. TGIF! Thank God It’s Friday, the little guy has enjoyed his movie(Friday is his movie night) and is now fast asleep and we’re sat here watching the TV show “What Would You Do?” For those of you not familiar with the show, here is the wikipedia description –

“The program features actors acting out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras record the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. Show host John Quiñones appears at the end of each scenario to interview bystanders and witnesses about their reactions.

As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with Quiñones, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders’ reactions.”

This particular episode featured a segment where a mother and son are in a toy store and the boy wanted to get a doll.

I actually wanted to write “and the boy wanted to get a girl’s doll” but feel somewhat conflicted actually typing out the words girl’s doll. That, in a nutshell is at the heart of the issue I raise here.

I myself have been in this very predicament multiple times already and I’m quite sure that I will be in this same predicament going forward. To be honest I haven’t always dealt with it in the way that I would hope to have been able to deal with it. We once went into a Walgreens and my little guy wanted a Minnie Mouse car. I promptly told him no and said we would be getting the Mickey Mouse car and made sure we left with the Mickey Mouse version. It’s happened again with the same suspects, Minnie and Mickey and once again I made sure that he left with the male. Perhaps it’s speaks more to my insecurities than to his choice of toy. Male, heterosexual, retired man about town; my son is not playing with a girls toy. I’m not quite sure, I do realize though that it’s instinctual, almost reflex, son wants “girl” toy, bait and switch with the male version.

Considering my age, background and being raised in the era when I was it would be natural for me to associate dolls, specifically Barbie type dolls with being a girl’s toy. My(Our) biggest argument has always been whether there were enough “Afrocentric” dolls for our daughters to play with, never mind having to worry about your son wanting one. Hell, Action Man was white too come to think of it, but I wasn’t much of an action figure type of kid growing up. Obviously the world has changed quite a bit since my childhood days but have we changed for the better, have we changed for the worse, have we just changed for the sake of change. Or is it that this has always been our world, it’s just that we get to see the whole now as opposed to our previous limited view, due to this digital age.

When it comes to our children and how we raise them,  specifically concerning the boy/girl axis and the values we should instill it can often times be a bit much. There’s that gray area between personal opinion and being politically correct, that gray area between being gender bias and non-gender bias, that gray area between the values that I was raised with and the world that we are/I am raising my son in. It’s a joint effort but going forward let’s stick with the dad’s perspective as I’m the one currently typing on this keyboard.  Anyway going back to the points I raised earlier, it is not my job to be politically correct when it comes to how I raise my son but at the same time there’s an obligation to raise him in order to assimilate with modern society. Not that I want or need him to “fit-in” per se but I also don’t want him to be ostracized because of a belief system that I may have subjected him to and essentially trained him to follow. Think about it, you’re almost treated like a pariah nowadays for wanting to raise your kids with old-fashioned values and to be honest they are just that, “old-fashioned”. The world is constantly changing, we are continually evolving. Maybe it’s time to get with the program. Maybe it’s time I get with the program.

One of the things about becoming a parent is that you are quite literally forced to look at the world differently. You are somewhat in control of a life that came into the world through you.  You realize that you will almost always force your belief system onto your kids. It’s pretty much impossible not to,  but is it the right thing to do? I challenge myself constantly to be “present” and by that I don’t mean just showing up when needed. I mean when I am home with my son, that I am present. This means free from distractions, the cellphone is in the corner, free from the cluttered mind that is left over from a day’s work, right here, right now, nothing else matters. It’s not always easy and trust me I often falter. At the same time, it’s in these moments of clarity that I realize that this little person is a reflection of me and my spouse. It’s the little things too, the mannerisms, the shouting, the gestures towards the dog. All the subtle ways that your child will model your behavior, oftentimes behavior that you are not even conscious of, the stuff that we often don’t see because we are running on autopilot. Let’s face it, if mummy and daddy are working a 9 to 5, you are running on auto-pilot the vast majority of the time.

What I love about this show is that it inspires thought, conversation and the periodic look in the mirror, some self reflection. It also shines a light on society and our collective psyche. It’s a snapshot into our biases or lack thereof, be it cultural, gender or race related. There’s probably a lot of people as now adults who believe in something just because it was taught to them by their parents not necessarily because that is what they themselves believe. I aspire to raise my little guy with an open mind and will try not to project my belief system onto him, a question to you is What Would You Do?

Sticks and Stones…

As a now mature adult, much of what I think of myself was formed from a very young age through my adolescence. In saying “what I think of myself” I mean,  not necessarily the man I’ve become but more so the man I believe the rest of the world sees. See, we have this opinion of ourselves and we also have an idea in the back of our minds that people see us a certain way. Both of these people – the self opinion vs. what people see – may indeed be the same self for some of us, while for others these two people are indeed entirely different. Why is that, you ask? Well throughout our lives we are constantly seeking approval and validation without even realizing it, it’s not our fault.  There’s a  subconscious conditioning that is programmed into us essentially from the moment we are born. Mom’s cutesy baby sounds while standing over us changing our diapers, Dad’s thumb’s up while approving us taking our first baby steps. The parade of relatives showering us with love and adulation, it’s a human impulse to show love for the newest member of the family, surely this is not wrong. Then we start to grow up and venture out into this wide world seeking approval from our peers, wanting to at least fit in and be liked throughout our school years to one day being accepted into the workforce and being approved of enough to carve out a career for ourselves. Validation and approval, acceptance or rejection?

I was watching an interview with renowned Wall Street investor Warren Buffett and the music icon JAY-Z the other day. At one point during the interview when asked the question about why he started his Sean Carter scholarship fund JAY-Z says how  a small thing changed his life and then goes on to explain how his sixth grade teacher once said to him “you know what, you’re kind’a smart” and he believed her “I’m smart, she sparked the idea in my mind” he said – The power of the spoken word to invoke positive thought, the power of the spoken word to spark to life, Mr. Sean Carter aka JAY-Z arguably the greatest rapper of all time.  Ok! So I’m sure there were and are many more factors that led to JAY-Z aspiring to become the man he is today but those words still live with him. Those words still live in his head, “you’re smart”.

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.
  – Yehuda Berg

I too, have a memory from my school years, to this day I still remember the praise that a teacher had given to me. “Mark, you have a vivid imagination” wrote Mr. Deeks.  I can still picture the words written on the side of my story after having had it graded. I forget what the story was about but today, some 30 some odd years later those words still live with me. The power of the written word.

Two examples of positive words spoken to children, children who still remember these words well into their adult lives. But what about when children encounter negative words at points during their childhood, do those words still live with us throughout our adult years. I tend to think that they do and I tend to think that the impact that they have on us is felt and manifested in exactly the same way that positive words are, albeit in an opposite manner. Moments of self-assuredness and confidence battling against self doubt and insecurity, I myself can attest. Having been a pretty good soccer player growing up, I was always told how good I was, always the one picked first when it came to making teams, there has never been a soccer field that I’ve been intimidated by. Seriously, as a 43 year-old playing against kids half my age I still feel like I can dominate. You can counter that soccer field bravado with my self image. Much of my teen years through early adulthood I wasn’t exactly full of self confidence, the dark skinned black guy with rubber lips is a phrase that comes to mind. A phrase that was not necessarily uttered in that particular way but it was a phrase that I had now associated with the person I looked at in the mirror everyday, “the dark skinned black guy with rubber lips” ? Trust me if you grew up in England in the 70’s and 80’s you are all too familiar with the term “rubber lips” – this is before it was considered cool to have full plump lips. So here I was, this person shaped by life experiences. So confident, arrogant and cocky in one arena. Yet shy, timid and retreating in another; all because of the words that I encountered in my youth. Perhaps if I was told, your skin is beautiful and your lips are fine I would not have felt so self conscious, perhaps?

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.                   – Napoleon Hill

I think I can speak for many when I say we don’t actively seek to have a negative affect on our children with the language we use around them but as a parent I can raise my hand and confirm that I am culpable for making a young one second guess his worth. I’ve shouted at my son, I’ve questioned his sanity(he was drawing on the wall with a crayon), I admit it! It’s hard to change the language and the ways we react towards our kids, it’s what we’ve been using our whole lives. But becoming conscious of it is a good beginning, becoming conscious of the fact that is could be negatively affecting your child’s sense of self is a start in the direction.

My son is growing up so fast and has recently started a new school. Everyday I’m seeing a change in him and it’s amazing to see your offspring becoming their own person. At the same time I realize that his world is getting bigger and bigger everyday. He’ll be taking in new information and hearing words all day everyday, words that may lift him up alongside words that may bring him down. Unfortunately I cannot always stop him encountering the negative, in fact I wouldn’t want to as I think there is a necessity for him to experience that also.  I can and will though, as his father always lift him up and with my words, give him a foundation of confidence, self assured-ness and validity. I will always let him know that he is somebody and he’ll always know that he is loved just the way he is.

We sometimes get caught up in grand gestures and believe that they speak for the love of our child. The mega Christmas gift, the lavish birthday parties, the toys, the gadgets, the dolls, the cars, I could go on and on, it’s all well and good providing the material things for our kids but from my own experience nothing will live in your child’s mind longer than the spoken word, so make an effort to ensure that those words encourage, empower and lift up your child. You never know, you could be making it one less dark skinned black guy with rubber lips and one more music maestro like JAY-Z, don’t forget to tell him how smart he is.

Dance with my Father, Period!

As a young man there were times I’d cry myself to sleep at night thinking about my father and the fact that he didn’t want me. I mean he obviously didn’t want me right? If he did he would have been in my life. All my friends had their dads bringing them to football, showing up for Sports day and teaching them to drive, why not mine?

Growing up without a father was not a choice, well it was a choice but it wasn’t my choice. Growing up without a father is a burden that one must carry throughout their entire life and it can either be a burden so heavy that it weighs on one to the extent that it consumes them or it can be a burden so heavy that it inspires and uplifts them to strive for greatness. Me! I chose the latter. Although it can take time to come to that realization and you better hope that a teenage mistake does not lead to a life of misery

As a now mature man I look back on my youth and realize that I was first and foremost lucky to have had the mother that I have, a strong black woman. I was also lucky to have had the grandparents that I have and to this day my granddad to me, is the greatest man that ever lived, but I digress. Lucky that when I did go astray during my teenage years I didn’t get into the kind of trouble that could have really set me back in life. That’s not to say that this is all due to not having a father in my life as there are many boys that do have father’s in their lives that still do and will go astray but the odds are in your favor if daddy is around.

See, there are so many things that a child will miss out on without a father in their lives, young men especially. A mother can try her best but will never replace the male perspective. How to deal with conflict, how to treat a woman, how to show emotion and many more things that youths to teens to young men go through. The simple things that we some times take for granted but are missing from so many young males lives. A simple “well done son” so much power in 3 little words, all the more powerful by omission. With the male influence missing from their home life they have no choice but to seek it from outside sources and who’s to say that this influence will be the most wholesome.

Personally there’s a feeling that I experience whenever I think about my son or someone asks me how he’s doing. A feeling that I can’t explain in words, it’s an emotion unlike no other. I’m sure there are parents out there that understand what I’m talking about and as such it makes it that much harder to understand why some men will not stand up and be fathers to their children. There’s a saying “to each their own” but technically if you are the one that planted the seed then this is your own. As a father I try to remember to tell my son at every opportunity that I love him. I love him for who he is but I also love him for breathing new life into me and creating a desire to be the best possible person that I can be so I can show him someone to be proud of and aspire to be. In a weird way though there is a part of me that is thankful that I lived an experience of not having my father around. As becoming a father now myself, it lets me realize just how special I want to be for my son.

Unfortunately my own father is no longer with us but if he were here today I know he would be proud of the man I have become. Not having him in my life throughout my formative years and having reestablished contact in my 20’s I knew who he was and I knew that he was a good man, maybe I came at a time when he wasn’t ready for fatherhood, maybe there were other factors involved that didn’t allow him to be in my life. To be honest with you I will never know the full truth, I do know however that without even knowing it he taught me something invaluable and that is that fatherhood is to cherished.

This is something that I would want for all men who at some point in time have had relations that have led to a child being born. I therefore leave you with one thought, if you are a man who is not in your child’s life. Those of you who grew up with a father, could you imagine for one second that he had never existed? Or those of you like me, can you remember what it felt like not having a father? I certainly do, as there is one regret that I will always have in this life and that is that I never got to Dance with My Father, Period!

The Scrap Heap!

So I figured that I would add a section of outtakes, pieces that didn’t make the final cut for the blog posts. I literally just thought of this while editing Dance With My Father, Period so there anything from previous stuff will be missing. It’s just an insight into the thoughts that go into writing a piece, sometimes it’s where my mood was that day or during that period of my life. Obviously w this will be a living document, as I write a new piece, I will post the scraps up here…


Dance With My Father, Period 

Yeah!…I said it, THAT Son of a B#@ch, this is how I feel in this moment, how dare you ignore me, how dare you tell me i’m not worthy, how dare you discard me like I am not worth your time and effort.

It’s gotten so bad in our communities that being a good dad is just “being” i.e. just being present, that’s NOT good enough!

Personally I have cried many times at the thought that my father didn’t want me, propelled me to want to be the ultimate father, maybe even to a fault….take solace in the fact that I maybe tried too hard to be the perfect father than to never have tried..

Sticks and Stones

during those moments of quiet reflection.

I say this because we have to be mindful of the words we use around and towards our kids. I say this because we have to be mindful of the way we talk to our kids.

Do we bury bad comments lying just below the surface waiting to come out whenever there’s a threat of self doubt. Where do they go, we always seem able to recall all the positive feedback we get but what about the negative

Or is it like a see-saw, one side looking to outweigh the other. Considering everybody gets down at times I would tend to think yes.

Oftentimes a persons self worth is not so much “self” worth but what we believe people think of us either by what they actually say, reading in between the lines or what we think they think of us.

Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people… listen to positive content

Lift your child up, Cameron’s song
In fact I would even go so far as to say I would allow even encourage him to fall but my words will always pick him up.

Affirmations, we’ll get to those in the near future

You can choose to be happy, glass half full analogy. Think about what is something that always cheers you up, think about your favorite Sports team and the euphoria of a win or feeling down when they lose. You have no control over that outcome so why allow it to control you. Possible but takes discipline, practice and repetition. Replace with something more meaningful

There was a study conducted by a Japanese researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto on the effects of thought and the spoken word on water. The study showed that speaking bad created distorted molecules and positive words created beautiful molecules. This was debunked by some, now I personally don’t know but I do know how my words sometimes affect my son.

But names will never hurt us, oh but they will and they in fact never truly heal whereas recovery from a broken arm can lead to the life of a big league pitcher. The effects of a “you’re not good enough” may lead to the life of a recreational league star with the million dollar fastball.

may break my bones but names will never hurt me…

What Would You Do?

not necessarily the “well, I kiss my teeth and my little guy does it too” it’s a lot deeper than that, it’s the stuff that we often don’t see because we are running on autopilot. Let’s face it, if mummy and daddy are working a 9 to 5, you are running on auto-pilot the vast majority of the time.

Essentially my responsibility should be to teach him morals, values, work ethic and to love the person that he is and trust me there’s a lot more to that but it’s a fluid situation. Fluid as in, I’m still learning about myself much more what it takes to raise another human. On top of that there’s the stages of his development that we have yet to reach. ———————————————————————beliefs on them although subconsciously we do. You’ve lived through life experiences and now you’re basically programming your fears, beliefs, prejudices and thoughts into this little mind because, well I experienced and learnt this from this so I’ll pass it down, is it necessarily the right thing to do?

Issue often rears it’s

Raising my son with open mind, literally. ..he’s free to be who and what he wants to be but you have to draw the line at some point, no?

Watching show, boys and girls wanted toys associated with other gender.

Realized I had done that. .

Probably still would,  my natural inclination. …new generation,  at what point do we stop?

Conscious of,  word I throw around a lot. ..

There’s probably a lot of people as now adults who believe in something just because it was taught to them by their parents not necessarily because that is what they themselves believe.

Project our insecurities,  prejudices and beliefs onto our kids

Much like this blog, the show inspires thought and conversation. Once we are conscious of our world’s perception it enables us to look at the world differently and perhaps shed some of the subconscious programming that we have but don’t necessarily resonate with anymore.

Celebs raising kids wearing other gender clothing.

Cameron often puts on moms shoes, wants to put on lipstick, paint nails. Should I allow it, am I being a bad parent by not allowing it, only in the house. Even that itself sends mixed messages.

Do What You Believe You Can’t Do!….

have proved loa without even realizing it many times

Life’s Seasons

Cabin fever


To sum it up, The common theme is here is excuses ….if it matters enough, YOU FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!…

Cleaning Up After The Elephant

Worldstar- fight, you’re more likely to have people pull out their cellphones and start filming nowadays than want to break up a fight or try to help someone in need.

The thing is though, I am fine with that as I am aware of the impact that my action today will affect him in years to come.

skewered by negative content…. negative content ultimately makes us feel negative about ourselves.

What we consume plays a major role in the (content) of those thoughts.

Then there’s Music, which also has the same sort of impact in regards to our mental harmony. I’ve at times driven around somewhat recklessly, blasting a dancehall reggae or hip-hop track through my trunk housed 12-inch subs. This is something I would have never done in my youth or admittedly my early adult years but try putting on some classical music for a half hour or so and feel the calming presence. Not just the calming presence but scientific studies have shown that classical music can boost serotonin levels,  serotonin is a neurotransmitter, involved in the transmission of nerve impulses that helps maintaining joyous feelings.

As a 70’s baby, I grew up watching Dukes of Hazard, man I used to love Daisy Duke… confederate flag, who knew?

A Tedx  a day

I realize the impact that what you consume has on you, in fact, we all do.

and Personally, I remember well my wannabe thugged out days, you best believe I was not pumping classical music through those 12-inch subs in the back of my trunk. ..we have thousands of thoughts a day, most of which we cannot control if our diet is trash our thoughts will be overrun with trash.. – average of 50, 000 thoughts a day, how many of which do we control..subconscious, the subconscious is essentially controlled by diet.

If I Could Be Half The Man You Are

One of the biggest regrets I have is not standing up and talking at the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandmother and grandfather.

As of this writing, my grandfather is slowly dying, it

Children are born with a blank canvas, let's create a masterpiece and inspire an empowered mind for a life of infinite potential……