Tag Archives: Fatherhood

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. 

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!