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Black Daddies Club Weekly: The New Generation of Fathers who were Raised by Single Mothers

29 November 2010 268 views 5 Comments

By Brandon Hay

Brandon's sons. From left to right Tristan (8), Elijah (4), Julian (6)

I am a part of the new generation of fathers who were raised by single mothers. I recently had the opportunity to attend the book launch party of one of my mentors, Dalton Higgins, where he unveiled his newest literary offering, entitled FATHERHOOD 4.0. At this event, I heard fathers sharing their stories as parents.

However, a common theme uniting the comments made by some of these men were that they were raised by their mums, and I couldn’t help but wonder if an event like this (book launch) would have been as successful if the book came out around my father’s or grandfather’s generation. Would the notion of the ‘stay-at-home dad’ be held in the same positive light that it is today or would that father be seen as ‘wutless (less of a man)’ for not going out and bringing home the bacon.

Over the past three years, I have spent many hours working with black fathers in the Toronto community and I have found that a lot of fathers weren’t raised by their fathers. Because of that, they felt that they had to overcompensate when it came to parenting their own children. It is of paramount importance to these fathers that they are present in the lives of their children…and not just for the big moments (like first day of school, weddings, etc.), but also for the small moments (diaper changes at 2a.m., rubbing their son’s/ daughter’s back after a nightmare, reading bedtime stories).

These fathers of the new generation are more hands-on when it comes to parenting than their fathers and grandfathers ever were. And, in my humble opinion, that’s a step in the right direction.

"Daddies and Me" event at Art gallery of Ontario(AGO), Feb 2010

I was recently speaking to another ‘New Age’ dad, when this question was broached: Why is it that although many of our fathers and grandfathers grew up with their fathers in the home, they still didn’t see the importance of sticking around to be fathers to their children?

I was born in Jamaica in the late 70’s and I know that for my own father, it wasn’t seen as culturally or socially important for him to be there on a consistent basis. As long as the school fees were paid and I had books and a school uniform for September, his work as a father was done. I felt that this was the extent of his parenting.

Don’t get me wrong – my dad took me and my brothers and sisters out to Hillshire Beach every now and then (usually on a Sunday afternoon) and boy, did we look forward to those outings! And no matter how infrequent those outings were, they were always extra special. When I think of my dad, those are the memories that come to mind.

Fast forward some twenty-odd years and I have my own kids. I can’t help but wonder: what will be their memories of their father?

Black Business Professional association (BBPA) Community Award Ceremony, BDC received community excellence award

Brandon Hay, founder and Executive Director of Black Daddies Club; Brandon is a Husband, Father of 3 boys (Tristan, Julian and Elijah).

“I believe in the importance of community voice, hence why Black Daddies Club article in Sway magazine came about, our black fathers need a place where we can speak on some of the stuff that is bottled within and this is a great medium, we are working on some great ideas for 2011, keep posted”-Brandon Hay

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  • Juss said:

    Give thanks for the work being done w/ BDC and the light that has been shed on this often undiscussed topic.

    It has been said, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

    It would benefit us to look at Fathering and Fatherhood from a broader perspective.
    JussOne (Atef-Father4Life)

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  • Michael said:

    As searcge the trunk of my tree, I find g-grand 1901,g-mother 1917,mother 1933, I find teenage-pregancy, no fathers, we are trying to change this cycle.

  • Michael said:

    I am looking fo ideas for our first annunal father’s day event. All suggestions are welcome

  • Black Daddies Club – “How do you Exhibit Change?” | Exhibit Change said:

    [...] Thank you Brandon for sharing this with me.  ”The New Generation of Fathers who were Raised by Single Mothers” [...]

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