In Addition to the Tie: What They Need on Father’s Day

fatherFather’s Day, the time of year when corny mugs and tacky tie sales skyrocket. This year go ahead and buy the power drill, or the grill, but add this gift as well, affirmation. Here’s a little secret, though we act all tough and unemotional, men need it too (and I just said that in the manliest way possible…just so yall know). We all know women want and love affirmation, and they typically enjoy the “you are so_______ (fill in the blank with a characteristic)” affirmation. Men on the other hand being more goal and task oriented tend to like the “you are doing a good job” affirmation.

So this Father’s Day tell your dad or a dad you know how well they are doing! Being a father, I think that we as men do a terrible job of doing this for each other. We cannot let the fear of man to man affection and going beneath the surface (though it’ not easy) prevent us from encouraging each other. In this day when fatherhood seems to be dying (especially in my demographic of young black fathers) we gotta stick together and call one another higher.

So this Father’s Day…

Affirm the Father who is involved with his children and assure him that the work he’s putting in will be the biggest blessing his children will know. Encourage him to stay the course by letting him know he’s doing well in his role.

Affirm the Father who has joint custody and has to share time with his kids, but he still sacrifices and does what he can to see them.  Let him know how proud you are that he’s making those sacrifices unlike so many others who shrink at their responsibility.

Affirm the Father with baby mama drama. Tell him that you see his struggle and fight to be a part of his children’s lives and how much you respect his efforts. Tell him his labor is not in vain.

Affirm the Father who has raised his children. Be sure to tell him how much you appreciate the heavy burden and responsibility of raising children he carried, and how he carried it well.

Affirm the Father figure who stepped into the role of someone else to benefit the life of a child. He needs to hear that though he is not a biological parent, the priceless paternal influence he is giving will last a lifetime.

Don’t just let Hallmark speak for you, speak for yourself too! So, I know you have some father’s in mind that you want to express your gratitude and appreciation to, so go do it. Dads this is our day, but we need to get over any hang-ups that might be there and show love to other dad’s too.  There’s not much that can replace a peer or someone who has gone before you in a certain role assuring you of your progress. They need to hear it!

~Stephen J. Taylor

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7 Ways to Help You (Yes YOU) Not Shoot Someone this Summer

Well, summer is almost here and you know what that means…heat a hike in assault, battery, and homicide related crimes. Here are a few practical tips to keep you from smacking, punching, cutting, vandalizing, stabbing, and of course shooting someone:

1. Stay Yo Butt Inside! Summertime equals more people out and about. Especially in the northern cities, the moment an ounce of sunlight and heat appears people are scrambling to get outside! But, this outpouring of people increases the probability of stepped on shoes, people mean mugging, and higher attendance at the club, which results in more conflict. So just stay inside where itlemonade’s safe.

2. Stay Hydrated. A key issue with the summer causing violence is the heat. When people get hot, they get bothered. When people get bothered they get angry a lot easier and situations can turn violent.  So, keep that cold beverage handy. Make sure you have that chilled glass of water, iced tea, lemonade, or Kool-Aid ready to go. If you wake up in the middle of the night, be sure to get you a “cold pop”, cuz being parched and pissed, well… ain’t nobody got time for that!

3. Stay Cool by Being Cool. Like #2, in order to keep your composure you have to stay cooled off. Go ahead and fix that AC in your house, and get that freon for your car. If money is tight, next time you’re at church take a few of those funeral home/ MLK fans home with you. It’s ok, God knows your heart, thou shall not be hot and therefore murder.

4. Bring Back the Ice Cream Man. This guy has been missing in many neighborhoods, and we need him back because his treats Vintage-Ice-Cream-Truck-350x213bring so much happiness to us all.  It’s hard to be ticked at someone when you’re enjoying a fudge sickle, and it’s definitely a difficult task cussing someone out while savoring a push-up or ice cream sandwich.

5. Change the Music You Bump.  When the temp goes up, windows roll down and music gets turned up. I know you want to ride to that Chief Keef down the street, but how about something a little less threatening or temper arousing? Classical anyone?supersoaker

6. Substitute Real Guns with Water Guns. Simply stated if you just have to shoot someone, how about using a super soaker?

7. Communicate with Your Significant Other. The cold winter months are also known as cuffing season (when you’re tied down in a relationship). But when that heat comes, clothes get skimpy, people get out, and a spirit of singleness seems to sweep through the nation. With this being the case, talk to your “boo,” and make sure yall are on the same page to prevent any unnecessary fights, keyed cars, and shootings.

But all jokes aside, be safe this summer. Be aware of your environments, and learn how to let stuff roll off your back!

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-Stephen J. Taylor