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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Top Three Things that I Taught My Daughters That’ll Probably Get Us a Seat On Dr. Phil’s Couch One Day.

There are a few things that I taught my girls when they were younger that I’m pretty sure will land us a spot on Dr. Phil or Oprah, or  worst case scenario, Jerry Springer.  So, in an attempt to gain some future audience leniency, or maybe perform a well timed preemptive strike, I decided to come clean and share the top three. I am not proud of these acts (sniff…sniff)…and…and…and I hope to do whatever I can to atone for them…(Sniffle..sniff…sniff…eye wipe).   Here they are in no particular order (and with a bit of backstory).

1) Lightning bugs–  I convinced them that they could “call” lightning bugs by running around yelling “ Biddi….biddi….biddi” at the top of their lungs.  For the uninitiated, “biddi…biddi…biddi…” was the sound that Twiki (the lil robot) used to make on the old Buck Rogers T.V. show.  I know it was wrong, I really do…but it was  sooooo funny.  I swear, I WANTED to stop…but I just couldn’t help myself.  Besides, one day, I’ll tell them that they were quoting the lil’ guy below, we’ll all just have a good laugh and all will be well with the world………Right?

twiki

2) Cotton candy – I told them that cotton candy came from the dryer filter. They said that it didn’t make sense…and I told them to look at the label on their clothes.  It went something like this.

“What does it say?”, I’d ask.
“Cotton” they’d answer….(You could SEE the wheels starting to turn).
“I’d follow up with, “…….and what is that other stuff called?”
“….cotton………CANDY!!!”  they said. ( GOT’em!!!)

When the inevitable question of  why the stuff from the dryer  wasn’t sweet came up, I told them that it was because it “hadn’t been processed yet ” and that the sweetness came from washing it in industrial strength sugar water.  We just didn’t have the equipment at home to do it.  (Geez…this is making me look REALLY bad ain’t it?)

3)  Traffic Lights – I told them that traffic lights work because there was a little man with a clock in each light.  He would  time each color and made sure that he changed them to a certain color after a period of time.  When they asked me why they didn’t ever see them…..I adeptly avoided the question with another question:  ” You ever see a leprechaun?”

Feel free to go ahead and call Dr. Phil………………I think I may need help.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Did that chick REALLY just say……..? #1

From time to time, the girls would say something that was just SO funny that I had to put it in my memory bank  so I could share it with the world later….I think now is a good time for one.  Here’s the first of MANY.

We were driving on a long trip…I was eating some hot wings….(I have a “thang” for hot wings…)..As I was eating them, I would throw the bones out the window..(DON’T JUDGE ME!).  The ensuing conversation went like this:

Kiara: That’s littering, Daddy.
Me: No it’s not.  Those are biodegradable…Besides, animals eat ’em.
Kiara: Ok…What’s biodegradable?
Me: It’s dissolves down to stuff that won’t hurt anything…if an animal doesn’t eat it first.

I drove a little while when I saw a dead deer on the side of the road.  My girls were kinda morbid and they liked that kind of stuff so I made sure to bring it to their attention.

Me: Look….It’s a dead deer.
Kiara:  He probably choked on a chicken bone……DAD!

Did that chick REALLY just say that?!?!?

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Prayer Precedes Progress and Predates Perseverance

I’ve never seen Jesus’ face in a piece of toast, and I hope I never do, cause that would force me to make the decision as to whether or not eating it would be a sin and I’m not good with that kind of pressure.  So, you can believe that I never go around looking for molehills to make into mountains or everyday stuff to make into miracles.  By the same token, I try not to discount God’s amazing, little “life coincidences” either. It’s a fine line to walk, but I think it’s a necessary one.  Even if I didn’t have my faith in God, I think it would be important for me to help my daughters believe in SOMETHING greater than all of us, me included…because all of us that don’t have the first name of God and the last name of Almighty can and will fail.  As an adult, I constantly see how life can seemingly spin out of control, and how easy it is to feel frustrated, hollow, alone, and defeated; thereby paving the path for eventual true defeat. Bills come due and then overdue.   Loved ones pass away.  Fond memories start to fade.  Friends come and go.  Our health ebbs and flows and eventually just ebbs. To make matters worse, sometimes we don’t even know where life’s blows are coming from, much less how to avoid them.  Sometimes, just living life can seem to make the living of life overwhelming.

Now, I’m not talking to you as a guy with no real knowledge of feeling like I’ve failed, nor  because I read some book about being poor, nor because I saw some interview about faith.  We’re all family here, so I don’t mind sharing my trials and triumphs.  I’ve had my lights, AND my phone turned off on the SAME DAY before. Another time, I spent a day inside Chik Fila with my girls, my niece (who was staying with us) and her newborn baby girl because my lights had been turned off and it was too hot in my house for a baby.  We had to stay there until I could borrow the money to get them turned back on. (Thank GOD for free lemonade refills!!)   Growing up, there were nights when all we had for dinner was rice with a can of stewed tomatoes stirred in.  Heck,  more recently, I remember being at the register in  Wal-Mart the day before Thanksgiving  2008, only to have my check not clear and have to explain to my daughter (who was right there with us) about financial responsibility (and in our case…irresponsibility), and why we were leaving the “chock full of delectable Thanksgiving dinner goodness” shopping cart behind.  So believe me when I tell you that this is all coming from my heart, and as a MAN, I understand how humbling it can feel to know that sometimes, you are not in control, and that you may fall short more often than you succeed, and that you from time to time need a higher power to help.

I’ve had many, many conversations with people on the verge of giving up and don’t be fooled, a lot of times that person was staring back at me from the mirror.  There’s no shame in my game, if I didn’t have faith that there was SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE that had my best interest at heart, and that could make sense of what I was going through, there probably wouldn’t be a Daddys’ Doing Hair in front of your eyes right now….That’s real talk.  Shame is a powerful deterrent.  I wouldn’t be able to talk to you about how important it is to give your daughters faith in God, if I didn’t at least have a mustard seed sized portion myself that saw me thru when I get tested (not past tense).  Trust me, no one would get on a bus with no one in control, but sometimes, that is exactly how life can feel.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I would like for the girls to think that Daddy is in control of the aforementioned bus….but if that’s the case, the questions in their minds could quickly become: What happens when Daddy doesn’t have all the answers?  What happens if I get sick, and Daddy’s kisses can’t make it all better?  What happens when Daddy fails, and he’s the strongest being in my world?  If he can’t fix it…then who can???  I can tell you what happens when those thoughts start to surface.  Their world falls apart because at that point, the most powerful force in their eyes, has been rendered powerless.   For me, acknowledging this, and accepting this, and sharing this with them was all part of my growth process.   It freed me up from having to try to be super Dad, from beating myself up so much whenever I didn’t have the answers or when I just flat out failed.  It was actually kind of liberating, and I thank God that I came to understand.   We all want to think that we can provide all things for our families, but we must understand that by putting all of our trust in someone that actually CAN  provide, that we are ultimately doing the best job possible of providing for them, but as a MAN, it was yet another tough pill to swallow at first.

I wish I could say that it didn’t take much for me to start understanding, (in writing this book, I see that I’m a lil slow on the uptake…lol) but in actuality, it was another of those little “life coincidences” that God  seems to take pleasure in revealing to me from time to time.  I think he understands that sometimes instead of one big leap, it takes lots of small steps for me to get from point a to point b without suffering brain overload.  Remember, the seeing Jesus’ face on a piece of toast scenario?

Anyway, the girls were 7 and 8 when we all moved from out west back to NC.  I sent my wife, and the girls to kind of get things settled while I stayed behind to tie up some loose ends. To the girls, the stuff that I had to do was minor.  I had to do stuff like finish packing up the house, shut off utilities, drive cross country in a rental truck that held everything that we owned ALONE…you know…trivial stuff.  To them, their agenda was much grander and a little more personal.  Their mental goals list had things like, meet Grandma (of course), meet all of their aunts and uncles, see pine trees in person, find a new school, and see the beach for the first time;  all important stuff in 7 and eight year old minds.

It didn’t take long for most of the items to start getting checked off of their to-do list once they got there.  Most of them were completed within just a few hours.  Seeing pine trees….check.  Meeting Grandma…DONE.  Meeting some aunts and uncles….marked off.  The last two; finding a new school and hitting the beach were proving themselves to be a bit more difficult than the rest though, but let’s get priorities straight, it was summertime, and school could wait.  The beach apparently, couldn’t.

Now, as smart as my girls are and always have been, they apparently had no desire to  watch the weather channel, and had no aptitude for deciding on their own if a day was a good or bad day to go to the beach.  One would THINK though, that they would be tipped off by overcast days, but I guess the lure of sandy windswept beaches, the smell of salt water and seemingly endless surf muffled the logic sections of their little brains.  So, that being said, they picked an afternoon for going to the beach that, at best, was not favorable.  We’re talking about a thunder and lightning, torrential downpour, frogs in rowboats kind of day.

So, they set out on their journey, the girls and Sharon, to go to the beach on a decidedly dreary day; armed with nothing but towels, blankets, some snacks and a desire for the weather to clear.  Soon, though, it was obvious even to their overly optimistic minds that that day may not be the day. Just then, according to my wife,  is when the praying started.  No joke.  She heard it floating up from the back seat.  It started with one whispering to the other “Come on, sister…Let’s pray that the rain stops.” (They always used to call each other “sister” like we were on the set of Little House on the Prairie or something…I always found that to be funny.) They started to pray that the day would clear up, that the rain would stop, and that their Mama would stop with the threats of going back home to sit the out the storm.  Those little chicks not only prayed…they PRAYED.

Let’s put it in perspective.  You know how in church, some old mother would stand up and say something like “…those that know a word of prayer…please pray for me”?  That’s the type of prayer these little chicks were laying down; like they KNEW they were going to have their words heard and that they had a bright red, Batman, emergency phone straight to the ear of God right there in the back seat, smack dab between the two of them.  And you know what?  They got through.  I’m not going to say that it was a miracle or anything like that, but according to my wife, who is just as unlikely to smack a “miracle” tag on things as I am, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and it turned into a beautiful day. They got everything but the chorus of the heavenly host singing.

Whether it was a coincidence or not, normal weather pattern or not, a case of eventually outrunning the storm or not, doesn’t matter.  That day there were a couple of little girls riding in the back seat of an older model  Chevy Malibu with grins on their faces from ear to ear.  They were a couple of little girls that were suddenly blessed with the knowledge that, maybe, just maybe, God actually is in control of everything, and that if Daddy can’t handle it…He can.  He helped them to see the beach for the first time, and Daddy had nothing to do with it; he wasn’t even anywhere close by.  To hear them tell the story of that day, the beach was the most awesome thing they ever saw in their little lives.  And to hear me tell it, God performed yet another amazing small, everyday, “life coincidence” that day, and completely showed me up, and I’m okay with that…..now.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Strength in Storms

Okay, since I’m baring my soul here, here is another piece of information that I think is important to know about me and my upbringing.  To say that my family wasn’t well off when I was growing up would be an understatement of epic proportions.  There..I said it.  Now, allow me to put it in perspective for you. It’s not that hard for me to call to memory  LOTS of nights that would see me off to bed with a burning hunger in the pit of my being.  Nah, it wasn’t a hunger for knowledge, or justice, and  not a gnawing hunger for peace on Earth.  It was nothing that admirable;  just HUNGER.  Mama did the best that she could with the money that she made from cleaning houses, but house cleaning money “don’t buy much  meat” sometimes.  Suffice it to say, stewed tomatoes and rice became a staple meal  in my house.

As for my house’s location saying that it was smack dab on the middle point between two extremes would be a fair assessment.  On the one side was St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and immediately on the other side, a bootlegger’s house.  Now, for those of you that may be uninitiated with my down south colloquialisms, a bootlegger is someone that makes and sells alcoholic beverages…aka: a liquor house, a moonshiner.

Now, the funny thing about being poor is that you often don’t KNOW you’re poor until you have something to compare it to, or, worst case scenario, someone points it out to you.  Fortunately, we were firmly of the first sort.  We didn’t really know that we were poor for a few different reasons.  1) We didn’t know we were poor because EVERYBODY in our neighborhood was taking that same, slow train to nowhere.   And 2) we didn’t know we were poor because we had a strong, intelligent, Black woman heading our household.  (Yes, I know this is a book about FATHERS and daughters, but try to stay with me for a bit and I’ll bring it full circle.)

For years, we thought we were always eating  fresh corn and fresh peas and stuff  out of gardens because it was healthy…We had no idea  that  Mama was getting  most of it for free, and that it was all she could get.  What we did  know was that it would stave off that hunger monster for a few hours…and we were ALWAYS cool with that.  However, in the shadows, Mama was fighting tooth and nail for her family.   Usually, we saw no signs of the pressure on her but sometimes the feeling that she had that she was failing would creep through to the surface, and we saw it.

I saw Mama cry once.

The visits from the “welfare lady” were always rough.  I never understood why mama would allow this woman that knew nothing about us question her like she did, but Mama was walking the line; playing the role; doing what she had to do to keep us alive…and I appreciated it more than she knew. …but  I despised how this woman questioned her.  I always felt like she was treating Mama like a child.  After the welfare lady left this on this one particular visit,  the tears broke thru  Mama’s defenses…I  never asked, but later in life, I assumed that she felt as though she was failing us.   Now, let’s bring this full circle…Hey, I DID promise that, didn’t I?

There was always a strength bubbling  just  beneath the surface with Mama. You could see it in her eyes.   It was a quiet strength; a natural,  innate grace that belied a woman of her stature.  The really funny thing  about it though, was that  she didn’t really know that she had  a strength all  her own. Don’t get it twisted, my mother was never a weak woman, but she never had an inkling of the breadth s of situations that she could handle; not initially, anyway.   She had been raised, like many in her time,  to rely on a man to handle the bulk of situations and she would be his number one supporter; a living, breathing pressure relief valve.

Then, once upon a time, she was forced to raise 8 of us…mostly on her own.

Life forced her to recognize a simple, inescapable fact: she could be strong  because she HAD to be.  She forced herself to clean houses to put food on the table because she NEEDED to.   Giving up was not even a blip on the radar, simply because it couldn’t be allowed.  Doubt was a bitter luxury in which she could not afford indulgence.  Don’t misunderstand, she HAD doubts, but she could never allow them to take root and grow.  Instead, she drew her line in the sand, laid down the roots of HER choosing, and defied to let the possible become the inevitable.  Mama developed resilience of one of those trees that you see getting battered and whipped around by the storms, but that is still standing when the sun comes back out.  She  is  not a highly educated woman,  but she is very intelligent, and she knew the her giving in to the storms would be, in essence, giving us  over to the storms and that was something that she wouldn’t allow.

(Here comes another “full circle moment”).

Sometimes as fathers, we want to protect our daughters from everything.  Yes,  I have to include myself in this count, because this is one of the hardest habits for me to let go. (Notice, I said “is”….not “was”.)   It took me a long time to learn, that by sheltering my girls from everything that could possibly hurt them, that I was in fact hindering their learning about their own natural, God given strength.  If I was to never allow them to fall, how would they learn that they could get up on their own?  That was another of the tough pills that I had to swallow.  It’s hard to tell your daughter, when you know that she is  deathly shy, that if she wants that part time job,  that she has to go in there and ask for an application  herself.  It’s difficult to have to tell her that she is going to have to go in there and come across as strong, and capable, and dependable without your guidance.  It’s like sitting on needles when you have to wait  in the car for her as she goes inside, and your insides are screaming for you to just go get the app for her, but you have to.

Here’s another scenario for you to consider.  My oldest plays softball.  She LOVES softball and made the varsity team the first time she tried out.  I’m not going to go into details, but a situation arose in which I thought, and some of the other parents thought as well, that she was not being given enough playing time.  Let me rephrase.  It wasn’t that she wasn’t getting ENOUGH playing time, it was that she wasn’t getting ANY playing time.  We all saw her in practice; smacking the ball to the fence, sliding into bases, running faster than anyone else, etc., but on game days, she was bench warming.   Well, it got to the point where it bothered her as well.  I remember her crying about it, saying that it wasn’t fair and that her teammates were even saying that she deserved to be allowed to play.

Now enter the not just protective, but the often OVERLY protective Dad.  My natural inclination was to go straight to the school, and have it out with the head coach, assistant coaches, scorekeepers, umps, principal, School Board and even the teachers that ran the concession stand, but I let a cooler head prevail, and it can be summed up in one sentence that I uttered to my daughter:

“Do you want me to talk to them or do you want me to let you try to handle it first?”

Simple enough, right?  I thought it was going to be cut and dry; another case of Daddy having to step in and save the day.  Clearly this was going to be another time to put my cape on and save the day.  However, to my surprise, she asked for the opportunity to handle it all on her own, “chica y mano”.  I don’t know what went down, I never asked, but suffice it to say, she played in quite a few games from that point on.  And there it was…her  own private victory; the fruits of her self reliance.   She began to claw her way out of that hole, and my own eyes began to clear a bit.

I could’ve stepped in and handled it for her, but if I had stepped in, and taken care of the problem, she would never have been given the opportunity to see that she could indeed  handle things on her own; that she had the strength of resolve to go in, plead her case with fact, tact, and intelligence, and come out on top.  If I was to give an analogy simple enough even for me to understand and that would sum all of this up, I would say:
Look for every opportunity to plant a seed of self reliance.  Attend to every chance to pull the weeds of self-doubt, and self-loathing.   Use every moment to water the roots of self esteem.  Allow the saplings of self-reliance and self-belief to weather the small storms.  All trees know how to reach for the Sun.  Let your daughters stretch for theirs.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Blessings, Barriers, Bridges and Breakthroughs

Raising daughters isn’t easy; especially when you’re a man.  Speaking for myself, I was never attracted to the world of girls, and never did “girly” things as a child.  I never understood the fun they found in dressing up, or dolls, or makeup…or any of the things like that.  In fact, as a little boy, I found their idea of fun to be decidedly feminine, utterly mysterious, extra- extra boring and, well, kinda disgusting.  Now, as a man, I’m beginning to see that there are just certain things that men (or “once boys” as I’ll refer to us from time to time) aren’t equipped to fully understand or even  begin to fathom regarding the inner workings of little girls.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we just have to accept them as what they are;  wonderfully made, priceless, intricate, gifts from God.

I wish I could say that there was, but there was no true Earth shattering moment that knocked this point home for me… no instant realization, no road to Damascus moment, and no sudden epiphany.  It was a slow process to get from there to here.  Truth be told, I had very little to even do with it.  In fact, it was less guided by me than it was by one of my own daughters…and when she was much younger than she is now.

My daughters are adopted.  I usually say this now more for the purpose of setting a stage than anything else, because they are just as much a part of me as any flesh and blood kids could have ever been.  In fact, I think that because of this very special adoptive relationship, I was forced to look deeper into bonding with them than a Father who had his kids with him since birth.  They were birth sisters too, so by the time I entered the picture, they already had a bond with each other that I wasn’t a part of.  In fact, to them, I was probably more of an intruder into their relationship, than an equal partner in our new one.  Plus, my daughters came with their own unique set of challenges that we had to overcome as a unit…me my wife and them.  As a father, I had my work cut out for me…and then some.  Fortunately for me, every now and then, God would see how I was making a glorious mess of things and would cut me a break.

To say that my oldest daughter is kinda feisty, would be like saying North Carolina summers are slightly humid.  She always has been one that had her own mind, did her own thing, and would never back down from telling me EXACTLY what was on her mind.  It’s not that she’s the “pushy” type.  Saying that she’s just never really been the “push-over” type would be a better way to say it.  To put it plainly, the lil chick has always been one tough lil cookie.  Later in our relationship, I started to see that this toughness stemmed from things that she had to face when she was really young.  She had been dealt a difficult hand early on, and playing it out had forced her to make decisions that should have been reserved for someone at least twice her age.  And those decisions had made her tough beyond her years.

Truly, toughness can be a blessing, but it isn’t always an easy thing for an outsider to deal with and at that time, that is exactly what I was in her life at the beginning as our relationship started…an outsider.  It was months after the adoption before she would even hold a decent conversation with me, and I can’t possibly even count the amount of eye and neck  rolls thrown in my direction.  Honestly, I don’t think she even liked me very much.  I figured going into it that love would come eventually, but GEEZ LOUISE!  One of our most heated recurring debates was always the last name issue, and I hated to see those conversations coming.  They usually played out a bit like this:

Dad: “Why do you keep writing your name as Anderson on your school papers?  Your last name is McDuffie now.”

My oldest:  (insert hands on hips here) “Nuh-uh.  My last name is Anderson.”

Dad:  “No, your name is McDuffie.  We’ve had it changed.  You know that.”

My Oldest:  “No… (Insert “neck rolling” here.) YOU changed it.  MY name is still Anderson.  And I’m never going to use McDuffie.”

I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “God, what did I do by bringing this seed of CHUCKY into my home?!?!?” Mind you, this was a seven year old little girl that had me reevaluating this whole fatherhood thing and  wondering if I could survive the prison sentence that would come with kicking  a seven year old out of my car in front of the courthouse and screeching off at top speed.  I mean, any judge worth his robes would realize that I slowed down enough to minimize her injuries after all and be lenient with me, right?

Once a cooler head prevailed though, thoughts like that were replaced with the thought that breaking down this particular barricade was a necessity if our relationship was ever going to grow and if she was to ever be that little lady that I knew she could be.  I decided to be an adult.  Ultimately, I was going to have to stand firm and force it down.  Little did I know, that the timing of the fall was going to be TOTALLY up to her, and that I was just an extra in  this scene in God’s big stage play for her.

One afternoon, the phone rings. I answer.  It was one of her school teachers. Now this was a new one for us in my house.  We had never gotten any calls from any teachers about the girls’ behavior (I guess Kee, my youngest, hadn’t yet grown into her evil powers yet…but more on that later.)  Anyway, the teacher goes into explaining to me how Tee was taking up for her sister who she felt was being harassed by another student on the playground.  Tee threatened to give the girl “a bloody nose” if she didn’t leave her little sister alone.  The scary thing about that was that it probably wasn’t just an idle threat.  Knowing her as I had grown to know her, I knew she meant every single word…no dotted I, no crossed T was an exaggeration.  She promised a bloody nose, and she would deliver a bloody nose.  Point blank.   So I had to handle this tactfully.  I apologized profusely to the teacher, promised her that I was going to take care of it and did my best to relax her fears of having a student with a bloody nose sitting in her class the next day. Then I called my oldest into my room with me and prayed that this wouldn’t cause this lil girl to go all Incredible Hulk on the other little girl the next day.

I sat her on my knee, and decided to shoot straight from the hip.  “Baby, I understand that you have had to fight for almost as far back as you can remember.  You’ve had to be an adult even though you don’t understand how, but you don’t have to do it anymore. Now you have a Mommy and a Daddy to do that for you.  You don’t have to fight your own fights anymore.  Let us help you.”  That’s when the first bricks started to fall, and it provided me with one of the most beautiful moments of my life, one that I will never forget.

She took in a deep breath.  Her shoulders started to heave up and down, and the tears started to flow.  She cried like nothing I had ever heard before.  It was heart wrenching.  There was no gradual building up to it, she opened the faucet all the way, and out it all came…full force.  You could feel the pain in her sobs, and it was soon joined with my own sobs as I sat there holding her little face to my chest and trying to choke back my own emotions long enough to console her.  I could feel her letting go of years of pain and hurt…too much pain and hurt for so young a soul to handle on its own.  And at that moment, I was starting to become more than  a stranger in this relationship…I was starting to replace the barrier with a bridge that would take me from “that guy” to Dad.  We sat there for about 45 minutes, sharing in each other’s tears, and relishing the formation of this new team.

I remember sitting in the living room a few days later when they came home from school, and she called me into a room with just her.  Then she hit me with “You know what, Daddy?  No one is going to ever bother me again.  You know why?  ‘Cause I’m a McDuffie and Mcduffies stick up for each other.”   I mean, I’m a man and all…and I’m a pretty cool one if you ask me, but a brother had to leave the room QUICK!  You ever have one of those times when you cry out of sheer, unbridled joy?  Oh yeah, that was one for me, and she’s been Tee McDuffie ever since.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

A Daddy’s Covenant to His Daughter

So I was thinking, if I could put everything that was in my heart about raising my daughters into one set of commandments, what would it be.  This is what I came up with.  It’s called A Daddy’s Covenant to His Daughter.  If you can think of anything that I’ve missed, please feel free to leave them in the comments.  If you don’t have any additions, or comments, and you’d like to be a part of the “movement” of becoming Daddy and not solely a Father, feel free to print it out, sign and date it and put it somewhere safe.  Pull it out and read it at least once a week.  When I did it, I was pleasently surprised at  how it positively affected the way that  I dealt with my girls.  I think you will be too.

…………………..

A Daddy’s Covenant to His Daughter

1)      I will strive to be the example of a good man, husband, and father for my daughter; realizing that I am the measurement by which she will use to judge her adult relationships.

2)      In all conversation, in all actions, in all exchanges, I will focus on showing my daughter her true value as a strong Black princess.

3)      I will always take care to remember that my daughter has limitless potential.

4)      I will work to recognize and live up to my role in her life as a father.

5)      I will work towards developing a strong sense of self worth within my daughter.

6)      I will endeavor to make my time, her time, giving her the attention that she needs and deserves.

7)      I promise not to make my desire to provide for my family financially more important than providing for it spiritually.

8)      I will empower my daughter to have her own mind, and the temperance to wield it wisely.

9)      I will teach my daughter that she is above stereotypes and, as such, is impossible to box in, and is beyond labels.

10)  I will teach my daughter that she is too valuable to settle for less than the best.

11)  I promise that my daughter will, without doubt, KNOW her place in my heart.

12)  I will teach my daughter that the only reason she has to hold her head down is when it’s bowed in prayer…never in shame, never in self doubt.

 

 

My Personal Pledge to You, My Daughter

Signature___________________________________    Date_______________     Time_______________

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Chapter 1: What is This Book and How to Use It?

Chapter 1: What is This Book and How to Use It?

Essentially this book is divided into three parts.  The first, and most important part, is that it is a guidebook for Daddies to help them (US) develop better, stronger relationships with our daughters.  It’s a book that will help foster and  guide meaningful conversations and help daddies understand how important it is for them to sometimes go into their daughters’ worlds instead of just bringing them into theirs.  I learned that it’s really good for a Dad to see the world through his daughter’s eyes sometimes…and that they appreciate it more than we know  when we do.  It’s amazing the amount of pressure that young girls face nowadays, and in order for us to help them traverse the formidable waters between childhood, and womanhood, we have to see the obstacles that they see…from THEIR point of view, not just the ones that WE see from ours.

Secondly, the book is a hair care guide.  A lot of times, when I was sending my girls off to school with ponytails that looked like handlebars, or curling half of their hair over and the other half under with the flat iron, or just picking their shampoos based solely on how pretty the bottles were,  (or, even worse, just how they smelled) I WISHED that  was some kind of guidebook SOMEWHERE that could help me.  Okay, you can admit it, if you’re reading THIS…you did the same things that I did…Man up!

Third, and my personal favorite part, is that it’s a keepsake book.  Throughout the book, there are lined pages for Daddies to write their notes, little pockets to put in keepsakes like barrettes and little scraps of hair, pages for your daughters to doodle on while you’re doing their hair and countless other things. This brings us to the ULTIMATE goal of this book.  It is something that you can hand over to your daughter on one of the most important days of her life; graduation, wedding day, birth of the first child….whatever.  What THIS will accomplish is priceless.  It will show your daughter that she was important enough for you to WORK on this for her for years.  It will give her insight into your thoughts about her and your endless love for her, and it will be something that she can share with HER kids…to show her son what it is like to be a Dad, and for her Daughter to see the measure of a REAL man.

So, make sure that you use the book to its fullest.  Don’t ONLY write about your strengths and triumphs, but write about your failures, your fears,  and your faults.  Give your daughter the FULL picture of a real man.  Make sure that one day, she’ll understand the importance behind her Daddy thinking she was important enough to sit down, do her hair, and get to know her.  Remember, you are the mold that men will have to fit for the rest of her life.  Make it a strong one.

 

Hair ,Hurt and Healing –The Purpose of this book

 

I have two beautiful daughters.  One is 18 years old now and the third is 17.  When they were younger, I took great pride in being able to do their hair.  There was NOTHING fancy about the hair dos (or hair DON’Ts, depending on the point of view) that I gave to my girls, mind you.  In fact, on my very BEST days, my handiwork was barely even passable.   It can be safely said that there were many, many ponytail days at our household…and most of them CROOKED ponytail days.  However, whenever I would take the time to do their hair, I would notice something…something VERY unexpected:  Whenever I took the time to do their hair, they TALKED to me…and not just surface talk, but they would tell me about their days, their fears, their thoughts…I was finding my way into THEIR world, and they were letting me in.

In writing this book, which is not just about doing hair, but about building strong relationships between Daddies and daughters, I realized that we have a problem.  Now I know it is  a WELL documented fact that we are in a fight for our young Black men. We inhabit prisons at a ridiculously disproportionate rate.  We kill each other off like we’re getting paid for it.  We’re more likely to go to prison than college, and the list goes on.  We’ve been in arms about this for YEARS.  However, my question is this, who’s trying to save our daughters?!?!?

Friends, I present to you that our daughters are being attacked also, often times as a result of the problems mentioned earlier…There IS no man in the home if he is in prison.  There are no  positive role models by which to judge their boyfriends and husbands if they’re all out there shooting up our neighborhoods, or getting killed off by just stepping innocently outside their own door.

Now, I was talking to a young sister the other day, and through the course of our conversation, it became PAINFULLY evident, that her sole goal in life was to become a model…not the type of model that you see on America’s Next Top Model…but a hip hop video vixen type of model.  Somewhere along the line, we’ve let our daughters become convinced that their worth is determined by if she can “Drop it Like it’s Hot”; that their minds, hearts, and intellects don’t matter, ‘cuz men will fall “…in Love With a Stripper”.  We’ve let their minds become accepting that their surname is “Bitch” and their given name is “Ho”.  Yeah, I’ve heard all the tired, same old arguments about freedom of speech and reflecting what goes on in the Black community and keeping it real, and yadda, yadda, yadda…. but there comes a time when keeping it real, equates to, as my Mama says, “…just keeping it real “ig’nant”.

Now, I think it is time that all of us that call ourselves men, including yours truly, to step up, and accept responsibility as men for not just our sons, but our daughters as well.  We need to make a commitment to our daughters that we will not allow them to have their worth determined by anyone other than God.  We need to commit ourselves to ensuring that our daughters realize their worth is more than as some piece of meat to be draped across the hood of a car on some magazine cover, or laid out on the deck of some boat for some hip hop artist to disrespect by pouring champagne over her or by swiping a credit card down her hind parts.

Now before I start getting smacked with the criticism that I’m expecting, allow me to be the first to say that I’ve watched the videos…heck, I ENJOYED the videos. I’ve uttered the “B word”  and Ho out of both jest and anger.  I’ve talked junk about my conquests to my boys, and overall, I’m still a work in progress, but I think that if we are truly honest with ourselves we can work towards fixing this.  And since a reformed, renewed, revived, and restored former crackhead is the best to give advice about why one should not smoke crack, I offer up my insight in regards to not promoting disgusting, destructive, disingenuous, disheartening, degrading images for our lil girls.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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