'Cradle to Careers,' Happy Father's Day
By: Archie Wortham

“I hope you have children just like you my mom told us and I wondered why she would say such a thing. Then years later, as they say, payback is a you-know-what.

Things have changed from the time when there was a trifecta of concern for our children. You didn’t have to wonder if you did something at school if your parents knew by the time you got home. Even the cows and chickens knew by the way you got off the bus. Remember this was before texting and many people didn’t have TV. It was like there was a carrier pigeon or drums that silenced the trees concerning your mischievousness at school.

The trifecta? Besides the teachers knowing what you’d done, the entire church would get involved and God forbid you had an ancestral legion living in your house.

“Back in the day” people were more inclined to get involved; mind the business of children they cared about, and unlike Dr. Julia Hares, noted professor and speaker on the education of black children commented about today’s sad state of affairs. Back in the day, no one was scared of the children. Grown folks, like Tyler Perry’s Madea ‘owned’ you, and retribution was very much like the type of slap the single mom gave her son for being involved in the rioting in Baltimore.

My mom’s blessing or maybe curse would have been okay if we’d had parents and teachers like the ones we had when I went to school, when the village raised the children. Everyone was focused on achievement through education. No one told you “You don’t have to listen to your parents,” as one teacher once told my elder son. That village makes a difference, especially when you get children like you and you don’t have the soldierly reserve our parents had to help win the war.

Ten years ago I finished my dissertation; accomplished a dream that had been mine since I could remember. Ten years ago I began a trek to help others find why some fathers had sons who went on to college and others did not. It was a simple answer. Entrenched deeply in the idea there was a ‘prize’ each father had his ‘eye’ on and they proposed that idea to their sons early. My research led me to conclude that all fathers want to equip their sons to take their position in society.

I talked to several dads. It was all the same. It didn’t matter how much they made. It didn’t matter their level of education. It didn’t matter where they lived. They wanted their children to succeed and they wanted to do whatever they could to make that happen. They produced as best they could children like them.

My studies resulted in a paradigm that can be used from “cradle to career” by dads who care, trying to give America something that represents the best in the country, dads who are focused, loving and there.

My model involved five stages and I've talked about it for years each one. I have shared my successes and failures on how I tried to implement these stages. I've talked about the issue that is the most decisive tool we have to bring our country back. I've given ideas on how you can take the children God gave you and ways to help foster a kinship that will nurture the families they choose to have whether they are biracial, gay, or like the one you grew up in. The village is all the same, just different faces.

The model is called NIOBE. And though it might take some effort on your part I feel as we face another father’s day, dads need to take stock of ‘N’ and identify a new awareness of what it means to be a dad today. We are not our dads, things are different and we need to realize that. We have to acknowledge once we take the cloak of that new awareness, we must be intentional about that new awareness.

That’s the ‘I’ in the model. The next part discussed in this series will be ownership. We have enabled rather than empowered our sons. Emasculated and weakened our boys. We need to learn to stop that, and understand the importance of saying no. That’s where the ‘B’ or bi-stewardship comes in. We do less as we let them learn to become self-actualized, the ‘E,’ equipped young men ready to slay dragons.

This is what I've been and will be doing as long as God gives me breath and understand there is a distinct reason each of us are the father of the children we have. God doesn't make junk and He doesn't make mistakes. And as a dad who cares and I wish you a Happy Father’s Day!