Think back to the beginning, when the break-up with your co-parent was still a raw, unhealed wound and everyone seemed to be taking turns throwing salt into it. Stormy predictions about your future were coming in from all sides, and, because this was all so new — pregnancy, co-parenting, and/or solo parenting, you weren’t […]
So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now— — Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son“ We know you’re still hurting, mamas. When the Zimmerman trial verdict was announced last weekend, so many parents were left bewildered, anguished, and bereft. We know […]
Our Affirming Black and Brown Fatherhood Series concludes today, with a post by Mark C. Coston, who was primarily raised by his paternal grandfather. His piece, cross-posted from his blog, Junkyard Salvation, is especially resonant for those dealing with loss, those who are beholden to extended family and non-relative father figures, and those whose emotional […]
Our Affirming Black and Brown Fatherhood Series concludes this weekend, with some final reflections on Father’s Day. We couldn’t be happier with the responses we’ve published from our featured fathers and the feedback we’ve received from our readers. (Special thanks to PostBourgie for crossposting both Roger’s and Stefan’s features.) Because no one site can cover […]
Our Affirming Black and Brown Fatherhood Series has gotten such great response this week that we’re adding a second featured unmarried dad today. This is Stefan Malliet, a 32-year-old Brooklyn native and father to three-year-old son Kyle. We were struck by Stefan’s candor and insights, particularly as it relates to his rocky road toward harmonious co-parenting, his thoughts on animus between black unmarried mothers and fathers, and his insights about single mothers raising sons.
BBM: What’s one specific way in which fatherhood has changed you or your outlook on life?
The biggest change that comes to mind is the way that Kyle has become a huge portion of the context for EVERY decision I make. Whereas I used to be a relatively go-with-the-flow person, I now make sure that I take time to consider how any decisions in front of me would affect him; his present and his future. For instance: Who, how and when I date are extremely important now. While I have always (at least casually) considered the potential for positive influence in the women I’ve dealt with, now I specifically think about “is this the kind of person I would want around my son?” I’ve found that there are certain associates who I’ve decided not to deal with any more because of that reason.
BBM: Did you have an immediate idea of the kind of father you’d want to be?
There was one thing I knew about fatherhood as it pertained to myself: I would not run away. For better or worse, that was about as far as I had thought about it. I knew that I wanted children at some point, but hadn’t necessarily thought about what that actually means in real life terms. Once it came to pass that my turn was coming, I decided that I’d be – at the very least – someone who my son will be able to look up to. That means clearing out a lot of the cobwebs, old hurts, and bad habits that tend to build up over a lifetime of not necessarily dealing with them.
BBM: What is your relationship with your own father like?
I didn’t have a relationship with my father; I never met him. My “father” was my grandfather (mother’s father) and he is my hero. He passed on when I was just about to turn 16, which was unfortunate because I was just entering into that time where the transition from boy to man should have been starting. Fortunately, I feel as I have remembered enough of his examples and his words that I was able to integrate them into my journey. In short, that relationship was probably one of the most important thus far.