Wesley MCKenzie

Wesley MCKenzie

Wesley shares that he believed that father hood was going to be hard, but for him it’s a natural innate thing. He also says that men who are not involved are truly missing out on one of the most important things in life. Fatherhood has also taught him a thing or 2 about masculinity. Especially in a world that has it’s own definition of what it means to be male.

“That true masculinity is the ability and willingness to be vulnerable. To not only display strength but also show weakness, to show true humanity.”

Lenzy and Lauryn

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Lenzy and Lauryn

I have seen many poor painting that say fatherhood is going extinct, especially in the black community. Is fatherlessness a real issue? Of course, but I am convinced that there are more present fathers of color in the picture than we are shown. We are all aware that mother's get the glory. From the jokes in t.v shows about mother's day compared to father's day. or father's who "babysit" their own children.  I had the blessing of a present and loving father. The first feature of "Dad Diary's" is Lenzy and his daughter Lauryn.

“One thing I want my daughter to remember is that, she has everything she needs to be successful. It is up to her to make the choice to succeed. It will be challenging, and she's brilliant and will succeed.”

These affirming words come for a very involved father. Lenzy Crawford. Lenzy is a single father with a solid relationship with his daughter’s mom. Lenzy works for an educational non-profit some of his hobbies are spending a lot of time with Lauryn, reading, listening to music, and playing basketball.

“My father was not in my life since I was about 6. I've spoken to him sporadically lately, but as far and being a parent figure, he was not involved. “

I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face while reading Lenzy’s answers. You can see his love for his daughter as he answers the questions.

As the cliche goes,

“ I want to give my daughter all the things I never had, and I'm very particular about those things. One of those things is simply being present. She needs to know that I’m involved in every facet of her life and so do those that interact with her. “
I often hear of how parenting affects the way a person lives and thinks. Lenzy gives some insight on how fatherhood as influenced the way he lives. Lenzy said the first time he saw his daughter. . .  “I cried! I cried the ugliest cry ever!! And I'm really not an emotional person. I remember Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" playing over and over in my head. I like the song before but couldn't relate to it until that moment.”

Some people believe that simply being present is enough, but I would argue all day that being present isn’t enough. Lenzy shares that he wanted to be an involved father.

“My daughter has so much charisma, that I have no choice but to be part of what she has going on. “The thing that defines fatherhood for me is how I manage to help raise my daughter despite challenges that may come about. “

I may not be a parent but I would be naïve to believe that it was a fairy tale and a walk in the park! Working with kids who are not my own have proven difficult in and of itself. I am half scared to even imagine the challenges that would arise when you have your own flesh and blood to raise. Lenzy shares that a difficulty he faces is in the area of discipline and the good ole spanking.

“ I'm from the era of "whoopings" (though I never received one) but the logic behind what I was taught was discipline, doesn't make sense to me. I've also worked for the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood program, where, I served as a facilitator and case manager for fathers that were pooling resources to become more effective in their children's lives. While doing that work, we wrestled with the concept of discipline which we found means to teach and guide. And as means to teach and guide, I talk to my daughter when she does well and when she struggles. I employ reasonable consequence for actions (both positive and negative) while never drawing on whooping's as the method to teach and guide my daughter. ?

When the topic of society and their portrayals of father hood come up Lenzy does not take society seriously.

“It seems as though much of what goes on is founded in consumerism and inaccurate portrayals of people that evoke biased or prejudiced sentiments. I can maybe think of two commercials of if black fathers being shown as such, despite our commander in chief being the most renown display of black fatherhood. “

Challenges have also presented themselves because of the non traditional house hold that they have.  Lenzy juggles his responsibilities by “continuing develop a sense of autonomy through work and personal life.”

“ I'm always thinking long term while trying to be effective in the short term through accomplishing goals.”

Lenzy believed the myth that fatherhood made men more serious and more responsible. He sees that sometimes this is the case but some fathers just continue on living their lives the same way they were before they were responsible for another’s life.

I was curious about the distinctions between masculinity and fatherhood. Clearly I don’t understand the mentality of men. Yet I sometimes see the changes a man goes through when they have children specifically daughters. We joke and say she will make you soft. I would argue soft is not the correct term. She is simply bringing out a side or bringing out more of a side that is already rooted in the man. The gentle side of a man that people try to suppress.

Lenzy shares that Fatherhood has taught him that masculinity is just a word.

“Raising my daughter has made me take things more serious and really examine the way I live and the life I want for her.”
“It's taught me that, masculinity can be used as an ideology people use to create that separation. And what's interesting is that, “I know for a fact, every father that I know with a daughter, relishes the opportunity to have a tea party with their baby or almost becomes emotional at the idea of a bee stinging her!”
In light of parents embracing different things about themselves when it comes to parenting I think we sometimes dismiss children because they are children. They actually are able to teach us the adults.

Lenzy admires his daughter's charisma. “She really wins people over fast. She's also very sharp and quick-witted. Very tactful at times!! It's weird!! She gives ME propositions at times, and after listening, I'm like "wait a minute" realizing she's in the process of "working" me!! I love that little girl so much!!!”

Parenting I believe is a mystery. Humans are complex creations and raising them brings a million challenges and opportunities of its own.

“Fatherhood has vastly improved my spirituality. Just the fact that, she's in school and involved in camps and extra curricular activities and I can't control what she's exposed to. I really have to rely on values that myself and her mom have instilled in her with the hopes that she make wise decisions. It's a relief that, I know God is watching her and that she is learning about God so her conscience is very active within her decision making. Of course she'll "bump her head" if you will, but my goal is for her to have the fortitude to get back up, dust herself off, and keep going.”

Lenzy does what needs to be done to make sure that Lauryn’s needs are met !!

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