Name: Stan Robinson | City: Alexandria, VA | IG: @substantialmusic
What does being a father mean to you?
To me, being a father means being a leader, provider, protector, an active listener, a resource to your family and having the ability to learn as much as you teach. It’s the greatest and most important job a man can ever have.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My father was only present for roughly five years of my life. My mother put him out when I was four and when I was nine, he moved back in but died months later from cancer. I remember him as intimidating. He had a violent temper. He ruled with a heavy voice, leather belt and an iron fist. I feared him more than I loved him.
Even when he wasn’t always there, I don’t remember my mother ever speaking poorly about him. Before he passed, he made arrangements to make sure that my mom had financial support from him until I was 18. It wasn’t a lot but I remember my mom often saying how much it helped. That was the first time I realized the importance of legacy and providing even beyond death.
Honestly, I think the greatest impact on me came from my Uncle Azeezudin and my friend’s fathers. My mom, to her credit, recognized the importance of strong men being in my life. She sent me to stay with my uncle in Cali for a Summer and he taught me about the importance of daily exercise, holistic health and self defense. She also allowed me to spend a lot time with my friends fathers and step-fathers who taught me so much and as a teenager showed me what it meant to be there for your family for better or worse.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I felt that some of the best dads I met had healthy relationships with their wives or the mother of their children. I knew that relationship would be key in not only our children’s development but my development as a father and a man. So, I put my wife first because our children are a product of our relationship not the other way around. The state of our relationship spreads to our children whether it’s healthy or not. So we work on our relationship as hard as a we work to raise our kids.
A simple thing I took from when I was a small child was eating together at the table which something we do in our home, not just on Sundays or for dinner but nearly everyday for every meal if possible. My experience with this as a kid was brief and ended once my mom became a single mother but I remember the joy it brought me seeing us all together.
The negative that I turned into a positive is my temper. I have my moments where I raise my voice and I’m sometimes short with my children. I am my father’s son but there are parts of him that I have to let die with him. I don’t want my children to live in fear of me. Of course I want them to know that there are consequences for their actions but there’s a difference between the fear of getting an “ass-whippin” and the fear of not meeting your parents reasonable expectations of you. I want my children to respect themselves as much as they respect me.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.
Most of my obstacles have thankfully been minor. A few scares like falls, bumps and bruises with the occasional hospital visit. The most challenging part in those moments in not panicking and keeping it together so that you help your child remain calm.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
Always be prepared to lead but make sure your partner is the kind of person you’d follow at a moment’s notice. A wise person knows that you don’t always have to be in the front to lead and that there is always more to learn.
Also, there’s something I do in my circle of friends called a “Prep Party”. Prep stands for preparation. We typically have it a week after the baby shower. A bunch of fathers and young men in the family get together to discuss fatherhood with the expecting father and help them put together the items they received at the baby shower and also prep the home/nursery for the baby.
Lastly, love is an action and you are to remain active in their lives until your dying day. Your absence is as impactful as your presence so make sure your love is not only spoken but always felt. It should be unmistakeable.
If you wanted to write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
I wish you could see your grandkids. I wish you could have met my wife. I’ve done a lot in my life but the family I’ve built with these three are my greatest achievement by far. Our happiness is the greatest indicator of my success. I wanted more from you but I believe you did the best with what you had and for that I thank you.
Name some other fathers you cosign.