Pierce Freelon says “I get to be the teacher and the student” when being a Father

Name: Pierce Freelon | City: Durham, NC | IG: @piercefreelon

What does being a father mean to you?

Being a Dad is so much fun! I get to be the teacher and the student. The disciplinarian and the boo-boo kisser. My kids are hilarious and creative. They’re cool people to be around and I love who they’re becoming.

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Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.

My Dad was so loving. We lost his physical body to ALS about a year ago but his spiritual presence is still very strong. He used to take me into the woods and ask me to listen to the environment. To close my eyes and absorb the sounds of the chirping birds and rustling leaves. To feel the breeze against my skin and to smell the bark and the moss and the pollen in the air. He taught me how to be present and to appreciate the vast beauty of life. This was something his father did with him, and is something I’ve done with my son. It is such a wonderful part of my inheritance.

What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?

Things I took from my experience growing up was that I knew my Dad would do whatever to protect me and to equip me with the tools to build the house. For him he gave me the tools and also wanted me to do it his way. What I take into my fatherhood is also equipping my children with the tools but allowing them to build whatever interest them however they would like to.

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?

Here’s another lesson from my Pops: there are no such things as obstacles. There are only opportunities. Every challenge is an opportunity to get better, to learn a new way to communicate or problem-solve. No parent is perfect, of course there will be frustrating days, and times where you make a poor decision. But if you learn from it, it becomes part of your resilience toolkit moving forward.

What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?

Practice empathy. Black men in America aren’t trained by society to express love and and embrace vulnerability in healthy ways. We were told not to cry or teased for being a “pussy” by our uncles or homies. We need to get back to embracing our natural healing, nurturing vibrations. It’s such an important part of raising healthy children.

If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?

Dear Father, you did everything you were supposed to do. You fulfilled your purpose and left your children and grandchildren with a Wonderful foundation and legacy to build from. We’ll take it from here. See you on the other side.

Name some other fathers you cosign.

1 @jgunnisbetter
2 @everydayjamar
3 @4the_cru
4 @kidethnic
5 @iambriandawson

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