Name: Clay James | City: Atlanta, GA | IG: @WhoIsClayJames
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father to me just means being there for guidance, emotional support, and financial assistance for your child/children. If you have a son being a father means teaching him to be a great man, a responsible man, a providing man, and an improved version of yourself. If you have a daughter being a father means showing your daughter how any man entering her life should be treating her. Treat your daughter like a princess/queen so that she will expect nothing less from the men she comes in contact with.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
I didn’t really have a relationship with my father growing up. I didn’t meet him until I was in college and we’ve been building on our relationship ever since. I always wanted a dad and a relationship with him when I was younger but it just didn’t work out that way. That impacted the way I move with my son today. I don’t ever want my son to feel like I felt when I was a kid. So I make sure I don’t miss anything my and I’m always there when he needs me.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
From not having my dad around growing up I learned everything I didn’t want to be as a father. I learned I didn’t want to be absent from my child’s life. I’ll never miss anything school or sports related for my son because I remember those days my dad wasn’t at those types of things growing up.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
Yeah my biggest obstacle was a rocky relationship with my child’s mom in beginning. We are just alike so we used to tend to bump heads a lot in the beginning and let that affect how much time I was spending with my son in the beginning. As a man it’s your job to lead, so I knew I needed to get past my emotions I was feeling towards her so that I could have a healthy relationship with my son. Ever since I did that, things have been great with her and my son. We have a very healthy co-parenting relationship.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
It’s not easy. But please stick around. Kids need their fathers, especially boys. And to be more specific little black boys. A lot of issues in our society probably could’ve have been deterred early if fathers were in their sons lives. Same with daughters, a father’s love could do a lot in the development of what kind of woman she grows up to be. Just be present. No matter how busy you are, just be present. Spend time. Be understanding, although we want our kids to be better than us we must understand it’s a process and like us they are human. They will make mistakes, it’s up to you to correct those mistakes and teach them better. I would suggest to be stern but don’t be to strict because you want your children not to be afraid of you. If their afraid they may be too scared to express to you when they are going through some real ish and you are the person they need to be able to come to.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
I don’t care why you weren’t there. But I love you and appreciate the fact you’re here now. Although you weren’t around I still know that some of your genes and character traits is the reason I’m successful today and for that I’m appreciative. I look forward to continuing to build on our relationship.
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