Name: Hakeem Croom City: Anaheim, California | IG @king_jubal
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father means life’s purpose, destiny, legacy, further self-discovery, challenge, responsibility, leadership, and an opportunity to change the trajectory of my family through the next generation. Being a father means a role that I have been chosen to fulfill, and an assignment that has been gifted and bestowed to me from God. Being a father means everything to me.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My experience with my father was one of fortune, friction, and forgiveness. I was extremely fortunate to be one of the only black boys in my neighborhood who came from a two-parent household, with an active and present father. My father was a complicated man who struggled in succumbing to the ills of the double consciousness of a Black man trying to provide for his family. Those ills led him down a path of substance abuse for the majority of his life. Herein lies the friction that permeated our relationship. As I became older and started to matriculate into manhood, I grew upset and disappointed in my father for his behavior and life choices rooted in his battle with addiction. Through this friction, I had to step outside of myself and look at life through his lens as a Black Man who didn’t have the tools to cope with the blows of life any other way, and who chose to live his life on his own terms. I gained more perspective in stepping out of myself and changing my focus to all the things my father did do versus didn’t do for me and the rest of my family. Changing my focus brought me peace and gratitude for the things my father did provide vs didn’t provide to me and my family. Changing my focus made me realize that what he did do and what he did provide vastly outweighed what he didn’t do and didn’t provide to me as a man. This process gave me the ability to forgive my father and cherish the privilege I had as a Black Boy in having an active and present father in my life!
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I’ve taken a plethora of things from my experience growing up into my fatherhood journey. Some of those things include A love for music, education, Black History and Culture. A love for family, and pride in being a father and a committed husband. A sound moral, principle, and value system. I am taking my Father’s financial struggles and his inability to take care of his mental and physical health, by committing to creating generational wealth for my family, staying active physically, and taking care of my mental health so that I can be the best version of myself for my son.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
Like many dads, I have had obstacles such as feeling like I’m not doing enough at times, and difficulty with balancing all of the roles and capacities I serve in-in my personal and professional life.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
Congratulations on one of your greatest accomplishments in life, fatherhood! There is nothing like being a Dad! You have what it takes, and you are enough. Embrace every second of your journey as a father as it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. Be intentional about taking care of your mind, body, and spirit so that you can be your best self for your child. Make memories and create your second childhood while leading your family. Take time to connect with other Fathers for support, bonding, and perspective when you need it.
You will make mistakes along the way. You will have stressful moments. You will be tired mentally and physically at times, but always remember that you were chosen to fill this role and chosen for a reason. Stay encouraged! I wish you nothing but an abundance of joyous moments, happiness, growth, clarity, good health, and prosperity as you enter into this next chapter of Daddy life! Cheers to reppin’ the hood; Fatherhood!
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Thank you! Thank you for bringing me into this world, loving me, molding me, and shaping me as a man. I was blessed to grow up in a two-parent household and to have learned what the true value of family was. We didn’t have much money, but we had love and an unbreakable family bond, and that’s all I could ever ask for. Thank you for doing your best in trying to provide for us. Thank you for taking care of your responsibilities as a man and tending to your children. Thank you for physically being there. Thank you for checking my homework and signing it every night. Thank you for teaching me to love Black History and Culture. Thank you for teaching me to be respectful to my elders. Thank you for the many life lessons you taught me. You were and continue to be a rock in my life. I am who I am because of you. I am forever indebted to you. I love you deeply and was extremely fortunate to have you in my life!
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