Name: Louis Macarthur City: Los Angeles, CA | Instagram: @LouisMacarthur
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father means that God has entrusted in me so much; that He gave me, not only, the ability to create life but He also imparted the wisdom, grace, and essential tools needed to directly shape another person’s life. Fatherhood was my initial encounter with unconditional love.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My experience growing up is not full of great moments from a father. Instead, I recall his absence and the communication via letters with illustrations from various prisons. However, as my father weathered through the penial systems — he took those circumstances to began working towards bettering his life. I never fully understood the significance of the barriers and/or injustices that my father endured just trying to survive himself as a Black man in America. Through trial and error; and an overflowing heart of forgiveness — we have worked through discrepancies and completed the work to create a healthy relationship with one another as adults. Our relationship has equipped me with tools that I use to establish healthy, effective relationship traits with my daughter.
What things/tools/gems did you take from your experience growing up into your Fatherhood journey today?
Everything! The good, bad, and ugly.
I reward my child for excellence — because I want to set a standard where she goals to exceeds expectations. All of the fundamentals from life, education and sports. I use the shortcomings that I experienced with my father to motivate me to be better as a father. I simply show up! I establish an open line of communication; all while equipping my child with therapy and encouraging her with positive outlets to effectively communicate her thoughts, emotions and feelings. Any area where I feel like my dad lacked; I’m adamant about being present with the life I created. It is my choice to solidify a healthy relationship and habits; even if I am learning on the go. Also, I take all the negativity I encountered; I utilize instances as checkpoints to check on the everyday welfare of my daughter. I don’t expect people to treat my kid the way that I necessarily was treated growing up in the 90s — however, opening up the lines of communication has served invaluable to help prevent my offspring from finding themselves in similar situations. All the positive and negative aspects of growing up without proper guidance help to make me more attentive and active as a father.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.
Plenty! Everyday has been an ongoing battle filled with insecurities. Becoming a father exposed multiple areas where I needed healing. Being a single parent was not the ideal route, but in life I’ve learn we must play the hand that is dealt. Insecurities from not physically seeing my child every single day to finances cloud my mind daily. The facade that I am absent just like my dad was; not creating a family environment for my child — all of these things serve as stumbling blocks. But I consistently put in efforts to go above and beyond to let my kid know that Daddy is always accessible. I can be on the first flight out to anywhere! Overall, I’ve learned to suppress other people’s projections of how I should be as a father; and I began to tap into the resources God has equipped me with: my heart, compassion, and vulnerability. All of these things make it more easy to communicate with my pre-teen and often shows that the majority of the time; I’m usually super hard on myself.
What advice would you give other Fathers on their journey?
If a child doesn’t inspire you to be better; then nothing else will. Be willing to sacrifice. Stay open to correction — being an active, Black father does not come with a manual. A great majority of us are taking on the responsibilities like a crash course; with little to no instructions. Don’t be so hard on yourself and always be vulnerable with your children. Your vulnerability will create a line of communication where your journey as a father will be both educational and fruitful. Be willing to give up things that matter when putting the kid as a priority. Selfless actions and compassion are key ingredients to a working relationship with the tiny humans God has blessed us with. Let’s direct not dictate.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
As I reflect in my 30s, I understand how hard life has been on you. I have forgiven you for what I considered shortcomings in my life — I see that you were doing the best you could navigating the cards you was dealt. I am proud of you. You are fearless. You are resilient. You are a hardworker and you are a protector of all things you are passionate about. Im glad I acquired all these skills from you. Your character outweighs your reputation. You pour so much into other people and we have never seen you empty. Thank you for the life lessons. Please, kick back and let life blossom all the seeds you have planted in this Earth’s soil.