Bust Your Ass

You want to know the best parenting lesson I’ve learned? (Aside from CTFD, obvs.)

You need to bust your ass. All the time.

Tired? Stressed? Struggling to make ends meet? Welcome to parenting. Hell, welcome to life in general.

The thing is, as parents, we have a life or lives for which we must care. So, be tired, be stressed, struggle financially. But also, bust your ass. Never be satisfied with things as they are. Learn, reach, strive, excel. Show your kids that you’ll never stop fighting for them.

Yes, we’re all exhausted all the time and mustering the energy or courage to do battle with the day may seem impossible, but we should keep looking for ways to make our lives better—even if that happens incrementally—because that makes our kids’ lives better.

So, find time to rest, and then…

Bust. Your. Ass.

‘Project Fatherhood’ Teaches Parenting Skills To Inner-City Dads

Today former L.A. gang member Mike Cummings joins us.  After doing time in prison, Cummings is now a community activist and pastor working in L.A.’s Watts neighborhood, helping former gang members become better fathers through a program called “Project Fatherhood”.  His partner in the effort is social welfare professor Jorja Leap.  She’s studied gang violence and Watts, where, she says, many parents buy life insurance for their young children:

“They didn’t believe their children might live very long lives.  And they bought the life insurance, by the way, not to make money, but to pay for their funeral expenses.”

More about Project Fatherhood

Study finds that parenting reinforces traditional gender roles.

A study published in the June issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family followed a group of college-educated heterosexual couples who reported evenly dividing household labor before having children. The men and women worked full-time and each did about 14.5 hours of housework per week. However, nine months after childbirth, everything had changed.

For Real, I Just Had This Exchange With My 6-Year-Old
  • Wyatt:I want those kids to play tag with me.
  • Me:Why don't you go ask them?
  • Wyatt:I'm too nervous to ask.
  • Me:What? You're the most outgoing kid I know.
  • Wyatt:No, I'm nervous a lot, so I just try to look cute and see if they come to me.
  • Me:Oh, yeah?
  • Wyatt:Yeah. It works for me most of the time.
10

Zun LeeFather Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

Widely hailed as a landmark project, Zun Lee’s monograph is at once documentary photography and personal visual storytelling. Through intimate black-and-white frames, Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of African-descended family life. 

Zun Lee’s Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood is an incredible and necessary visual narrative. The images in this series provide balance and insight into a growing problem facing African American communities today. Zun’s critical eye has a deeply rooted connection to this story, allowing the viewer to see the often-invisible fathers, who strive to be providers and protectors for their children. All too often, these types of images never make the local news or mainstream media; however his work serves as a form of visual medicine to help in the healing process of so many in today’s society who are searching for answers to an ever growing concern. – Jamel Shabazz

The reader gains an intimate view into the daily lives of black men whom Lee has worked with since 2011 and who are parenting under a variety of circumstances – as married fathers, single fathers, social fathers, young and older, middle class and poorer. Lee brings into focus what pervasive father absence stereotypes have distorted – real fathers who are involved in their children’s lives. Men who may not be perfect but are not media caricatures.