1. I will work to be the best father I can be. Fathering is a daily mission, and there are no substitutes for good fathers. Since I have not been taught to be a father, in order to make my “on the job” training easier, I will study, listen, observe and learn from my mistakes.
2. I will openly display love and caring for my wife and children. I will listen to my wife and children. I will hug and kiss my children often. I will be supportive of the mother of my children and spend quality time with my children.
3. I will teach by example. I will try to introduce myself and my family to something new and developmental each week. I will help my children with their homework and encourage them to be involved in extracurricular activities.
4. I will read to or with my children as often as possible. I will provide opportunities for my children to develop creatively in the arts: music, dance, drama, literature and visual arts. I will challenge my children to do their best.
5. I will encourage and organize frequent family activities for the home and away from home. I will try to make life a positive adventure and make my children aware of their extended family.
6. I will never be intoxicated or “high” in the presence of my children, nor will I use language unbecoming for an intelligent and serious father.
7. I will be nonviolent in my relationships with my wife and children. As a father, my role will be to stimulate and encourage my children rather than carry a “big stick.”
8. I will maintain a home that is culturally in tune with the best of African-American history, struggle, and future. This will be done, in part, by developing a library, record/disc, video, and visual art collections that reflect the developmental aspects of African people worldwide. There will be order and predictability in our home.
9. I will teach my children to be responsible, disciplined, fair, and honest. I will teach them the value of hard work and fruitful production. I will teach them the importance of family, community, politics, and economics. I will teach them the importance of the Nguzo Saba and the role that ownership of property and businesses plays in our struggle.
10. As a father, I will attempt to provide my family with an atmosphere of love and security to aid them in their development into sane, loving, productive, spiritual, hard-working, creative African-Americans who realize they have a responsibility to do well and help the less fortunate of this world. I will teach my children to be activists and to think for themselves.
This pledge was taken from the African-American Book of Values, Classic Moral Stories, edited and with commentary by Steven Barboza. Madhubuti was born in 1942 in Little Rock, Arkansas with the birth name Don L. Lee. He is a poet, educator, editor, and publisher. In 1967, with $400.00 in earnings from his readings, he founded Third World Press. In this pledge, he stressed what he believed to be the responsibilities of African-American fathers.
Fatherhood and all of its correlated issues is perhaps the most malignant cancer in the African-American community. Stay strong and keep up the good work if you are doing your best as a father. If you are not, please know that circumstances can change for the better, if you try. Please read this for inspiration whether you are the man doing your best or the one that would like to change your circumstances, or the father in between. It offers tremendous food for thought for all of us fathers.
Finally, for all of our Family here at The Family Meeting, whatever your race, national origin, religion etc., this is a great read for any father for support, encouragement, and further growth, just change a few words to personalize it for your situation!
Because I know from my personal experience how tough the task of fatherhood is and can be, especially when you are giving it your all, it was just on my heart to create a post that would enhance our critical thinking, encourage, and challenge all of us to keep doing our best to be good fathers. Madhubuti places that responsibility squarely on all of our shoulders!
Read, learn, and share….Have a Family Meeting!