Dedan K. Bruner
Father of 2
When I think of Fatherhood and my journey, many thoughts come to mind so try to keep up with my beautiful mind (lol). It’s definitely been an interesting journey. I’m blessed to have two children, Charlie who is 7 and Carlie who is 2 going on 20.
I grew up with my dad in my life for most of my childhood but at 12 I became the man of the house. I can’t recall my pops ever sitting me down and teaching me one tangible thing except how to play dominoes (which has served me well). I observed things from his actions but I wanted to make sure when I had kids that I actually taught them everything I knew. I grew up in the hood so a lot of lessons I either learned by watching other’s mistakes, the hard way on my own or from my mom.
Over the years I’ve learned that manhood is often assumed but seldom taught so I don’t feel alone in my feelings regarding what my pops taught me. That is why this effort by D-Dot (Dedan) is so encouraging.
Anyway, back to my kids – when people ask me how my family is doing, I often tell them that I am living the Blackish experience. Charlie or Tre as we like to call him is the oldest and carries my name so I have high expectations and hopes for him. He was the first-born son that I prayed for. I recorded his birth in this world so if he ever got on the wrong path I’d be able to tell him I brought him in this world and I will take him out! When he was born his mom and I were figuring the parenting thing out and built a very protective shelter around him. Tre is just like Jack from Blackish. He’s very handsome, kind, adorable, mild-mannered, charismatic and most of all oblivious! He recently told his Mom and I that his dream was to be a YouTube star so we are trying to help him understand what it takes to achieve his dream. Every night I have Tre repeat the mantra that he’s a big boy, a king and a child of God and that he can do anything through Christ which strengthens him. Parenting Tre takes a lot of patience because he has no situational awareness and can be wrapped up in his own little world. As a Father who didn’t have a dad who spent quality time to teach me much, I am often frustrated after I’ve invested substantial time teaching Tre something and the results don’t match my investment. For example, I can recall when Tre was at baseball practice one day and the coach told Tre to run faster and pump his arms. Tre begin waving both his hands like he was in the Mrs. America Pageant and all I could do is put my face in my palms as his dad knowing I’ve raced with him in the backyard and tried to teach him how to keep his elbows close to his body and move his arms up and down like a robot. So, yeah, that’s Tre.
So, my other child is Carlie who is 2 going on 20. I was so scared of my firstborn being a girl because of my past views and dealings with women. However, since Tre was the oldest, I told him his job as the big brother was to keep his little sister off the pole. Boy was I wrong! Carlie has her dad’s qualities and is simply tenacious. She is like Diane from Blackish in all ways. She is super smart, a fast learner, don’t take no junk and has great situational awareness. She lights up a room and eventually the room bows to her will. She is fearless and is ok being alone but kindness to others is not her strength (lol)! She is the exact opposite of Tre. Carlie beats up on her brother but if anyone else tries to mess with Tre she is on it. My job as a father with her is easy but I must admit that I was concerned when I found out we were having a girl. I figured I knew how to raise a boy into a king because I’ve helped to raise my nephews, but I knew nothing about raising a girl into a woman.
Initially, I was going to leave the task of raising Carlie to my wife (as crazy as that sounds) but I quickly realized that the same qualities that it would take for Tre to thrive in this world applied to her. One of those is situational awareness. Carlie has it in abundance but Tre doesn’t have it. However, Tre has a kind and gentle spirit and heart for doing right in God’s eyes that can’t be taught – that includes turning the other cheek which his father never mastered. He also is a technical wiz that loves learning new things and playing video games.
I’ve learned that I have to encourage both of them in their strengths and make sure they are aware of their weaknesses. I try to make sure they understand to walk in integrity, guard their thoughts and treat all people with respect. One of the mantras I repeat to them is that people may forget what you say but they will never forget how you make them feel. Hopefully, they will grow up and remember all the things their dad tried to teach them.
If I had to provide a tip to soon-to-be and new fathers it would be that there is more than one way to skin a cat so be patient with yourself and with your children.