It has been a while since my last written post. I wanted to write a piece every week but as of late I just did not have the drive to sit down and put my thoughts into action. Even though the topic I want to go over has been with me for some time. Since every post that I make is entirely off the top of my head with no thesis, outline or pre-written concept set aside to assist me, I only write when I feel compelled to spill the inner workings of my mind. With a lot on my mind lately here during our "Race for the Playoffs" on full throttle I have taken a step back in planing for my return to the states here soon. As for now I am back in the writing mood and want to thank everyone first of all that has been following. Your responses have been great, and give me more encouragement than I anticipated to continue on this road and show a different side of me. Other than the basketball playing jokester with the big smile. I hope everyone continues to enjoy.
With my itunes open and my self proclaimed writing album on shuffle, JOHN LEGEND- Evolver has me back in the mood! A topic that many of us deal with either as a family member lending support, a friend offering guidance and some first hand. Something that to me is a future episode in my life that I look to with a positive vibe and open arms when the time is right. Not to be mistaken for mislead anticipation. MEN HAVING KIDS. The debate around it and topics intertwined. I felt compelled to touch on this topic because people in my life have dealt with it with high frequency. The most recent of which a teammate of mine. It made me begin to think about my own life and the path I have taken as well as my approach to the subject. How I feel about it as far as being ready; how to deal with it, what my response would be to getting news that I was a father to be. The factors that play into how people take the news could take forever to be compiled. But here are a few that I feel surface immediately. Again, this is a man writing this so we are looking from a man's perspective. Though we do understand that there is a whole other side to respect. That of the woman.
Upon news that a man is in the new future will be welcoming a child into the world what are the variables that SOME WOULD SAY come directly into the thought process:
1. Are you sure?/........WHAT?
Now ladies don't jump the gun, neither of these are disrespectful in ANY way. You have to understand that this is just as much news to us as it was to you. Only difference is that you knew already because it is your body, so you had time to prepare your response for us to see. Though there are cases where that is taken for what it is lack of enthusiasm. Even then that is not a completely a bad thing since it could be because we are real about the future endeavors and know it will not be easy. But ARE READY to do what it takes to be a good father to the child, and supporter to you. Then again, there is the lackluster side that some men will have. The "Are you sure" part of that is because a woman's body is complex and the monthly cycles can be thrown off for many reasons. The "What" part, simply to buy time to make the next sentence and not say something regrettable later.
2. How you feel about the woman
The relationship between the man and the woman is probably the biggest and most important variable of all that you could mention. With a strong relationship this topic is still a serious issue. That is not to be downplayed at all, but this makes the conversation take a different turn for better or for worse. Hopefully you can work through the ups and downs that come with any relationship to see eye to eye and do what is best for the child and understand that the two of you being together could provide a strong front and more stability for the child. Though that is not always the best thing in some situation. All you can really hope is that you can coincide at the least and play an equal part in the life of the child. A man should handle his responsibilities to say the least.
Babies cost money, so this is always an issue. Some may see it as bigger than others. To me regardless of my monetary situation when this time comes in my life I am ready to tackle it head on. If you are not financially where you want to be as a man to provide for you future family then you should make progressive steps to do so. Easier said than done of course. But I was brought up to believe a man does not make excuses, he finds solutions. Get another job, get back into school, do research and look for ways to amplify your current situation and enable opportunities in the future. If you call yourself a man you may not be able to accomplish this on the time table you wish to. However you will have a plan of action, and find solutions in the end.
*itunes Timeout, Jamie Foxx-INTUITION (PLAY)
4. We used protection/ weren't you on the pill?
*Again, this is just a possible thought process so to all women who read this please do not be offended. This is simply put, typical things you may hear from a guy. I DO NOT WANT TO GET LYNCHED OVER THIS!
Ok from the man's side, in the heat of this moment we may forget that condoms are not 100% effective and may have an assumption that there is no way possible that if a condom was involved a woman could get pregnant. Listen, we know that it is not true. This is also probably a possible line to buy some thinking time. I mean you did have this already planned out when you knew/thought you may be pregnant so as aforementioned give us a little bit of a break? "The Pill" is always the next in this question-answer dance of the sexes. Again leaving us with the same answer as in the condom talk. We know many variables come into play with this topic. So thinking it is a kind of GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card is mislead. Nothing is 100% effective.
5. Adoption/ Abortion
This is the most controversial part of this whole topic if you ask me. Because I feel that it depends on the WOMAN'S situation. First, adoption may be best for a woman that is very very young. With the age of teenage girls having children becoming younger and younger some young girls just are not ready to embark on that walk. Bad decisions and a lack of guidance could play into it in some cases leaving a young girl to be ill prepared for a portion of what is coming. In cases like this who am I to say what is wrong? Or those where a woman does not believe in abortion I think that adoption may allow the child an opportunity for a better life. Though that is not ALWAYS the case. Some would argue that the best life for a child is with it's mother that loves them.
Abortion is something that I do not believe in. But there are some variables on the woman's side that could come into play. The age topic again is one. Another is a woman that was sexually assaulted and as a direct result becomes pregnant. Who are we to tell this woman anything? It is her body and her decision regardless, but this I think allows special circumstances. As for a man suggesting it to a woman as a viable option after hearing she is pregnant, I don't think that is something that I would ever do. That is not to say that some people just are not ready and for this step and it ends up being the best choice for all involved. This is life altering not everyone can make the same choice, or do what you think is right.
Some friends made some remarks on my Facebook to a status I left about writing this blog. In response to the topic Damond Williams who was a HUGE influence on me as a freshmen in college said, "For me...it would be after he has gained something to give." Making reference to what makes a man ready to have a child. Another good friend Juliann Di Benedetto who is a proud mother in waiting said, "No one is ever ready, you can't prepare enough! But most people don't have a choice when it comes to being ready because there are so many unplanned pregnancies now." Both have great points and I agree 100% with what they had to say on the topic. In the end I fell like there is no right answer/way to handle becoming a father. Everyone has a different set of circumstances that make the events in their life special to them on a different level from anyone else. Who are we to say what IS and IS NOT the way to handle anything like this?
To say there is a rule book on the do's and don'ts is ridiculous. The right thing to do when placed in this situation is to assess all angles and be sensitive to all parties. As a man, I have my own set of ideals and principles that make me who I am. No matter the situation good or bad, I consider myself a man. When I was a boy I could not wait for the chance to be a man. Do as I please with no chaperones, stay up as late as I wish. Eat what I choose and see who I may. Live my life by my rules. For the longest I wanted to get my tattoos, and pierce my ears. Have a drink when I chose and do the things I was always warned not to just to see what the fuss was all about. Along the road I dealt with a lot and for all the reasons I was warned.
I know what it is to look adversity in the face as if you leaning over the edge of a cliff and slip, unsure of how far u will fall. Only to realize its was just a small drop and you can simply dust off or clothes and live with the scars you endured as a reminder of the lesson you learned. From family issues; getting cut as a CAPTAIN from my college team my senior year, learning life overseas as a ball player, family deaths, and more. We all have tough roads. Considering myself a man I have worked through my issues as we all do. But living like a man I see this topic as my friends and family deal with it and I approach it in a different manner than I think most do.
First, I feel that anyone MAN ENOUGH to have sex had better be MAN ENOUGH to handle the responsibilities that come with it. Many of my friends have done just that and for that I am proud of them. When the day comes and I have a son that may face this situation I want to be able to look him in the eye and not just tell him what is right. But give him advice that I followed myself. As a man that had a great role model in my father I look forward to passing on the lessons I learned in my life as they were passed to me. Watching those close to me raise children through tough times I find one constant. Not one of my friends with a child can envision his life without his child in it. Hopefully there are more people out there like my close friends and I that feel the same. way.
* Photos above area all family and friends kids and not my own by the way!
photo 1. My nieces
photo 2. youngest brother
photo 3. My god son
photo 4. children of some close friends
photo 5. Just a few of my many cousins