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#FATHERHOOD TODAY: TRANS-ATLANTIC WHISPERS

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Hello my friends, warmest welcome. Thank you for joining me again. 

In my first article I spoke on some subjects briefly, an as mentioned, I’d like to take the opportunity to dive deeper into each of these topics with you over time. Cards on the table- this will be difficult for a lot of you reading. Please understand my hope is to create dialogue while facing the most difficult challenges we as parents may face in today’s world.

With Juneteenth in our rear view for the year, I felt it important to explore deeper into the plights created by our country’s checkered past. 

As I previously explained, I’m having a lot of difficulty with teaching my children about slavery. Because, while there were many atrocities suffered, there were many stories of survival and perseverance. The same could be said for the European Americans who fought against the dark realities of their time. 

Still, I cannot pretend that today’s world isn’t filled with obstacles that could potentially deter my children from being successful. And likewise can be said for today’s European Americans who face a great deal of scrutiny for being a part of what they were never a part of.

Enter my original question: “Where do I begin?”. How do I properly teach and mindfully engage as a positive role model and compassionate change agent?

Let me shed some light on my confusion… 

I fear that teaching my children about the many dark things that took place will eventually cause them to fear and/or harbor hate towards today’s European Americans. That anger although valid, could very quickly end up being misguided and inappropriately directed. 

Things could also go the complete opposite direction. I also fear the possibility that they could take on the victim role. Blaming a past they were never personally a part of for their potential lack of motivation, intensifying the struggles they already endure, which would be terribly detrimental as thriving in today’s world is certainly a hard enough challenge as it is. 

Learning about different unjust laws and horrific situations that have taken place is enough to make anyone say, “why try?” But it wasn’t until I understood the validity of that question, that I began to really reconsider how I’d want my kids to learn about the past. 

Even with perfect vision, it’s hard to see that no matter the road you take- “the activist” or “the victim going with the flow”- or anywhere in between, there are countless examples throughout history showing them that the spark of their lives, or their lives entirely, could potentially be extinguished simply due to the simple fact that they have been born into our race. 

Not so simple. So, “why try?” 

I have come to find that processing aloud in a healthy way and in a safe space among good company eager to make a difference for our people and our planet (and especially via written word) helps me gain clarity to make solid decisions based in truth and pure goodness, and then take proper action to be a positively engaged role model and serve in the highest, best interest of all, especially where our youth, our children who deserve to see us as our best and most authentic selves, and who seek and need our guidance as leaders, mentors, teachers and kind-hearted, positive change-agents, are involved.  

Please join me here as I do so…. 

Where do we find a harmonious balance?

Is there a way we can teach about the past without it having such a drastic effect and risk of negative impact on the future? How can you outswim a current that is coming right at you?  Head to shore, right? But how can you do that, when those waiting on the shore are just as deadly as the current? How do we say simply, “please don’t harm us?”  

At times It seems we don’t have a leg to stand on considering the amount of violence we now inflict on our own people. I think to myself “Is that violence learned behavior?”  

Considerations swim through the currents in my mind, my heart, my soul: could we potentially have been unjustly hated for so long by so many that we have unfortunately learned how to carry that same hate?  Or “is the violence merely a byproduct of the poor conditions we were unfortunately and unfairly forced into?” 

Life in a city with very few resources can make for a deadly game of dog eat dog. Then I sink deeper, “will we ever live in a world without being hated so much?” And if so, how so?

Here’s another perplexing and thought provoking question I ponder: “Has racism simply become a tool for survival?” This is a deep one. Just the implication would imply that we would never see an end, because a society built on those principles could never function without them. 

As I consistently say to the many dads reading, our job is always to protect and provide. We are essentially preservation in human form, so how do we as modern fathers construct a new way of preservation for generations to come without the bloodshed of our beautiful children?   

How do we fix this? How do we best go about addressing the repair and reconstruction that beckons and build a solid foundation of peace, purpose, prosperity, courage, compassion, and community?

America is a beautiful land of opportunity, and I believe we have the opportunity to come together and implement great change, rooted in the foundation of our roots.

I feel deep within my soul and quite moved to say the only way to steer our children clear of the waterfall is to redirect them to a safer river. 

Offshoots of my original question in attempt to answer itself evolve: 

“Is a sense of belonging the key?”. 

I’ve recently been focusing on researching, reading and asking important questions with the goal of helping my family rediscover the tribes they came from, the songs, the dance, the traditions, the rituals, and the customs. I am profoundly inspired by the Trans-Atlantic Whispers that once seemed far off and faint in the distance, but I now hear so clearly, so precisely, so certainly…. the love, the passion, the celebration, the peace, the connection, the respect, the expression, the sacred bonds… the infinite vitality that fuels the magical and meaningful phenomenon of harmonious and purposeful living. 

I embrace the sense, the spirit and the glory of it all… as I envision such a beautiful, intentional and fulfilling way of being in life, family and community, I am moved and elated by it all. And then when I reflect on our modern times in this modern world we live in, the sharp contrast suddenly yanks me from that peace and sense of truth and grounding, and I feel the need to further address some things on the foundational level that may seem unimportant but have serious impact; I feel called to highlight some elements of our external existence that need pruning, weeding, replanting or reshaping so that we may catalyze the healing of a superficial disease that is showing from a deeper root cause. 

For example, I wonder, “Could we finally put a rest to the deadly culture of Hip Hop? 

I don’t ever want the musical genre of hip hop to end, but the culture must. 

No two ways about it. More to come on this in my next article.

The most prominent question that has been endlessly looping in my heart, mind, and soul now requests the floor; I hope you will help me in ushering it in and seeing that it is fully considered, nurtured and embraced: 

“Could helping African Americans rediscover who they were before the Trans-Atlantic slave trade lead to a prosperity, peace and unity that our country, the beautiful United States of America, has never seen?”  

I would love to see our people reflecting our ancestors; The future built in that image.  

In my mind, answering that question could be the key. 

I’ll leave you now to ponder and water the seed planted with your positive thoughts and good intentions; perhaps we can all visualize and mindfully actualize together for a beautiful, bright future for everyone, especially our children.

(You may have noticed that I used the word hate a few times in this article; Hate is a truly toxic, weighted word, a harsh and heavy burden to bare, especially on the receiving end of it and for no just cause. I contemplated not using the word as I do not want to highlight, amplify or perpetuate division and intolerance and would much prefer to focus on healing, unity and progression, but even after some serious consideration, I am drawing a blank on a more encapsulating word that defines the darkness that needs to be brought to light and healed).

May all of our days be filled with peace, purpose and prosperity, illuminated by the brilliant smiles of all of our beautiful children.

Leading with Love, Light & Logic,

Paul Abner

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