What is guaranteed?


A letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

Black America may be the only segment of the world that worries more about the future of their sons than their daughters.

We’ve seen the horrified looks of relatives when a couple’s firstborn is a girl in India. We know the measly cost of a Cambodian virgin sold into sex trafficking. We campaign against the kidnapping of Nigerian girls who are just trying to get an education.

But here in America, where black men won the right to vote before women and have contributed to the building of this young country far more than the rest of America gives them credit for, we have to worry about them being shot down by the people who vowed to protect them. Continue reading

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A runner’s motivation

ukrops10kA letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

I failed my first mile-run fitness test in elementary school. The year I passed happened when I forgot to go to the bathroom beforehand. I figured the urge to urinate is a fabulous motivator to make it to the finish line. I employed the strategy purposefully the next year and drank uncanny amounts of water, but it did not produce the same effect.

The test always seemed to fall near my birthday. I came to accept it as my annual failure.  Continue reading

On finding common ground

ImageIt took me almost a year to process some of my trip with my Dad to Ethiopia in writing. Here’s one of many more to come:

I once convinced a Tunisian guard I was Tunisian to avoid a foreigner’s fee at a museum. All it took was sunglasses to hide my hazel eyes and a Tunisian friend to, eh, explain that I was deaf.

In Cambodia, I put my brown arm up to a dark-skinned girl’s arm when she obsessed over my friends’ lighter skin because she believed white American skin was ideal. When she noticed our similar skin tones, it put her more at ease — that is until she discovered my unusual poufy hair.

So going to Ethiopia, my father’s home, should be easy, I told myself in January before I embarked on a three-week father-daughter trip. I’m quick to find common ground no matter where I am, and these people are half my heritage.

Accordingly, half of everyone I interacted with….

Read more at TimesDispatch.com or Tadias Magazine

What dads are supposed to be like

A letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

At this point, I have NO clue who your dad is going to be. It’s weird to think in the future like that, especially since I just re-watched Star Trek (2009). Talk about confusing. But I have a good idea of what he’ll be like. Continue reading

Cure for moderate pedophobia

A letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

I generally stay away from infants. They are too small and too tiny and I’m too clumsy. Mothers usually don’t ask me if I want to hold their baby because they can already tell I’d rather enjoy their cuteness from a distance. I try to act natural, but every time I go to hold a baby, I envision this:

Continue reading

Seeing the details

A letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

Experiencing a friend’s culture is like the kid who finally got glasses after squinting at the blackboard for months. You suddenly see the details of a person. You see their personality at ease. You finally see them in their comfort zone. When I got contacts, I remember being so amazed that I could see individual leaves on trees as we drove home from the optometrist.  Continue reading

Cowboy lovin’

A letter from me to my future 13-year-old son or daughter. As I (still) make the transition into adulthood, I want to capture the small nuggets of wisdom I learn now so that my future 13-year-old has something to laugh at and maybe learn from — from one kid to another.

I thought it was going to be circus. Instead of clowns, there would be cowboys and instead of lions and tigers and bears, there would be horses. Or better yet, it would like Sheriff Woody from Toy Story coming to life, complete with Bullseye, Jessie and Stinky Pete. With a name like National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in the middle of Oklahoma City, OK, what else was I supposed to expect? Continue reading