On a normal day, if you invite four pastors to a gathering, you better get ready to hear them talk. However, on this day, the mood is a little different as Rodney Mason, Demarcus Preyer, Reggie Fields and Rodney Pierre gather in the room to discuss the challenges of being a black father in today’s world.
All four guys are clear that they love the role of being a father. According to Reggie Fields, “When I found out that I was going to be a father, it was pure joy that God was going to entrust me to be a father.” Fields is the father of two young adult girls. All four men acknowledge that navigating their roles as fathers to black children is accompanied with certain pressures in today’s world.
Being a Black Father Is Different
When asked what they believe the difference is in raising black children compared to that of other races, the men are clear that there is a difference. “It’s totally different, because you feel like you’re a fish in a glass bowl in today’s world,” according to Demarcus, who is the father of two boys. “I’ve had to teach my girls how to navigate in this world differently than their counterparts,” says Fields. When pressed, the men are clear that fathering black children in today’s climate is tough, but that they’re up to the task of rearing their children to know that God has a plan for their lives despite the obstacles that they may face. “There are limitations that they have, that others just don’t have,” insists Pierre.
Many African- American families are familiar with the term having to have “the talk”, which refers to having to have the dreaded, but necessary conversation with your child about how to handle dealing with law enforcement. All these dads have respect for law enforcement, but also know the reality in which they live. These four fathers have been moved by what they have seen on the news when it comes to stories like George Floyd’s. When questioned in reference to how they are navigating the issue of Floyd’s untimely death with their children, Pierre is clear that the George Floyd incident has helped him instill in his children “What battles they’re going to have to fight.”
For all four fathers, they had one common theme when it comes to the future, and that is that they all have hope that things will get better. Each one of the fathers are clear in expressing that the hope they are longing for can only come from the power of God. “I want my children to realize the power and hope that can only come from God,” Pierre concludes.