My nephew Muraad had a baby on Saturday. His daughter, Najimah which mean "radiant", "brilliant" in Arabic was born two month premature. I told him, "That just gives you two additional months in her life". More time to get to know her, love her. After I spoke to him via Facetime and saw the baby, a thought crossed my mind. His mother, my sister Jamilah who passed away almost three years ago would have loved this moment. She would have loved Najimah. She would have been so loud about it! I could hear her now exclaiming, "This is my baby!" "Don't call me grandma!" Call me Grandma J, or Mama J or some other name with a twist. She would say all the things that a new father would need to build his confidence. She would fill in the gap where things are missing. If Jamilah was around, everything would be O.K..
A lot of the times when we talk about fatherhood, we talk about the importance of young fathers having had a role model, a man to pattern their fatherhood off of. We preach the importance of fathers for boys and speak about how needed men are in the lives of their children. I agree with what we preach but today, my nephew would have really benefited from a cheerleader. He would have been lifted up in a unique way (that not many fathers have the capability to do) if his mother was here. Motherly love is something else! With my sister in mind, I am going to try to muster more energy the next time I speak to him. The journey of fatherhood and relationships have their ups and downs, twist and turns; maybe I can be a erratic fan...a uncle that cheers even when our team is down. Maybe I can believe and support him in a unique way, far beyond my normal demeanor; like his mom would. Unconditionally, at least until he gets his footing and feels the strength of being responsible for another human being that he helped bring into this world. I can do that. GO MURAAD!
The performers from the Fatherhood Manologues will be having a conversation with students from multiple disciplines on the intersection of men, families and health on March 25, 2021 at 4:30pm. This event is exclusively for the University of St. Joseph's students.
On February 10, 2021 we will celebrate Fatherhood Manologues Day. We will have 15+ individuals performing their Fatherhood Manologue on the Autorino Stage at the University of St. Joseph's. Two weeks later, a documentary of the day will debut followed by a Zoom discussion. The entire production is to celebrate the memory of Abdul-Rahmaan Abd-Raheem Muhammad. Join us!
Our Founder, Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad will be co-facilitating this conversation. It should be powerful! Don't miss it!
Join us in congratulating the latest graduates of the 8 week Manhood Tree Group. Shout out to Timothy Fraylon, Epifano Garcia, Sammy Vega, Alonzo Little and Anthony Smith. If you are interested in participating in one of our groups in the future, contact us.
Going forward, every February 10th The Manhood Tree will celebrate my father, Abdul-Rahmaan Abd-Raheem Muhammad by asking every man who has written a Fatherhood Manologue to join us and perform. This year, we will be back where everything started at the University of St. Joseph's in West Hartford, CT. Due to Covid, we will be streaming live all day with performances, interviews and more. Don't miss it!
At the end of the last A Little Fatherly Advice, a father made a comment about the difficulty he has been experiencing with the mother of his child. He expressed the desire to be active and involved but being roadblocked. Due to his comments, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the topic of being a non custodial father and how to repair broken relationships in the best interest of the child. Register to join us on Zoom or watch on Facebook. Register here:
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jan 16, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
In 2021, The Manhood Tree is going to be extremely busy! More groups, more Fatherhood Manolouges, more initiatives! We will also be launching our podcast, newsletter and be more intentional with our social media presence. Our major goal for 2021 is to make connections with organizations nationally that want to use our curriculum, trainings and initiative to help men to be the best versions of themselves. Below is a list of our plans as of today:
The Manhood Tree 2021
Another month, and I forgot to blog...Geesh! I guess, we've been busy. For the month of November, we dropped 5 new Fatherhood Manolouges from a collaboration with the summer Arts Mentors program. We had 5 artist add their poetic twist on the Fatherhood Manolouges. Their videos can be viewed here.
We continued on with A Little Fatherly Advice, facilitated by Demetrius Chamblee and Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad. The video from our last group can be viewed here.
We conducted our Turning 50 Barriers to Fatherhood Engagement into 50 Opportunities for Fatherhood Engagement training virtually for the Manchester Connecticut office of DCF over for sessions throughout the month.
We started a new group of five for our Manhood Tree eight week Manhood Tree curriculum. This group of men will be graduating on December 21, 2020. We also hope each of them will be doing a Fatherhood Manolouge to add to our offering of stories about being a father or being fathered.
We are a step closer to putting out our first Fatherhood Pole. At this point all we have to do is attach the signs, dig a hole and display our work. Stay tuned!
Lastly, we have been promoting "The 5 Hoods Photo Contest". More information can be found here.
Most importantly, download the Men's Health Initiative form and go get checked! Your health is the most important thing you can do for your family, friends and for yourself.
Stay connected. We are launching our podcast in 2021 and we are excited about getting our voice out to the world.
It has been over a month since the last time I blogged about anything...I have to do better. The thing is, we (The Manhood Tree Initiatives and I) have been busy. Since the last time I wrote, we have completed The Manhood Tree group with the majority of the men that work at My People Clinical Services (that's close to 40 men)! We have also been working on the Fatherhood Pole and hope to have the first one in the ground by Thanksgiving. On last Monday, we started to debut on Facebook and on this website the latest group of Fatherhood Manologues from our summer collaboration with Arts Mentors, Check out Frederick Douglass Knowles II here. We will have four more Manolouges debut over the next few weeks. This Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 10 am, we have our latest "A Little Fatherly Advice" group. So grab your kids and join in, you can find more information here. We have secured another round of fatherhood training with DCF (YEAH!) where will be helping them turn 50 Barriers to Fatherhood Engagement to 50 Opportunities for Fatherhood Engagement. Lastly, in the coming days, we will be putting out information on the 5 Hoods Winter Photo Contest so stay tuned. I will try to do better with keeping the blog up going forward. Until next time, Peace!