By N. Ali Early
When I was in high school, I often wondered how my life would play out. The thoughts were plentiful and the questions were rampant… Who will I marry? Where will I live? What will I do for a living? How many kids will I have? What gender will they be? What kind of father will I be?
As of Monday, June 10, 2019, and with the birth of my third son, Kalel Ali Early, all of those questions and more, have been answered.
Fourteen years ago I met the love of my life. Five years into a relationship that began in this publishing industry — when urban magazines were as plentiful as wheat at a local bakery — we exchanged vows and haven’t looked back since. With the birth of our first child — Khalon — we decided on settling in Atlanta and have since welcomed Keon and Kalel.
I never knew what fatherhood would truly feel like. I did, however, know what it looked like. I watched and idolized my own father, my paternal and maternal grandfathers, uncles, coaches, big homies and others who sought to pass on their wisdom.
I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my college basketball coach, about ingrown hairs of all things. It may sound simplistic, but the moment was refreshing and necessary for a 20-year-old trying with all his might to maintain a clear complexion. He talked to my friend and I like he’d been there before and during that moment, we all forgot about basketball. As I allowed his wisdom to pour into my eager ears, I accepted advice that rings true today and learned a valuable lesson rooted in patience.
You never really know how to be a father until it is your turn to lead, teach and develop your own offspring. You use the examples and experiences you’ve either observed or acquired to become the most powerful patriarch you can be. It’s an awesome responsibility that I’ve taken on and accepted fully. I respect it. I own it and I love it.
With a newborn, four-year-old and 10-year-old in tow, my journey is in full swing. Watching my children grow and change, then being able to shift gears as they do, is something I am still figuring out. That I am more than happy to share my knowledge, wisdom and experience with them, is an overwhelming understatement.
Happy Father’s Day to all the real ones out there. Be blessed and always “Be a father to your child.”
This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com.