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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Parenting

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My daughter and I are learning the fashion world together — and I’m her biggest supporter

Kern and Krystasia Carter. Photo courtesy of the author

When my daughter was nine years old, she put on my older brother’s football helmet and Montreal Alouettes jersey, crouched into a three-point stance, and growled like she was about to make a tackle.

When she was 10, she did backflips and cartwheels in my mom’s driveway. Every time she learned a new move, she’d run inside and tell me to record her.

At 11, she picked up snails off the ground. She’d put them into bowls filled with dirt, mud, and a little bit of water and keep them outside.

She could’ve been an athlete or a scientist, and…


By making time for the tradition he loved, my father showed me what Black joy looks like

Photo: Budgeron Bach/Pexels.com

Growing up, Saturday mornings meant hearing voices like Toni Braxton, Phyllis Hyman, Shalamar, Keith Sweat, Barry White, and Regina Belle as I helped my dad clean the garage. As our usual soundtrack played, we’d sweep and organize the space, even though I always thought it looked the same after we finished.

By the early afternoon, my mind swirled with song after song. I never knew many of them before they blasted from my dad’s black JVC boombox. Over time, I’d eventually commit the choruses to memory. …


A conversation with my dad and stepdad about the keys to positive parenting

Photo: Olof Nyman/Pexels.com

The landscape of the modern American family has changed over the past few decades. Family structures as a whole have become more fluid and unique; finally, unconventional types are becoming more universally acknowledged and accepted.

Black families, however, were never entirely allowed the freedom of the modern family landscape. From the moment they stepped foot on this continent, they were ripped apart from the seams. That general separation set a nagging stereotype in place. Unfair? Yes. But the idea of the “broken home” serves as our nail in the coffin. …


The only thing more life-altering than discovering and raising my child was losing him

Photo by Szilvia Basso on Unsplash

I’m not particularly religious, but I believe in generational curses. I’m convinced they’re the cause of issues that course through the paternal lineage of my family tree — everything from addiction to poverty to absent or abusive parenting. I wasn’t cognizant of this growing up; I just knew I had a screwed-up childhood. But things came into focus when I had a child of my own.

My son (I’ll refer to him as “C”) came into my life unexpectedly as many children do. But this was more than just an unplanned pregnancy; I wasn’t even aware of C’s existence until…


Just save me the big piece of chicken, tbh

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Father’s Day is almost here, and you know what that means: Prepare to unwrap another pair of socks!

Sure, you might get lucky and get something good — some cigars, that broadsword you’ve wanted since you were a kid — but I wouldn’t count on it. These are, after all, gifts usually given to you by your children filtered through your significant other.

But you love them, so you’ll smile and say thank you for the house slippers or the drink coaster set that the many rings on your coffee table prove you never use. …


It may seem like I’m nagging, but he needs to be cognizant of how he’s seen in a racist society

Photo by Rachel Martin on Unsplash

Every day around sunset, my nephew and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. It’s not an ideal time of the day to do so, but we live in a city where it’s hot almost year-round. Evenings are the only hours that offer relief from the heat.

As we walk, I share a lot of things he shouldn’t do:

“Don’t make eye contact with that man.”

“Don’t stop there.”

“Don’t walk so far ahead of me.”

“Don’t point at that car.”

As a young woman, I’m very mindful of the precautions I need to take when walking around at…


There’s a difference between being practical and killing dreams

Photo: Getty Images

My father gave me two pieces of advice when I was very young. First, never dig a pile of dirt from the middle. (Shovel at the bottom, so the dirt falls into the blade.) And second, always live in a ranch-style home. (So you can still get around all of it when you’re old).

I was not raised by my father. My parents divorced when I was an infant, leaving my mother to raise four sons by herself. That’s why his advice didn’t involve anything time-consuming or with multiple steps, like how to shave or barbecue ribs. What I gleaned…


Stay calm and ask your kid these three questions

Photo: Pexels.com

My son is screaming at the top of his lungs. It’s as if I’ve ripped away all that matters to him in the world.

The reason? “Hickory Dickory Dock” is glitching on Spotify. Who knows? Maybe that is all that matters to him.

We’re making our way home after what has thus far been a great day. No major tantrums have happened up until now, and the kid turned out to be a natural ice skater. He’s barely halfway to three, and I can’t stop bragging about the little booger.

But this ain’t one of those moments. How do you…


After unlearning my own childhood obsession with the police, I’m giving my child the tools to shape his own worldview

Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

The year is 2020. As usual, the news is on in our home, providing a background ambiance for our daily lives. The reporter, a White woman who is almost in tears, describes the latest developments in the murder of Breonna Taylor.

Murder. I use that word deliberately because seldom is it attached to the deaths of Black people who have done nothing but exist. And that’s what Breonna did. She lived in a world that did not love her, a world that has never loved anyone like her.

I’m frozen.

I want to change the channel, but I can’t. Instead…


The pros and cons of raising a preteen

Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash

I was trolling TikTok for laughs one day when I stumbled upon a video of a guy doing a “review” of his newborn baby boy. This dude was visibly delighted with his two-month-old offspring — he said the boy only cost him a few “grown-up transactions” — and encouraged others to get one, too.

Now, I got a good chuckle from the breakdown, which played like an unboxing video. That’s a shiny new baby, fresh out of the box. What’s not to like?

Of course, he’s cute. A baby alligator is cute. And like a baby alligator, a baby…

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