The first in a Higher Unlearning special series ‘Father Figures’ looking at the bond and special moments between children and their fathers & father figures.
Femi and Roucheon Iloyi are Khaliyl’s parents, they are also from a UK gospel hip hop group called The Royal Priesthood. Imagine the special moments between dad Femi (“Smooflow”) and son. Femi is an MC and producer and Khaliyl’s mom Roucheon is a singer/songwriter. Imagine the love and music swirling around in the home. Little Khaliyl is rapping before he can even ‘talk’, but as you can see in this video he is already communicating, and the world listened.
The melody that is a life, the child growing from a note of inspiration into a full song, lyrics and rhythm, created by musical instruments of love and dedication. What more beautiful sound is there than the special bond between parent and child. Fathers watching, listening, supporting and helping a child grow to become an individual. Following the example and footsteps of a father or father figure into becoming a joyful noise of your own:
Let’s encourage men to embrace being the positive influence they can be in a child’s life.
It is these vivid and joyous moments, as well as the quiet, simple moments we want to look at this week. Reflecting on his book ‘Dame Lois: The People’s Advocate’ writer Colwyn Burchall, Jr hoped it would ’’ reminds our young people that, no matter where they come from, greatness is most assuredly within their reach”.
Here is a powerful reflection and quiet moment from the writer and father Colwyn Burchall, Jr.
A Song For You
It’s 3:17 a.m.
I have just rocked you back to sleep to the ethereal sounds of the immortal Donny Hathaway. He is singing his classic, A Song For You:
Sometimes I watch you as you sleep, just to get a glimpse of what unmarred happiness actually looks like.
You smile at some inside joke that you share only with the actors in a comedic dream, playing at REM speed, behind your shuttered eyes.
We are at our most perfect, our most knowing – our Spirits light with the full-bellied simplicity of reality unencumbered by limiting, crippling interpretations – when we are young.
Life simply is. And we (the Child) instinctively, joyously, embrace it all…without fear, without doubt.
When – and, more importantly, why – does our movement to adulthood strip us of this womb-shaped wisdom?
You are blissfully silent, refusing to answer my unasked question.
What secrets you know and keep in the sacred space guarded by your virgin Soul may never be revealed, may never take clumsy flight in spoken form.
And that may well be a good thing, I think.
Because – as several thousand years of organized religion has shown us – divine truths can be cruelly diminished by ham-fisted efforts to shape them, by force of words, into a recognizable, easily-digestible finitude.
Perhaps my duty as your Father is to fashion myself into a strongbox for the preservation of your innocence.
Perhaps we, Fathers, are meant to be the safe haven for our precious Seed, without which their ways of knowing are doomed to be dashed unmercifully against the jagged and unyielding granite of a hostile, hateful world.
Perhaps this is the duty of all Fathers.
I`ll hold you, my precious sapling, tenderly against my chest as the storm rages and screams around us. Back bent, muscles taut with exertion, I’ll whisper ‘Love, love!’ in your ear, over the maniacal wailing of the winds of manhood mythology that threaten to tear you from my arms.
They’ll not claim you without a fight, my Sun. Sometimes the Future can only be born through the blood of the Present. I know this to be true.
So be it, then.
“…and when my life is over, / remember when we were together, / we were alone, / and I was singing this song to you….”
Yours Beyond Forever,
Toronto resident Colwyn Burchall, Jr. is a stay-at-home dad, Literacy Specialist, freelance writer and author of three children’s books: Look for Me in the Whirlwind: A Story of Marcus Garvey, Freedom’s Flames: Slavery in Bermuda and the True Story of Sally Bassett and Dame Lois: The People’ s Advocate. He holds a Masters degree in Literacy Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. He is currently working on his fourth book, Brother Malcolm: The Life and Death of An African Revolutionary. It is tentatively scheduled for publication in the spring of 2014. Questions/ comments? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
About It Starts With You
It starts with you. It stays with him. is an online-based, social media campaign developed by the White Ribbon Campaign to inspire men to promote healthy, equal relationships with the boys in their lives. Helping young people achieve consent, set boundaries, value people of all genders and use respectful communication in all their relationships is something we can all do. Learn more about the tips, tools and resources, e-modules and digital stories available online for free at www.itstartswithyou.ca