As this Father’s Day is approaching and we are reflecting on the meaning of fatherhood, RNHS wants to celebrate the critical role that Black men play in the family. Baron Wilson, the Senior Property Manager here at RNHS and a father of four, shares with us his story and the joys, the excitements, and the fears that come with Black fatherhood.
“Being a father is one of the best things anybody could ever do, getting to watch little people grow, getting to teach them. Little babies, they depend on you for everything and then they grow into these smart-mouth kids that think they know everything,” he said with a laugh. “It’s an honor to be a father.”
But with all of the joys that come with being a father, there come many challenges, particularly with Black fatherhood in America, a country that has been cruel to Black children for centuries.
“Being a father in 2021 is one of the most frightening things that you can ever have to endure. The world we live in is a dangerous place, a scary place. Raising three men and one Black young woman, we’re in a world where people don’t care about Black people as much as they should. Someone can murder my son and not care. It’s frightening to be a father because I have kids with my personality, they’re very outgoing. But every time we leave the house I’m afraid they might not come back.”
In addition to the challenges that the country places on the Black fatherhood experience specifically, there are also the hurdles that may come with every family.
“I’ve experienced lots of smiles and laughter and fun times with my kids, and I’ve also experienced tears and sorrow, especially with the death of my son,” he said. “One of my sons passed away 5 years ago on the 28th of May in a tragic water accident, Memorial Day 2016. As a father you want your kids to be the best they can be, to have access to all of the things you may not have access to, so you try to get that for them, put them in positions where they can be successful in life. The world, being the way that it is and all of the obstacles in the way, makes it so much harder.”
“Not only do I love my kids, but I’m the type of individual that I don’t like to see anybody hurting or anybody with less. My son brought his friend home one day and he didn’t leave for 2 months because his mother was on narcotics and his father was absent, and to this day he’s still a part of our family. It’s not just about my kids, it takes a village to make some sort of change and make these kids see that someone actually cares about them.”
Baron summed up his experiences as a Black father as an honor, but “a very scary honor.”
“It’s a frightening thing but I love my kids more than anything.”