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My Effort, Resentment, & Guilt and My Grandfather's Judgement. 























     I had just wrapped up a pretty decent first date with a young lady; nothing major - just food and conversation. She invited me into her home to meet her mother so I took a seat on the couch, but by the time her mother came downstairs to greet me; I had kicked off my shoes and fell asleep. It was 1995, I was 19 years-old, I was trying to work 2 jobs and go to school but exhaustion had caught up with me. 

     Now let me give you this…

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Parenting to your Strengths 

My grandfather had story for every situation & obstacle in life.  He constantly used his past experiences to help me (try to) avoid mistakes and guide me.  My grandmother never shared many personal stories.  Most of her parenting was through the muse of prayer and bible study.  My grandfather on the other hand rarely used religious teachings to get his point across to me.  For the most part he was a pretty proud Christian, but was also at his best when he used his own familiarities to relate to me…Read more

Hip-Hop, Parenting, Grand Ma, 1986 to 2014 

   It’s hard to believe that in 1986 my grandmother found my RUN DMC Raising Hell tape, threw it away, and grounded me.  She was a Christian and anything titled Raising Hell haaad to be bad.  I remember several months later she walked in on me listening to EPMD and said, “I don’t know what they’re saying, but it all sounds bad.”  I was 10 years old then.  A time when hip-hop songs only came on the radio weekends after 8pm, a time when I would have a blank cassette paused in my Sanyo boom-box so I could…Read more

Saying, “No Thank You,” Grand Ma, and Integrity 

Growing up; once a month or so Mr. Martin would come by and check on his house and children next door to us.  He owned the 3 bedroom colonial but allowed his adult children to stay there.  He would pull up in his long Cadillac, visit all the neighbors, stop the ice-cream truck, and buy ice-cream for every kid who happened to be outside; except for me.  My grandparents never allowed me to accept ice-cream from Mr. Martin (though they did like him a lot). 
As I got a little older (11 years-old maybe), I would…Read more

Domestic Violence in Review and Perspective 

If you know me or have read any of my earlier blog posts than you already know domestic violence has affected my life.  I lost both parents to a domestic violence situation that has never been officially comprehended.  But this not solely about me - lets look a layer deeper into domestic violence in this society. 
Historical Perspective
For hundreds of years in western culture; most cities/states and law makers refused to properly acknowledge domestic violence.  You could start as recent as 1920 through the…Read more

Role Models, Examples, Giving, and Hard Work 


I’m far from a perfect father and I don’t claim to know everything about parenthood or raising children.  But I do understand the importance of setting “examples.”  I understand because my grandparents were awesome examples.  The main constant with both of them is that they always treated everyone with a lot of respect, dignity, and class.  Now that’s not to say everyone deserved that respect-lol! My grand ma had to be the most “giving” person ever invented.  It seemed that during the holidays every one…Read more

Crying Son, Sacrificing life, business, Identify, and Being Happy 


I remember the day I went through my youngest son’s book bag when he 6 years-old. I found the usual - crayons, books, toys, and crumbs. As I looked through his school project folder I ran across a school assignment. It was a small stapled construction paper booklet in which he drew pictures of his emotions. When I turned to the page that read, “What makes me sad,” there was a drawn picture of him playing and crying while I was at my computer working. Talk about a guilt trip.
That year was 2009 and I was…Read more

Hip-Hop, Fatherhood, Communication, & Understanding 

I could feel each and every eyeball analyzing me, reading me, trying to figure me out. I was at a LifeSkills school to talk and share poetry with the students. They all had “extreme” backgrounds – gangs, guns, drugs, and violence. And here I was – hoping one or two of the syllables that would spill from my mouth would be enough to make a difference. But did have a few things going for me - I looked like them. They had tattoos: I had tattoos. They listened to Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Snoop etc: I did too. They wore…Read more

Daughters, Daddy, Valentine’s Day, Communication, and Relationships 

I have four children – 2 boys and 2 girls. I love them all and have been doing/trying to build/maintain strong communication and relationships with them both. I’ll be honest – It’s much easier with boys than girls-lol.

Boys haven’t changed too much over the years. We like sports, video games, music, cars and girls. Though my sons are into things much earlier than I was; I still have had the same experiences. I can relate to them and have sturdy relationships with them both.

My daughters are harder. I was…

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Parenting, Repetition, Lectures, & Talking 

While telling my oldest son a random story from my past with a notable moral “point” at the end – he gave me the best response ever.

“Dad, you’ve told me this story 100 times.”

That was wonderful because it meant he was paying attention. I can recite word for word at least 12 stories my grandfather told me during the 22 years I was blessed to have him in my life. I will be honest – I know most of those stories because he kept retelling them, not because I was actually paying attention. It’s kind of like…Read more

Smoking, Eating, My Grandfather, Cruises, and all things addictive 

It was never fun going to the doctor's office with my grandfather but there was always the joke I waited for -

Doc -”Mr. Smith have you ever smoked?
”Granddad - “Yes.”
Doc -”When did you quit Mr. Smith?”
Granddad - “When they raised cigarettes to 49 cents a pack!”

And the doctor would drop the pen and we would all laugh. No matter which doctor – it was always a funny/fun moment.

The truth was my grandfather had actually caught phenomena in his 40s or 50s, couldn't smoke because of coughing, and didn't…

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Regrets, Parenting, and High School 

As parents we always try to make sure our children avoid the miscues and mishaps that we made. A few days ago; I encouraged my oldest son not to “leave anything on the table”
regarding high school. I told him to work as hard as possible in the classroom, to hustle beyond his potential on the court, and be a good friend and make valuable relationships. All things I weren’t good at.

For four years of high school all I had to show was a 2.0 grade point average. That’s it. I gave a 2.0 effort and that’s what…Read more

4 Boys, Statistics, Prison, Change, and Poetry 

The four black boys sitting around the Dell weren’t different than any other boys. All around 10 or 11, the same height, outfitted in uniform blues, and each colored a different but beautiful shade of brown. Shirt-tales out, shoes untied, they looked around to see if anyone was watching as each one took turns at the key board. I took a quick glance at the screen and heard one say, “That’s my dad right there.”

Then it hit me- they were looking up their fathers on Michigan’s offender search website.

You…Read more

Christmas, Nintendo, and Free Passes 

It was the Christmas of 1986, like a lot of kids, I was anticipating my Nintendo Entertainment System.  My grandparents hadn't “assured” me I was getting one but I knew them well enough to know that they just wanted to keep me guessing (and wanted to keep my behavior good.)  About 4 days before Christmas they told me they had to go to a luncheon and would be gone for about 2 hours. The standard rules applied: don't answer the door for nobody, and don't try to cook any food.

The minute the door closed, I…

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My mother, Expectations, Parenting, and Success 

If you know me, you know I usually speak with great reverence about my grandparents. They did everything in their power to “set me up to win” and I appreciate them more and more every day. However there was one miscalculation in which I’ve made it a point not to repeat as a parent. They expected me to live up to the standards my mother had set before me.

This may not sound like a big deal but let me tell you about my mother. Wanda Yvonne Davison was a consistent 4.0 student. She was clever, bright and…Read more

Children, Sacrifice, Goals, and Parenting 

If the “Parent of the year” award was based on sacrifice – my wife would win hands down. I have no problem admitting this because it’s the truth. When I was up late submitting applications to writing workshops and writing articles for The Metro Times – she was giving baths and reading goodnight stories. When I first started my photography business and was glued to my seat developing marketing and business plans – she was planning activities for the kids. When it was time to move; she was researching school…Read more

Observations and Thankfulness  

A young girl, no older than 8, wrapped in berets, uniform blues, and goodness - crossing a hectic road in a not-so-safe part of town on her way to school. I asked God to watch over her travels and thanked Him in the next breath that my daughter never has to worry about such. I also tried to imagine that little 8 year-olds back story: Is mom at work, working 2 jobs? Is dad around, is he alive? Is she happy? Does she get good grades? Can she recognize the bad guys, how to sidestep danger, how to run like…Read more

My parents, Jovan Belcher, Murder, Suicide,…….where are we? 

I’m not a statistician, or a crime reports enthusiast but I’m sure when my father murdered my mother in 1977 – it was considered a rare crime. Till’ this day I still wonder what the back story was. What was my father going through? What was on his mind? What kind of demons did he have? Was there a psychiatric issue? All unanswered questions that pop up in my head from time to time.

To be honest; these are unwanted thoughts. I’d rather not think about such but I can’t stop because it seems every month I’m…Read more

The Hood, Suburbs, Good Kids, Bad Kids and Parenting 

I grew up at 17385 Pinehurst on Detroit’s west-side in the 80s and 90s. It was more “neighborhood than “hood” but nonetheless – it still had its challenges. My grandfather was savvy to the threats surrounding me/us. There was always: “Don’t go near That House”, “Stay away from Those Kids,” “Stay away from That Corner,” or “You can’t be friends with That Kid.” (For the record – he was always right.) And honestly I feel his job was easier as a parent than mine is now because the bad kids actually looked like…Read more