This post is going to be different from the ‘few’ that I actually do post. I usually have an idea but when I think about it too long, I’ll scratch it and move on.
A few months ago, one of my younger homies from back home hit me on Facebook and asked, “What percentage of my income do I put into my 401k?” I told him and naturally we ended up talking finances – something that a lot of black men refuse to do – so I was shocked because he’s never come to me with something like this before.
I know this has nothing to do with the title of the post, but next he tells me, “You should give this type of info more often because believe it or not, a lot of us back home look up to you.”
That’s when it hit me. My Dad died in 2009 but not a day goes by that I don’t make a decision based on the years worth of wisdom that he passed to me through countless conversations, lectures and scoldings. He was my Google before there was a Google. So many people do not have those direct life lessons to refer back to and I can’t imagine how lost I’d be without them. I vividly remember my Dad talking to me about his 401k in his drive way when I was about 13, but here I am in my 30s telling my lil bro what I know. And some day he’ll tell his son some of the same things and a whole lot more, because that’s how it should be, you live, you learn and teach the next generation, hopefully more than what was taught to you.
True story. Pops met Candice twice, once in passing while we were in college and again in our early 20s. Keep in mind that for my entire life, this man always told me to wait until I was at LEAST 30 to get into a serious relationship. The weekend he meets Candice, as she’s driving off, he tells me, “Marry her….. You don’t see it now, but I can see it in her eyes, she cares about you, you gotta marry her.”
I was so confused, I’m like “Bro, you’ve known her for 48 hours, what happened to 30?” He just sips his beer, giggles and walks off. And then several years later, this happens…..
My boy Corey Barrett wrote a recent post that said something to the affect of “No matter what, the mother of my kids will ALWAYS be straight.” Now Corey’s my boy from college and he’s usually full of shit – lol sorry bro – but in that moment, he reminded me of my Pops.
My parents split when I was 3 and it was alway pretty ‘rocky’ for as far as I can remember. But no matter how bad it got between them, my Dad always looked out and made sure we were good. He’d often give me extra money and say “Your Mom will need this one day, but don’t tell her you got it from me.” He even kept my Mom on his medical insurance up until the day he died, because he said he wanted to make sure she was always ok. Odd as it may sound, I think I learned more about being a man by growing up without both parents in the same household.
A few months after my Dad passed, I kinda ‘accidentally’ found out that his doctor had given him 2 years to live, but he didn’t want me to know. I was working, traveling and had just gotten into acting, so he wanted me to see the world and chase my dreams, not come running back to Lufkin to be around him. Looking back, I couldn’t even be mad, because, that’s exactly what I would’ve done and he knew that. All I can do is laugh and wonder how one can be that selfless?
I say all of this to say, if you’re a Dad, go be a Dad. Some way, some how make it happen, don’t let your ego or outside forces keep you away from your kids, because they need you. They need ALL of you now, because some day, they may not have you.
If you’re a son or a daughter and not on speaking terms with your Dad, it’s never too late to try to get things right.
Happy Father’s Day to Bobby Ray Cauley, Sr. and all of the other Dads out there.
Ya’ll Be Cool.
-Bobby Ray Cauley, Jr.