Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day 2013 !!!

I want to take this time to wish a Happy Father's Day to two special men. The first man is Archie Muhammad. Archie Muhammad was a father of seven children when I was growing up in the 1980’s without a father or a father figure in my household. He was the man that first taught my brother and me about not using the word Nigger against Black people as well as taught us both about entrepreneurship. When we were 10 and 11 years old, my brother and I sold candy for Mr. Archie. He supplied the boxes of candy and we received a percentage of every bar or box sold. Needless to say, my brother and I would come home almost every night around 9 or 9:30 pm on a school night with at least 30 to 40 bucks in our pockets. That was a lot for two 11 and 12 year olds in the early 1980's. This income allowed my brother and me to lessen the financial burden on our mother, who at the time was caring for us two boys and our two younger sisters on public assistance. We sold candy for Mr. Archie until we reached the age of 15 and 16 when we both went out on own and began to buy and sell the very same candy, keeping the all of the profits for ourselves.

Mr. Archie genuinely cared about all of the young men he would pick-up from the hoods of North Memphis and South Memphis in his beat-up SUV after school to take us to different parts of Memphis to make some cash from selling candy. Us going to sell candy with Mr. Archie was our after-school program. We were supervised, cared for, and taught valuable lessons about decency, manhood, and how to make money honestly. We even had the pleasure of meeting his wife and family. I have seen Mr. Archie in a long time. I think the next time I go home for a visit, I will look him up and pay him a visit to give him a hug and say thank you for all he did and said when I was a kid growing up. His influence is still with me today.

The next man is my brother, Eric Rivers. My brother is the example what a father is supposed to be today. Talk about making sacrifices for his children (Too many to name in this post). I have watched him make so many sacrifices to make sure that his two biological children with his wife and even the two step sons he inherited when he met and married his wife so many years ago. My brother is not perfect. He has made some mistakes, but he has done a perfect job (in my opinion) at be present and accounted for when it comes to all of his children. It is truly something to behold the process of a present parent, particularly an active father and husband.

 Let’s see. He oldest son, which he helped rear from a very little boy now plays for the San Francisco 49ners. The next the oldest step-son, is entering his third year in college. He has hopes of playing in the NFL in the future. The next son, (his first biological) just graduated from high school a week ago and will be heading off to California to attend college and play football. Damn, it looks like my brother is pretty good at rearing future pro-athletes. I guess he is good at rearing them because playing sports is another issue. LOL! Well, if you count play station and Madden games. Now, my brother’s fourth child (his second biological) my 12 year old niece, is the little scholar. She has already established herself as a lover of school and learning. I expect her to graduate from high school and continue the course of attending college after high school.  Of course, my brother did not accomplish all of this alone, but we are speaking about how amazing fathers are on the established Father’s Day, right?

If I were to ever become a father (biological, step-dad, or even through adoption) I will definitely use some of the notes from my brother’s parenting play book.  So, I want to end my day and this Father’s Day by wishing Brother Archie Muhammad and my brother, Eric, a Happy Father’s Day!

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