A few weeks ago, I was riding Obie and Eli in the Walmart buggy while Amanda was grocery shopping. As I attempted to keep them occupied, we ran into some friends. The boys started to hand out the high-fives to our friends when an older black man that I did not know came up and insisted on getting high-fives himself and then walked off.
One minute later, he came back and interrupted the conversation by pointing to Eli and asking, “Sir, excuse me, but are you mentoring this young boy?”
Before I got to respond to this funny question as this stranger pointed at my tiny 2-year-old, Eli looked up at me and tried to get my attention by saying, “Daddy?”
This man stated, “I’m sorry, is this boy your son?!”
“Yes sir, he is. Both of these boys are my sons.”
“On behalf of all black men, I want like the honor to shake your hand and thank you for taking this boy in. Too many white men are having to step in to take care of black men’s children. Fathers aren’t stepping up to their responsibility hese days.”
“Well, sir,” I replied, “I don’t think it is a black thing, I just think men in general are falling behind regardless of race. I do appreciate you saying that though, because some times my family and I have gotten stares from…”
“You don’t worry about what they think of you! You worry what this boy thinks of you! They look at you because they know they need to be doing something about the needs in this world and they are not. You don’t worry about them! They are jealous because you are actually doing something worthwhile. All this boy needs is a mommy and a daddy and it don’t matter what color they are. This boy has no idea how blessed he is to have you as his father.”
Overwhelmingly humbled at this point, I replied, “Thank you so much for those kind words. I’ll be honest, we originally thought we were doing something noble, but I think we are more blessed for him being in our lives that he is for having us in his life.”
“What made you want to do it?”
“Jesus. He loves us so much, sometimes you just need to ensure someone else can see that love.”
“God bless you, and on behalf of all black men everywhere, I thank you.”
“On behalf of all white men, I thank you.”
Embrace with a former stranger. Another round of high fives. Humbled white man loving his life while driving a white boy and a black boy that are his sons in a Walmart buggy.