Pursuing My Passion, Living My Dream

The photo to the left RMRC Cover Photois of my son and I making our way up to the ‪#‎HollywoodSign‬ in California about four years ago. This photo inspired me to write Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH. I wrote this book for men who want to have transformative interactions with their children, and preserve the peace and prosperity that is supposed to be every child’s birthright.

Men, it is imperative that we stand in the gap for our wives (and children’s mothers) and children. Gone are the days when we fathers allow our self-worth to be measured by hefty paychecks. I should know.  Off and on, I have spent nine of my son’s 12 years being a stay-at-home dad.  But know this: I receive immense joy from watching him develop into an intelligent and selfless individual. Now don’t get me wrong; my child is still prone to bouts of selfishness.  But just like I don’t allow him to fail in school, I also will not allow him to develop the kind of defeatist mindset that denies him promotion and, moreover, prevents him from one day collaborating with others to establish a more fair, equitable and just society.

Real_Men_Raise_CHAMP_Cover_for_KindleI want to thank those individuals who have already purchased Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH.  Without you, I would not be able to pursue my passion, live out my dream.  Your purchases increase my capacity to take my message to the streets.  And for those who have yet to purchase my seminal text, I say, “What are you waiting on?”  While it’s true I don’t know why so many fathers have detached themselves from their children, I do know transformative leaders like us are needed, so it’s time for the Real Men out there to stand up and be counted.

Please click here to PURCHASE ebook or paperback versions of my book.

Thank you for your support.

J. A. Faulkerson

Strategist | Author | Speaker

 

That First C

SupermenLike most parents, I beam with pride when my son brings home good grades.  This is a sign that he is beginning to understand the correlation between good grades, worldly success and eternal prosperity. But when he went from a low A to a low B in Math earlier this year, I thought I was going to blow a gasket.

For some strange reason, he was having a difficult time breaking word problems into logical equations.  And this comes after receiving what I perceived to be quality private school educations in North Carolina and California.  But I get it, though.  My son is in a new school, a public one, and he would rather be friends with the other kids than compete against them for top academic honors.  But with only one week left in this six-week period, it looks as if he is destined to make his first C, something he has never done since his recorded grades started to matter, when he was in the third grade.

Real Men Must Establish High Academic Standards

Please understand where I’m coming from.  I know a C is a passing grade, but I’m cut deep by the fact that my son is at risk of making one.  As a Real Man, my academic standards are much higher than those parents who allow teachers to just educate their children without holding these same teachers accountable.  C grades mean our children’s academic performances are average. And, if you’re anything like me, that’s not good enough.  Our children have one job – to make A’s and B’s in all of their classes – and the fact they aren’t making good grades should be signs they aren’t taking their jobs seriously.  We must always expect more from our children, not less.

Because my son made a very, low grade on a recent Financial Literacy test, we had to have daily sit-downs to prepare for the retake.  Our sessions lasted a little over an hour, and each time I would explain the steps he needed to take to solve each problem.  But when I typed up a sample test, which pretty much mirrored the 20-question assessment (just different numbers), and had him take it, I found myself getting miffed at the fact that the only problems he could answer correctly without my assistance were the vocabulary problems.

Real Men Are Patient and Kind

I readily admit that my tutoring sessions with my son have, at times, tried my patience.  When he started humming some song that was playing in his head, I felt my lips quivering, my left leg bouncing, because I knew my words were going in one ear and out the other.  I threatened him with consequences for not giving me his full attention, but that only caused him to lose his focus even more, especially when he started crying because I told him he no longer had the privilege of watching his cartoons during the week, playing video games on the weekend.

Failure can never be an option.  Neither can mediocrity.  As our children’s first teachers, their coaches, we must use our creativity to get them to do things they view as impossible.  For my son, it is gaining mastery and proficiency in Math.  Because he isn’t as successful in this class as he is in the others (all A’s), you can tell there is a certain amount of pent-up dread when he has to complete assignments in it.  But because I have been there, done that, I know what it’s going to take for him to have a breakthrough.

First and foremost, he must be able to identify his weaknesses and develop a plan for turning them into strengths. He’s only able to develop these skills when I force his hand.  Yes, his teacher and I must provide the instruction, but he must have the self-initiative to sit at the table with his notes in front of him so Eureka Moments can be had.  It’s all right if he has questions; that goes hand-in-hand with the learning process.  But because I will not be with him when he takes the retake, or future quizzes and tests for that matter, he must be able to settle back down after I have answered his questions, so more Eureka Moments can be had.

Real Men Explain Why Their Academic Standards Are So HighHispanic Father and Child

As Real Men, our hope should be that our children understand why our academic standards are so high.  They should know that we want them to make A’s and B’s in all of their classes because it lets others know they have strong work ethics. Individuals with strong work ethics are esteemed more highly than others, they receive access to opportunities that are often denied to individuals content with settling for the average, the mediocre.  More importantly, though, they are positioning themselves to be leaders, not followers.

I know my son is destined to become a leader, but I also know I have to do my part to set him on the right path. Yes, I had the same problems in Math that he is currently having. And, no, I wasn’t the greatest of students, at least in high school. But that doesn’t disqualify me from helping him acquire the knowledge and skills to be better than me. If anything, it’s a challenge for me, resulting from the fact that I have to shake off my past disappointments in secondary school to prevent him from making the same mistakes.  And because, as a mature, educated adult, I now have a more thorough understanding of Math and a host of other subjects and topics, I am better able to help him reach loftier standards now and in the future.

Real Men Don’t Take It Personal

Seeing that first C on my son’s report card is going to be a low moment for me.  And if I didn’t know better, I would take it personal.  But I’m not because I know he has the capacity to understand when he is free of distractions. He just needs a teacher who can explain the real-life applications of the concepts being taught, and manage classroom dynamics well.

I now find myself pushing him to advocate for himself in the classroom by posing questions to the teacher during her classroom lectures and after them. That’s the only way he’s going to gain the understanding he needs to perform well on upcoming assignments and tests, by taking ownership of his learning.  He also receives additional instruction at Mathnasium.

We Real Men tend to take our little children’s’ lack of academic success personal because it reflects badly on us, our rearing of them.  I’m not going to lie; it makes me feel good when my son brings home a report card riddled with A’s. I’m now able to brag to my friends, and anyone who will listen, that my boy is an honor roll student.  It’s almost as if I’m trying to live through him.  But brothers beware.  Our time has come, and gone.  How we performed in primary and secondary school, and even college, has no bearing on our present circumstances, and those of our significant others.  In short, it’s not about us; it’s about them.

It’s our children’s time to sink or swim.

The burden is on us, and their teachers, to teach them how to swim with a sense of urgency.

CCC Logo 2

Click on icon above to order apparel and merchandise.

The Strengthened Family Imperative

Patient-FamiliesAs many of you know, I have been a certified parent educator with Active Parenting Publishers, Inc. since 2007.  I decided to pursue certification in this area mainly because I wanted to be a better parent to my then three-year-old son. But the curriculums’ creator, Dr. Michael H. Popkin, has commissioned individuals like me – the ones who have completed his training – to take these learned lessons beyond the four walls of our homes. That’s why my To-Do List includes what I call The Strengthened Family Imperative.

I believe we are members of one big, human family, and the fact that I’m black and you’re red, yellow, brown or white should not prevent us from having each other’s backs.  For me, having your backs means giving you the kind of information that will help you lead more purposeful and prosperous lives.

Right here at the outset, I confess that I’m not the perfect parent.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and my son (and wife) will be quick to tell you what they were and when they were committed.  But one thing I do know: I love my child (and my wife), and I am committed to sending him on his merry way when he turns 18.  However, I consider it a privilege and an honor, as well as a great responsibility, to be his father.  As one of his first teachers (my wife being the other), I have been charged with giving him the knowledge and exposure he needs to make life-altering decisions.  My hope is he will use this knowledge and exposure to remain grounded, humbly keeping himself and his significant others moving forward and upward into what I call the Prosperity Zone. 

The Prosperity Zone is that place where our lives are in perfect alignment with God’s will and favor.  The individuals who live there have graduated from high school to attend college or trade school, enlist in the Armed Forces.  More importantly, they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  After taking hold of their degrees and certifications, or transitioning from soldier to civilian, they secure full-time jobs that pay them livable wages.  Thereafter, they fall in love, and after months, years even, of courtship, they get married, ultimately being blessed with their first child.  The birth of this child is their crowning achievement, second only to their nuptials.  After that, their every waking hour is devoted to showing that child how to get his or her own life in alignment with God’s will and favor.

imagesAccording to Dictionary.com, the word imperative means “absolutely necessary or required”.  Because there is no surefire approach to raising competent, courageous and responsible children, I think it is absolutely necessary (and required) that we parents sit down and share our experiences with each other.  Yes, Dr. Popkin is spot on when he draws our attention to the Think-Feel-Do Cycle (the Christian bible admonishes us to “take every thought captive,” remember?) and other research-based approaches.  But when you bring groups of like-minded parents together, you essentially create a braintrust.  From this braintrust, we parents draw inspiration and encouragement.  Better yet, we slowly begin to realize that we’re not alone, that the solutions to our child-rearing challenges can be found in the person (or persons) sitting to our left or right, front or rear. That’s all some people need to know to make sure they secure a seat at the table.

The future of The Strengthened Family Imperative looks bright.  In the coming weeks, I will embark on a quest that will have me creating forums for parents to learn, share and grow.  I will approach local civic and community organizations for the purpose of making their employees aware of my services. My hope is these organizations serve parents who would be interested in registering for my video-based options – Active Parenting Now (for parents of children between the ages of 5-12) or Active Parenting of Teens (for parents of children between the ages of 12-18).  And after the release of my new motivational book (Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner C.O.A.C.H.) later this year, my hope is they will have fathers who would be interested in connecting with other fathers through their participation in one of my Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS Huddle Groups. The information I share with these fathers will prayerfully give them the confidence they need to responsibly assert power, authority and influence over the lives of their spouses and children.

downloadPlease know that my organization, Culturally Coded Content, is a for-profit entity, not a non-profit.  I am its only employee.  If you would like to contribute financially to my efforts, I ask that you purchase the products listed under the Crowdfunding Campaigns tab.  Monies raised from these campaigns are directly deposited into my account, and are used to defray costs associated with activities connected to The Strengthened Family Imperative.

The deadline for purchasing a Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS t-shirt is Saturday, February 21, 2015.

Thank you in advance for increasing my capacity to help parents raise champions.

Be blessed, and continue to be blessings.

-0-

“Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS” Excerpt

Jeff and Caleb UT GameCLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR “REAL MEN RAISE CHAMPIONS” T-SHIRT.

There is no surefire way to develop a platform for success. But I have learned during my 47 years on this planet that success is predicated on one’s ability to 1) regulate his thoughts, feelings and behaviors, 2) make righteous decisions, 3) surround himself with people who will inject life in them, not death, 4) display a strong, work ethic in all personal and professional endeavors, and 5) be quick to listen, slow to speak.

All of these factors played out favorably in my life. I was able to develop my own platform for success. However, because I was raised by my single-parent mother in Kingsport, Tennessee (population: about 40,000), I could have easily become a high school dropout, a drug dealer, or a teenage parent, to name only a few. Instead, I graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1986 to attend the University of Tennessee. While living in Knoxville from 1986-1998, I secured my undergraduate degree in Social Work and my graduate degree in Social Work Management and Community Practice. The very next year, 1999 to be exact, my wife and I would move to Massachusetts, representing the first time I had lived anywhere other than my native Tennessee.

What you need to understand about me is my parents separated and divorced when I was four years old. Consequently, I grew up saying I would be nothing like my father, at the time a deadbeat. I possessed a longing to be present in the lives of my future wife and children. So, rather than allow my bitter thoughts and feelings toward my father to weigh me down, I made them work for me in my pursuit of prosperity. There was no way I was going to use not having him in my life as a crutch.

But to say I wasn’t adversely impacted by my father’s lack of involvement would be an understatement. I was impacted, immensely. Because his contact with me was infrequent during my childhood years, I was robbed of opportunities to:

  • Create lasting memories with my paternal grandfather and grandmother (both now deceased);
  • Develop solid relationships with my paternal uncles and aunt, as well as their children and grandchildren; and
  • Learn my paternal roots through osmosis (from simply living and relating).

More importantly, though, his absence robbed me of opportunities to know him.

To this day, I envy my half-brother and stepsisters for having much tighter relationships with him. But that’s on him. He opted to remain present in their lives, not mine.

But, again, I wasn’t about to use not having him in my life as a crutch. I didn’t have to. I had excellent role models on my mother’s side of the family. My maternal uncles and aunts provided the kind of guidance and encouragement I needed to look beyond my circumstances (impoverished single-parent household) to see the various paths available to me as I grew older. I learned at a very early age that I could either graduate from high school and secure full-time employment, or graduate from high school and attend a four-year college/university. There was also the option of enlisting in the military.

I still remember those family get-togethers in Rogersville and Kingsport, which usually occurred around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. On Christmas Eve, we would eat meals with all the fixings, and, afterwards, exchange gifts. While the eating and gift-exchanges were somewhat central to our being together, I now know it afforded me an opportunity to draw a clear distinction between the lives led by middle-class Americans and those being led by working class Americans.

To say I preferred the former would be an understatement. All of my middle-class uncles and aunts had full-time jobs. The salaries they earned from these jobs enabled them to purchase big homes (with basements) and nice cars. I even had an uncle who owned a mobile home, and when he took it out on the road to different campsites in the Tri-Cities area and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, my mother, brother, sister and I always received invitations to meet up with them. We would be at these campsites all day, the adults joking and eating as they sat in lawn chairs haphazardly set up around tables alongside the mobile home. We kids, my siblings, cousins and I, would explore the parks’ wooded areas, even going down to the streams and lakes to skip rocks and phish for crawfish. These were the good ole’ days, moments that I will always cherish.

However, I also drew inspiration from my mother.   While it is true my father abandoned us, never providing the financial support my mother needed to raise champions, she became a champion in her own right. There were undoubtedly moments of self-pity and doubt, depression even. But she overcame these moments by enrolling in a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certificate program at Kingsport’s Steed College. She completed this program with honors, and when she graduated to secure her first job in the nursing profession, I beamed with pride. Granted, she still didn’t have much. But she now possessed the academic credentials she needed to add to the little she already had.

My platform for success is anchored to my 1977 acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. At nine years of age, this acceptance also enabled me to become a member of Kingsport’s Central Baptist Church. If you’re not the religious type, your platform may be anchored to something else, and that’s perfectly fine. Please know, however, that most platforms are attached to your desire to either be selfish or selfless.

Selfishness means that everything is catered to you. You would much rather receive than give.

Selflessness, on the other hand, means that everything is catered toward others. You would much rather give than receive.

Because I consider myself a real man, I choose to be selfless. And I want this selflessness to be contagious. That’s why I’m frantically waving at the fathers out there, bidding them to meet me at the bottom of what, at times, can seem like an insurmountable mountain.

Only 26.2 more miles to go.

Come on.

We got this.

Copyright 2015.  Jeffery A. Faulkerson.  All rights reserved.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR “REAL MEN RAISE CHAMPIONS” T-SHIRT.

Texas Writer Launches Father Involvement Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 29, 2015

TEXAS WRITER LAUNCHES FATHER INVOLVEMENT CAMPAIGN

-Contends “Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS” and “Every CHAMPION needs a COACH”-


Do AnythingDallas/Fort Worth, TX (BlackNews.com)
– Writer J. A. Faulkerson is on a mission. He wants to encourage responsible fathers in their quest to raise competent, cooperative and courageous children, and subtly remind the irresponsible ones “Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS” and “Every CHAMPION needs a COACH”.

According to information posted on the National Fatherhood Initiative website (www.fatherhood.org), 24 million children in America – one out of three – live without their biological father in the home. Faulkerson believes this problem can be addressed, but first more people need to know it exists.

That is why he designed a t-shirt with these bold statements on it. He is using the t-shirt to raise funds for the publication and promotion of his soon-to-be-released motivational book Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner C.O.A.C.H. Monies raised through the Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS Campaign will also increase Faulkerson’s capacity to share his insights with community and civic groups.

Faulkerson, best known for his debut novel ADINKRAHENE (available for online purchase through Amazon.com), readily admits he is nowhere close to being a master parent, even though he is the father to an 11-year-old boy. But in Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS, he draws from his experiences as a stay-at-home dad and former educational access and opportunity professional to offer fathers tips for helping their children develop platforms for success. He also shares stories from his personal life, about how he was able to achieve success in a small town in Upper East Tennessee despite being raised in a single-parent household.

To purchase t-shirts ($20) in support of J. A. Faulkerson’s Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS Campaign, visit www.booster.com/realmenraisechampions.

The deadline for placing orders is Saturday, February 21, 2015.

-0-