Father Knows Best Panel

Welcome to our Father Knows Best Panel! ExtraordinaryFathers.com has assembled a rotating panel of engaged and experienced African American fathers (and mothers too) who like you are always searching for the best possible outcomes for their children. Each member of our Father Knows Best Panel has been selected from a cross section of men who bring diverse backgrounds, experiences and approaches to parenting but they all have one thing in common – they are good men who are engaged and committed to successfully raising extraordinary sons and daughters. We know that our children don’t come with an instruction manual but if we are being honest, it would sure be helpful if fathers had access to a proven set of resources when the need arises. Our Father Knows Best Panel will provide fathers with practical and useful answers for simple to complex questions as they travel on the road to fatherhood.

Please review the backgrounds of our Father Knows Best Panel members and submit your question to our panel for their full range of advice. Please note that we will maintain the confidentiality of your submittal in our published response to your question (i.e., your real name, email address, etc. will not be disclosed).

kemarr_brooksKemarr Brooks

The titles writer, poet, blogger, entertainer could all be used to describe Kemarr Brooks (commonly known as Key). However, his most profound and favorite title would be “father”.  Since 2006, Key as a single father has been the provider, friend, protector and confidant to his 6 year old daughter.

Mike_CarrMike Carr

Mike is a proven and seasoned business entrepreneur with extensive experience in marketing and technology based companies. His passion for excellence and commitment for doing it right the first time extends from the workplace all the way home to his family life. He and his wife Alesa have two teenage children, Michael and Kendal who regularly benefit from Mike’s wisdom and guidance. Mike is very active in his church and community as a coach, board member and is a mentor to many.

George_CrawfordGeorge Crawford

George is a life coach for financial literacy. George is married to Angela and is blessed with 5 beautiful daughters who are currently in college or working while pursuing post graduate degrees. He worked in the information technology industry as a marketing and consulting executive. Besides being a life coach, George enjoys golf and actively invests in real estate, global markets and business startups that focus on technology and software in the healthcare sector.

Randy_WalkerRandy Walker

Randy Walker is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for a major health care system. He and his wife Sheron and have two sons. His older son was a graduate of Hampton University with a degree in Accounting and youngest son is playing Junior Hockey in Alaska before heading off to college. Randy is very active in his community as both a board member to numerous organizations and serves as youth mentor to many young adults. He was selected by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the outstanding mentor of the year in 2006.

 

Recently Submitted Questions

Click question to reveal answers.

My wife and I recently became first time parents of a daughter and I want to be a great father, unlike my own father who wasn’t present in the lives of me and my sisters. What short-term and long-term advice would you offer me?

Kemarr Brooks Response:

We share that in common; I am a father of a little girl who had an absentee father as well. Due to the fact that my biological father wasn't around made me want to be the father he never was. The short term advice is the same as the long term advice.... Just be there for your kid in every way. She'll need you to teach her what to look for in a man because you are the first man that she is going to be around.

 

Mike Carr Response:

First, the fact that you want to be a great father is the first step toward success. Wanting to be a great father for your daughter shows the first step of commitment that is necessary to be a great dad. Second, you have a lot of experience and examples based on your own father of what not to do if you want to be a great dad. I, similar to you had a father that was not involved with me and my brother as children. It allowed me to turn a negative into a positive in that I wanted to be involved in every aspect of my children's lives. As a newborn I wanted to be involved in feeding and changing of diapers, reading bedtime stories and singing lullaby's. It establishes an early bond that sets the foundation for everything that comes after. Spend time with your daughter from the very first day of her life and don't stop being involved as she gets older. Get involved in all of her activities as she grows, whether its sports, dance, academics, etc., and share responsibilities with your wife. Your daughter will love and appreciate you for being there.

Daughters get there queues from their father in building self esteem and confidence always tell her she is beautiful and always be supportive and encouraging and being a great father will take care of itself.

 

George Crawford Response:

When they are young enjoy them. They will adore you, beg for your attention and will hang on your every word. While, they are little girls, they are not fragile. Play with them just like you would a boy. Also do not neglect your duties for feeding, daily prayers, reading daily books and yes, changing their diapers.

From a longer term perspective, it is important to begin early for setting the tone for their self esteem because daughters are validated by their fathers. Always choose your words carefully with a focus on praising them but only criticizing their actions when required. Try nicknames or others forms of endearment that are an expression of continuous love (i.e., hey beautiful, hi sweetheart). This may sound corny, but it will be ingrained in their psyche. It will also be reflected in the boys and men they chose. These boys/men will respect them, treat them well, and make them happy. It seems daughters tend to be attracted to boys/ men that remind them of their fathers or primary caregivers.

 

Randy Walker Response:

My father was not very involved in my life when I was growing up and so like you, I promised to be more involved in my sons’ life at every level. However, a lesson I learned and will pass on to you is not to overcompensate with your child for the lack of a father in your life. You want to focus on love and communication while teaching them life lessons that sometimes come in the form of “tough love”.  When they are young, love and nurture them but also begin to instill key values and principles they will need to be productive members of society.   Remember to listen and pass on knowledge. The most valuable gift you can ever give them is your time.  Be prepared for when they transition almost overnight from your loving child to a young person who knows everything (it was age 7 for my oldest son) then onto a teenager who sometimes want nothing to do with their parents.    Remember the Mark Twain quote "when I was young my parents did not know anything, however, the older I got the smarter my parents became".

My daughter is a high school sophomore and wants to begin dating and I’m just not comfortable with that right now. My wife thinks it’s ok. She is a good student and I want her focus to be more on school not boys. Any suggestions?

Kemarr Brooks Response:

If your daughter is a good student you should focus on that. She is at an age where no matter what you say or do she is getting very curious about boys. Instead of telling her no, trust her and make sure she knows her worth! By restricting her of those privileges, she'll more than likely rebel and start sneaking behind your back. You knew the clock was ticking and she can’t be your baby girl forever. I know that sucks for the both of us. I wish my daughter could stay a kid forever. LOL!

 

Mike Carr Response:

I am not a proponent of dating as a sophomore in High School (but that's just me). A firm academic foundation is first and foremost best for your daughter’s future. While I think it's fine for your daughter to have friends (both boys and girls) dating is a more significant step that requires more maturity to understand that academics come first and "dating" a boy should not have an adverse impact on that priority. I'm with you; there is plenty of time for boys later. Good luck in trying to convince your wife J.

 

George Crawford Response:

As a father, you must screen all the boys on behalf of your daughter. If your wife and daughter gang up on you, only agree to a date if you can ask the boy some questions before they go out. For example, what do you want to be when you grow up? What grades do you have? Do you have cavities? All kidding aside, it is however important that the young man hear directly from you how he must treat your daughter with "respect". You should make sure both your daughter and the young man are in the room together when you have this discussion.

It is also ok if you get the reputation of being the "crazy" father, especially among your daughters and her friends. This will put the fear of god in those boys. You want them to see you at school and visiting with their teachers and other authority figures in their lives. It does come in handy. A boy had mistreated one of my five daughters and I made that boy’s life a living hell. It included a midnight discussion on respect again. Even his football coach joined in and gave him an extra 50 pushups and had him in a head lock at one point.  His behavior cleaned up fast.  Remember as father, your daughters can do no wrong unless mama says it is wrong.

 

Randy Walker Response:

First, I applaud you for being open minded to considering her request.  I have been told by friends who have successfully raised daughters that the best approach to this situation is group dating.  Only allow this if there are at least six people and you the establish terms and conditions.

I have a different approach to disciplining my kids (7 and 9) than does their mother. She believes in the time-out, talk until you are out of breath approach whereas I believe in the “spare the rod spoil the child” method. What works best?

Kemarr Brooks Response:

I don't think whipping a child solves anything. It's a temporary form of discipline that only teaches a child that any issues or disputes should be solved with violence.

Mike Care Response:

While I was raised in the generation of be seen and not heard and spankings were plentiful, I am firmly against physical punishment in disciplining a child. You and your wife must discuss how you will discipline your children and come to agreement on what course you will take. Compromise by you and your wife is an essential part of a healthy relationship, both for you and your children. Your children should see a united front when it comes to discipline so they do not play each of you against one another. Setting the right expectations of behavior with your children and then taking away something of importance to them (i.e., electronic gadgets seem to be very important in the lives of children today) when they misbehave can be an effective means of discipline. We must always discipline with love and never discipline in anger. Being stern with misbehavior early sets the stage as children grow. However, the first step is for you and your wife to agree on the approach to disciplining your children. Randy Walker Response:

I think the father is most often the disciplinarian.  We often say,” my parents took a belt to my behind and I turned out just fine”. However, based on my experience, I think you need both styles. The key is when to apply time out versus the rod.  We live in a world of mass communication and instant gratification. You have to understand what motivates your child and what they value and use this to support the method of discipline you apply.

Randy Walker Response:

I think the father is most often the disciplinarian.  We often say,” my parents took a belt to my behind and I turned out just fine”. However, based on my experience, I think you need both styles. The key is when to apply time out versus the rod.  We live in a world of mass communication and instant gratification. You have to understand what motivates your child and what they value and use this to support the method of discipline you apply.

My twelve year old son likes everything but school. What can I do to get him more interested in his school work?

Kemarr Brooks Response:

Take your son on a trip down memory lane! Let him see what you had to go through to get where you are. Take him on some field trips to the museums or science center. Show him that learning can also be fun and experiment with new methods of teaching. Show him that in order to be a successful man he has to work hard and earn an education. Men are visual creatures; if you show him how much school will actually pay off he might begin to like it.

Mike Carr Response:

Is there something going on at school that is having a negative affect on your son? If you determine that there is not, get involved with his academics at home. Help your son with his homework and show him that learning can be fun and interesting. Apply real world learning to the things that he is interested in. Get him involved in reading things that are fun and entertaining for him and gradually move to more advanced subject matters. Help your son understand how life can be less rewarding without a good education. However, I believe the key is to be involved with in his educational journey.

Randy Walker Response:

There are many things that can cause a child not to like school. You first need to ask why and understand his reasons for not enjoying school.   Based on the reason, you then need to develop a plan that will either try to remove the barriers and or create the right incentives.

Submit a Question to the Panel

Use the form below to ask a question