Glen Henry is a dad who is crushing several stereotypes about fatherhood.
First off he’s a stay-at-home-dad.
Henry became a stay-at-home-dad after realizing that he was spending 40 percent of his salary on childcare for his toddler. He and his wife had another baby on the way so they decided that Henry would stay at home with the kids.
Now Henry is an advocate for stay-at-home parents and hopes to inspire respect for this unpaid profession.
He’s also created a successful YouTube channel called Beleaf in Fatherhood.
“I have become an advocate for stay-at-home parents. Why? Because finally, I was standing in their shoes. Because when you’re standing in someone else’s shoes, you see the world from a different perspective,” he said in a TED talk. “And when you start to take steps, it feels like baby steps, wobbling. But then they turn into stomps. And you start making footprints for the next generation to walk in.”
He’s also putting stereotypes about black fathers to bed and how they aren’t there for their kids.
A stereotype type strengthened by irresponsible TV and film portrayals of black families.
Some of his videos have even gotten negative comments like “He’s going to leave his family in a week” and “I didn’t know black fathers existed.”
“At first I was really, really mad. But then I had sympathy, because I was like, ‘Man, it’s so sad that people really believe this,” he told PopSugar. “This is their truth,’ and so I felt like I really had the opportunity to prove them wrong.”
Henry says he’s not trying to be an example but proof that it is possible.
“I document the misadventures of being a stay-at-home dad. And it’s not perfect, it’s just showing that I’m trying. And I’m not trying to be an example but just proof that it’s possible for whoever else is doing this. You know what, I also knew about being a stay-at-home parent? I knew that children needed love, but I just didn’t know what love looked like,” he said.
Another misconception Henry is disproving is that fathers have to play the role of the harsh disciplinarian.
“I thought I knew that the best way to teach kids right from wrong was to discipline them, because that would make sure they understood right from wrong, the pain, the fear — that would teach them,” he explains. “But the truth is, the best way to teach my children right from wrong is to teach them. Take out a whiteboard and draw pictures and make connections that they can understand. That was the best way.”
Henry reminds us family is one of the important aspects of life.
One that makes us who we are when we grow.
That’s why it’s so important for parents to be supportive of each other and set examples for their kids.
“No one can deny that family is one of the biggest foundations in anyone’s life. And we’re all walking on this path, and we’re pulling these thickets out of the way, and these thorns, making it easier for the ones coming after us,” he says.
“It turns out, parenting has a lot more to do with landscaping. ad learning. More than teaching. And the best thing to do is to show up for class. Be present is what I learned as a stay-at-home dad. And let your presence be a gift.”
You can check out his TED talk below.
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