On Responsibilities and Fatherless Daughters, with Earnest James
Dadditude Newsletter #8
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Earnest James is an entrepreneurial dad & step dad of 5 children who shares his time between his own businesses, and coaching men and fatherless women via his instagram accounts.
We spoke with him recently about raising 5 children, helping fatherless daughters, and how his experience as a bricklayer has been guiding his parenting style.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the biological father of one daughter and the step father to four young men. Been married twice. Going on 12 years of marriage currently. I am a bricklayer by trade. I’m also a business owner and minister.
Tell us about your children.
Quan, 23, big personality. Beautiful smile.
Juan, 21, Determined. He’s a soldier in the army.
Shuan, 20, Artist. Very talented in drawing.
Marc, 19, Scholar. Very smart. The first college student in the family.
Ashonti, 18, Smart. Pretty. Second college student of the family and young business owner.
Tell us about your advocacy work around fatherless daughters?
I started advocating for fatherless daughters after my wife and I started having some challenges in our marriage. As we dealt with them, I realized that they stemmed from her being raised in a single parent household and not having her father in her life in her younger years. By not having that relationship, she reacted to situations and conflict in relationships in ways that weren't necessarily healthy. And as we worked through that, I knew she wasn’t the only woman dealing with these issues. So I started a Instagram page to share my advice with women dealing with the same problems, and it has kind of taken on a life of its own. I enjoy helping by sharing and doing interviews. I’m working on some new things also. It’s something that i’m passionate about as a father, grandfather, and husband.
How do you manage to mix work and family?
As a bricklayer, it gives me a chance to show a hard working man by example. I believe every man should know how to do something “physically” with his hands. And as a business owner, I show responsibility, which is one of the two key foundations of adulthood, the other one being respect. These two occupations reflect my parenting by leading by example.
What do you think is your biggest strength as a parent?
I think I’m understanding, yet, firm. I can relate to whatever situation that my kids may go through, but I still lead them unapologetically toward what’s right.
What stresses you out the most these days as a parent?
Exposure! The kids nowadays are exposed to so much at young ages. I think that they think that knowledge equals wisdom. They know a lot because information is at their fingertips, but that’s knowledge, and knowing how to apply that information is wisdom.
What side of parenthood do you wish you had invested more time and energy in the past?
I wish that as a father I had protected them more. Going back to that exposure, I wish I could have shielded them more from the harsh realities of life a little longer, let them remain children a little longer.
Can you tell us about an especially favorite/special moment with your kids recently?
I recently helped my daughter start her own business. I wanted my sons to get into the building trade like I did or start their own businesses like I did, but they didn’t. So my daughter wanting to start her own business and me being able to help her with it, is a great feeling.
Thank you Earnest!
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