Dr. Alfred Smith is a counselor and former pastor.
“I sat on a board of an organization that had more than 3,000 churches and ministers. 90 percent of them were white,” he said.
This year he started a different network: Black Dad University.
“Black Dad University is an online resourcing program to help Black dads to build their children and to leave a legacy.”
Smith focuses on leadership, image, and building healthy relationships. He says George Floyd’s death and everything that happened after stirred something up in him.
“We kept talking about ‘Black lives matter,’ which I’m all about. Black lives do matter. But my thing was how do we get a Black life to matter as early as possible and have the biggest impact on that Black life. That happens in the home,” he said.
He went back to his research into Jewish families as a place to start.
“One of the things I recognized early is that the Jewish child is indoctrinated to believe they’re special and they’re chosen because they’re God’s chosen people. That’s what their indoctrination is. The only issue here is this: they believe that so they act like it from a child,” he said. “What if we got into our children their image, who they were, how to be resilient, how to deal with failure, how to deal with pain, how to recognize their God-given innate qualities and talents and those being spoken to from 2, 3, 4 years old.”
He and his wife have six children. But he had to learn on the job.
“I grew up in the environment where my dad was a great dad. But their job was to discipline and bring in the money, which was good. But there wasn’t a lot of interaction and speaking life and understanding gifts and things like that.”
According to federal data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Black children are more likely to be born out of wedlock, and a little more than half live in one-parent homes – usually with their mom. However, the narrative of the absent Black father is more a myth. In fact, a CDC study found Black fathers were more likely than others to bathe, dress, and diaper their young children. That same study found more Black fathers took their kids to or from activities and helped with homework every day than other groups.
“I recognize that a lot of Black men have a passion for their children and want to raise them, but they don’t know how because they weren’t raised themselves,” Smith said.
Through webinars, articles, and one-on-one sessions, Black Dad University helps deal with specific issues.
“Life is going to deal our children pain. Not just racism. there’s going to be other pain, racism is one of them, that they have to learn how to deal with. So I tell parents don’t rescue your child from all their pain. Teach them how to deal with it. Don’t rescue them from everything that’s hard. Teach them resilience.”
Strengthening Black fathers to raise stronger Black children for a stronger community for us all.
“All these things help our society,” Smith said.
For more information on Black Dad University or to enroll, click here.