African Parenthood: The New Age Journey
The art of being a conscious parent is to know your triggers, and understand the importance of not projecting your own trauma and pain and/or forcing unacquired dreams or desires onto your children. Trauma experienced at any stage in ones live from childhood to adulthood requires therapy and counseling to help you learn what you’re feeling, why you might be feeling it, and how to cope.
A 2018 study found that “severe childhood trauma and stresses early in parents’ lives are linked to higher rates of behavioral health problems in their own children”.
Meet Danny Constant, a husband, father and media personality. His parental journey is centered on being a conscious father while seeking therapy to deal with his own childhood trauma and its effect on how he views life and approaches conflict.
Tell us your story. Who is Danny Constant?
I am a young African man full of passion—- passion for life, music and joy. Most importantly, I am a husband and #AfricanGirlDad. I try to live in a constant state of joy. Seeking joy in everything I do, and as I, experience life.
Born in Cameroon but raised in The Gambia, Gambian pride runs through my veins. I am a multi-disciplinary creative in the fields of traditional media and communication, music, marketing, advertising, and social media branding. I love all things entertainment.
What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood is a blessing! It’s the ability to provide, protect and guide my little girl.
It’s my most important journey in life. I am rediscovering who I am as a man, and tapping into emotions and thoughts, that matter the most for my own well-being.
Describe your childhood. How has your childhood shaped the father you are today?
I was born into a very religious Christian family, my childhood was a very distinct one with missionary parents. It was solely about pleasing god, it wasn’t about what we wanted as children-at no point did our thoughts, desires or mental state matter. Our time was spend outside of school in endless prayer meetings, morning devotions, visiting fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, and grooming us in the “bible” way. We were not spared from the rod, behaviors outside of the teaching of the bible meant we were severally punished. I still have scars, and PTSD. My mom first told she loved me at the age of 25, and my father at the age of 27. I refuse to continue our generational trauma.
I wake up every day and tell my daughter I love her! I love on her any chance I get. My childhood experiences have taught me to be patient, to listen to the needs of my daughter and to be very observant of her feelings. I want to give her the attention, unconditional love, and respect I lacked as a young boy.
What trait or stereotype associated with African fathers do you actively dispel?
Absenteeism. The idea that men shouldn’t go to doctor’s appointment or be in the room during delivery is rooted in selfishness. Our women literally risk their lives to bring life into the world, the bare minimum outside of providing financial and emotional support is to be present. Holding their hands every step of the way!
My wife and I, used to drive five-hours to Dakar from Banjul every month for our check-ups. We made an event of it, we would get a hotel and enjoy each others company and explore the city. I was typical the only male in the waiting rooms and would get envious looks at times. I, truly enjoyed learning about the entire pregnancy process and seeing how our baby was growing and developing, it is magical.
What’s the biggest life lesson your daughter has taught you so far?
She has taught me to be hopeful! She is a bundle of joy! Her ability to bounce back is truly inspiring; she will fall down, cry, and immediately laugh from my silliness. Looking at life through her eyes, I believe that nothing can hold me down or back, every day is a new day to start all over and continue living.
African society is not gentle with our girls, as a man and father how will you show up for your daughter and other girls in the world?
Step aside and “allow” women to lead us. I want to be an advocate, share my voice and space with women. Learn from my wife and other women. Most importantly, do the necessary work to sensitize myself on the challenges girls face and always be ready to lend a helping hand when called upon.
What’s your advice/message to young African fathers?
Don’t punish your daughters for your past sins and mistakes.
The Our Stories, Our Way Fast Three!
1. What is your favorite book to read to your daughter(s)?
La Chenille Qui Fait Des Trous (PETITS MIJADE) (French Edition)
2. If you and your daughter (s)could have lunch with any person, who and be why?
My grandfather. I feel like I have a lot of his traits including my height. I would love to meet and chat with him and learn from his experiences as a Cameroonian man.
3. What is your favorite song at the moment?
Watermelon sugar by Harry Styles