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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Parable of the Papa

Guest Post by Hakim Bellamy

Inaugural Poet Laureate - Albuquerque, NM and DCG DADvisor

My sons, Max and Kaylem, a few years ago at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque

EDITOR'S NOTE: A version of this piece was originally published on the New Mexico Humanities Council blog, June 9, 2023. It has been shared here with permission:



Ever since “Mother May I…” became an anachronism of the Virgin Mary...conception has been synonymous with immaculate, while insemination has become synonymous with bastardy.


Nothing could be further from the truth.


I tend to believe that the divine interpretation of the Greatest Story Ever Told, at its inception, is as follows:


Every miracle is the product of the highest form of love.


That quite possibly could be unwed and/or virgin mothers. It could also be single/shared custodial fathers. Then again, it could be your average Joseph, who finds himself hopelessly in love with a woman who is pregnant with another God’s child.


Whatever it is … it takes few to make a thing go right … beyond their respective flaws.


So, what’s Father’s Day got to do with it? (It being Humanities…shout out to Tina Turner.)


Welp, as recently as the late 19th century, German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey broke the humanities down into two parts, the spiritual sciences and the human sciences. Dilthey described them simply as “those areas of knowledge that lay outside of, and beyond, the subject matter of the physical sciences.”


Fair.


Since time immemorial, the “birds and the bees” have served as scientific rigor to the physical process of becoming a father. However, as recently as 1994, behavioral scholars (and accomplished educators) like Allan Shedlin have made a distinction between the science of becoming a father and the sentience of being a daddy.


With my wife Francesca, son Kaylem, and Allan Shedlin

His definition of daddying™ is so much more realism than romanticism. A verb, he posits the profession as follows:


  1. A father’s lifelong commitment to his child’s physical[1], emotional, social, intellectual, creative, and moral/spiritual well-being.

  2. When fatherhood and nurturing converge.

  3. An ongoing process distinct from the one-time biological act of “fathering.”


In short, fathers are the product of love(or lab)making…while daddies are a labor of love. A science of being, rather than a science of doing.


Re-enter the Humanists.


“American philosopher Martha Nussbaum emphasized the crucial importance of education in the humanities for maintaining a healthy democracy, for fostering a deeper understanding of human concerns and values, and for enabling students to rise above parochial perspectives and ‘the bondage of habit and custom’ to become genuine citizens of the world.”


Nussbaum (notably not a father) gives life to both the contemporary definition of humanities and the modern-day mission statement for everyday dads (or fathers … your day, your choice. 😉#FathersDay). Unsurprisingly aligned with Nussbaum’s synergy, the art of daddying (like the humanities) is a cross-section of language, philosophy, religion, gender and women’s studies, mythology, anthropology, geography, sociology, popular psychology and…


children.


Those that make fathers “Fathers” in the first place. The proverbial “reason for the season.” My favorite thing to say on my sons’ birthdays is as follows:


“We got it all wrong, Society. Kids shouldn’t get gifts on their birthdays for just passively aging and turning old…Parents should get gifts on children’s birthdays for actively parenting and KEEPING THEM ALIVE THIS LONG!”


Welp, admittedly the inverse should also be true.


Dear Dads,


Gift your children this Father’s Day…for it would have been impossible for you to wear the title of “daddy” without them. They make us relative (perhaps even famous) despite our inevitable distance and all of our flaws. Just like Jesus did Joseph.


And speaking of religion…


…the difference between mothers and fathers is as simple as the difference between Mary and Joseph.


One will always be the mother of God.

And the other…


…simply human.



Footnotes and Citations

[1] there’s that word again…



Shedlin, Allan. “Daddying Blog: What the Hell Is Daddying and Why Did I Make This Blog?” Daddying blog, DADvocacy Consulting Group, 19 February 2020, Accessed 09 June 2023.



 

When not renowned as "Kaylem and Max's dad," Hakim Bellamy is the inaugural poet laureate of Albuquerque (2012-2014). Bellamy recently served as the Deputy Director for the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts & Culture (2018-2022). He is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion who holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at UNM. He is the author of eight books including the children’s book, Samuel’s Story (Community Publishing 2015), as well as his award-winning poetry collection SWEAR (West End Press/UNM Press). He is the co-creator of the multimedia Hip Hop theater production Urban Verbs: Hip-Hop Conservatory & Theater that has been staged throughout the country. A Kennedy Citizen Artist Fellow, he has facilitated youth writing workshops for schools, jails, churches, prisons and community organizations in New Mexico and beyond. He currently serves as the Board President for the One Albuquerque Fund and as a Western States Arts Federation Trustee. He holds an M.A. in Communications from the University of NM and is the founding president of Beyond Poetry Ink.

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