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I debuted the season’s first couple of Poetry with a Purpose Writer’s Workshops during the last two weeks and was approached at each event by a child who had a strong emotional reaction to What Daddy Do and/or What Mommy Do, from my What We Do: Children’s Book Series.

They sought out some comfort, overwhelmed by the need to share with me their fears, their pain and their confusion. They wanted me to give them answers. Something straight forward, similar to what’s promised in the books, with their brightly illustrated, smiling depictions of loving parent/child interactions.

As it is, though, for many, for those like the beautiful kids who recently tugged on my shirt tail, my books offer up no more than a fantasy. A woven mythology in a land of cracked concrete and meanspirited people and politics and a persistent sense of danger that no 6-year old should have to learn to accept.

But, then again, maybe I’m just as naive as those kids, thinking that things ought not be this way, feeling obligated to help each child who expresses some need, some longing or desire for normality or for nothing more than a loving and safe family environment.

And yet, even as I mourn for their loss of innocence, it is a naivety that I refuse to abandon. I’d just as soon abandon all hope.

Along this line, I want to give a copy of What Daddy Do and What Mommy Do to every pre-K through 2nd grade student who could benefit from seeing positive images of themselves, smiling and being loved and dreaming of greater possibility.

Buy one or both books from the What We Do: Children’s Book Series and/or donate a copy to help make this happen. Each time the donations reach the level of a print run, I will give the books to an elementary school and provide them with an interactive Author’s Presentation for each Pre-K-2nd grade class.

We’ve been on a journey. It hasn’t always been smooth. In fact, more often than not, it has been an outright struggle. There have been mistakes and unmet obligations encountered along the way. Regrets that I fully intend to address with integrity.

But I believe in the mission. I believe in the potential, born from inspiration, that led one of the kids who reached out to me to create their own entry in the What We Do: Children’s Book Series.

And so, I present to you, What Teachers Do, by Aiden McGee, 1st Grade:




There is a particular line, ‘Like a Man’, repeated throughout the poem that What Daddy Do, The

Children’s Book, originated from, that could perhaps serve to alienate some towards the overriding

intent, the pervasive weight of its emphasis on this notion of masculinity.

But I wrote What Daddy Do, The Poem, in fact, to highlight this hypocrisy, and to, in a less than overt

manner, make light of these false conventions.

I remembered my Dad as I constructed this poem, who was, for me, as a child, the absolute epitome of

Shaft-like, Afroed Masculinity.

I remembered how adept he was at caring for me and my siblings and what seemed like a

neighborhood-full of random kids as he drove them around in the Sunday School van.

He didn’t shy away from compassion and domesticity when necessary, and yet, he wasn’t likely to

admit as much at the Deacon’s Board Meeting, was he?

No, I grew up to learn to pretend that a particular form of caring for the kids was women’s work; all

that cooking and cleaning, that wasn’t for us men.

But, in truth, I knew that my Daddy changed diapers and cried when appropriate and held me real tight

when I needed him.

He changed what he could from what he had learned and tasked me with completing the circle.

Once you know better, you do better. Or at least, you’d better. Right?

So, I want my sons to be better. To be more open and accepting and understanding than me.

The best of what I can hope for, though, is to continue to add to the foundation that my Daddy laid

down for me.

And that’s why this Dad Does What He Does—



I just did the dishes. Got dishpan hands.

But I did the dishes like a man.

I did a load of laundry.

Cleaned up my young son’s smelly a**

and stepped on Lego blocks

and matched and mated all his socks.

And I did it all just like a man.

He likes noodles. I made him some noodles.

Campbell’s Soup. Like my Moms used to do.

But I cooked his up like a man.

He cut his finger. Bled a bit.

My stomach flipped, but I ain’t show it.

Just cleaned him up, put on a band-aid,

gave him some go-gurt, sent him back to play.

And I smiled after I did it.

I don’t really know why, but, sometimes–

just watching him is enough and I forget

to remember to watch him like a man.

And then I can only see

how much I love this human being.

How much love he’ll need–

From me. His Dad. Tasked with teaching

him how, while learning myself, to be a man.


Two of the most difficult periods along the parenting timeline typically range between the ages of 2-5,
that 2-3 year period of time when behavioral learning can, and often does exhibit as general defiance,
and when puberty begins to ramp up the hormonal imbalance, sometime around 12-14 years old.

With that being said, as I slowly counted to ten just now, trying hard to keep my cool, it dawned on me
that I have a 5 year old and a 14 year old, both determined to give due credit to the statistical analysis
of behavioral learning.

In effect, they are simply being true to the numbers, I guess. Suppose that should make me feel better.

As I take a deep breath, though, close my eyes for the briefest of moments, reaching deep down inside,
urgently searching for some semblance of a rapidly diminishing sense of calm, I know that the sound of
shattered glass coming from the kitchen is only a portent for the rest of the days hijinx.

This doesn’t serve to make me feel better, at all. Not in the least–


When What Daddy Do was first conceived, there was, for me, only one thing about it that I knew for certain, and that is, I wanted every aspect of it, from the illustration to the printing services, and even the production of the initial run of clothing and merchandise, to be sourced locally. I can’t say for sure if that was because of the times, whether that be the political climate or the ongoing pandemic, because, in truth, I’ve always advocated for such behavior. It has always been important for me to find ways to help empower my community, either through my long profession in childcare and education, or through an active involvement in positive, community organizations. In truth, though, it doesn’t matter, because, however we, as a Nation, as a Community, arrived at this point in history, it is now more important than ever for the need to circle the wagons, to find an extra dose of compassion for our friends, family and neighbors. Because of this, I am quite proud of the fact that What Daddy Do was concieved and fully formed within a 50-mile radius of my home. This makes it a truly homegrown project. A bit of home cooking for the soul. And now that you are here, I am honored that you would give it a try. I hope that you find as much joy in it as I have in helping to create it, because for me, for What Daddy Do, for ‘What We Do’, this is just the beginning–