New Dad Reflects on Fatherhood
Lansing-area born vivant Melik Brown is a man of many hats: humorist, WLNS contributor and founder of Lansing Made being some of them. With Father’s Day upon us, it seems appropriate that Brown sat down with us to talk about his latest hat of fatherhood.
Q: What’s it like to be a new dad to 8-month-old Raiden? Do you think about his future already?
A: Emphatically, yes! I take him to work and meetings with me. Raiden has met Mayor (Andy) Schor before he was mayor, and then again after he was elected. He’s been in several meetings with the Gillespies. But I do this with his older siblings, too, and we all attended (the) Lansing Promise (scholarship dinner).
Q: Why is that important to you?
A: Because I want my children to know who builds up city infrastructure. Yes, you have teachers and mayors: But who are they, and what do they do?
Q: Have you thought about leaving messages
for your children because, as you say, you’re an older parent?
A: I have been closely listening and observing the people who raised children already. I had to think about how I handle certain things. I think about time. How much time do I have with my children? I might not be around when my youngest son turns 40. What kinds of things can I teach him and his siblings along the way that will benefit them later in their lives? I took it from the Tupac song, “To My Unborn Child.” If I don’t get the opportunity, I want to try to leave behind something for them to use for the rest of their lives.
Q: Have you started teaching Raiden sign language?
A: Yes, we’ve been working on that. I know a few signs already. I want to learn more, and we will.
Q: What does this first Father’s Day means to you? What is it that you think is a great message to give to new fathers?
A: Remember to stay in that moment – slow it down. I think it helps to have some years behind me, to have patience. When things happen, I don’t panic. OK, I do freak out all day, but I don’t panic. I ask the questions, “Are you OK?” “Are all the potential choking hazards removed?” “You’re crying, but it’s not the end of the world, so I can go back to finish washing the dishes.”