Towards the beginning of the summer, my internship was all about learning the basics on the topics I’d be researching later. For the first couple week, this involved researching generative fathering practices. In order to learn more about this topic, I did some research on my own to figure out what “generative fathering practices” meant in basic English and essentially, I found that it was all about the ways in which a father parents with the intention of bettering their children and the generation to come. This meant that it was important for fathers to invest in their child’s education, emotional well-being, and their holistic well-being in general.
Similar to what I found with my research on black mothers, I found that there weren’t many positive articles written about generative fathering practices in respect to black men and families. Whereas many articles about black mothers were about poor black women struggling to make ends meet for their child, the articles about black fathers were mostly about their nonexistence in their children’s lives and the negative effect this has on a growing child. This bothered me deeply as I did my research because I was very aware of the negative stereotypes about black fathers that many people believe but I was raised with a very loving black father who took me to libraries religiously, styled my hair, helped me with homework, taught me how to play basketball, etc. I was hoping that as the years progressed, researchers would do more work to shed light on the great fathers in the black community. Although I was bummed about the lack of positivity that I found in the research, I was extremely grateful to Dr. Mattis for doing the positive research on the topic because that’s what the field of psychology, as well as the black community, needs.
Once I did my background research on generative parenting practices, Dr. Mattis assigned me to edit a research paper that she wrote with some of her graduate students on generative fathering practices in the black community. I was very nervous about editing a paper written by people who were older and more educated than me because I didn’t think that I had anything to contribute to their work. As I read through the first couple of pages, I found that it was a little difficult for me to trust that I was good enough to cut out some of their words or add my own. However, as my second week ended, I found that I was willing to trust myself and give it a try.