A New Parent’s First Thoughts: Little Sister


When my wife and I found out we were expecting our first child, we were both, to say the least, extremely excited.  We were overcome with the joy of being selected as instruments to bring forth another life.  It was as overwhelming as it was empowering.  We talked about everything: what the baby would look like, where the baby would get his or her characteristics, what s/he would become….  When we found out our first baby was a girl, we grew even more excited that we were that much closer to seeing her and understanding who she would be.  As a father, knowing that I was about to have a little girl REALLY got me thinking.

Could I really handle being a little girl’s first love?  Her male role model?  How could I even begin to model for her the blessings I wanted her to have in life?  That led me to think: can I handle being her first teacher?  As I thought about that, I realized that not only could I handle those things, but being a parent meant that I MUST handle them.  With care, authority and grace.  So…what to teach her?

I figured that the first thing that I as a parent should teach my daughter is who she is.  And who could teach her that better than her mother and father?  I can remember rubbing my wife’s belly as I thought about these things, and, by the grace of God, the poem “Little Sister” came to me as we waited for her to be born.  I wrote the poem immediately after talking to my little girl one night in Mommy’s belly.  The night she came into this world, I held her in my arms and told her the history of her family.  I told her who she was.  And this poem was waiting for her:

Little Sister


Maya.  Toni.  Angela.  N’tozake.  Winnie.

Alice.  Shirley.  Madame CJ.  Cleopatra.

Harriet.  Ruth.


African drums.  Head ties.  Braids.

Chocolate and Cocoa.  Butter.

Gazelle-steps in clouds of mother-dust.

Flashing kente.


I-M-A-N-I.  Princesse Nubienne.


Hot combs.  Sizzling stoves: Bacon & grits,

Honey-glazed ham, macaroni & cheese & apple pie

(Always apple pie) – apples picked off the ground

And riding in your apron….


Blazing heat.  Sun-burnt curves.  Mother-love breasts.

The true heartland, found in mounds.

Musky.  Earthy.  Life & Love.


The sacrifices of the elders pledge you

To the sisterhood.


Your sorors are calling.

Come out… come out…

Little sister.


That was 10 years ago.  We’ve since had a second beautiful little girl.  So we keep teaching.  And they keep challenging us to learn.

Anyone reading this who is a parent knows that parenting is the most difficult, frustrating, challenging and utterly beautiful job in the world.  So…how do you handle it?  Dad, what do you think about when you rub Mom’s belly?  Mom, what do you wish to pass on to your baby?  What do you teach YOUR children?  And, just as important: what are you willing to learn?

Sound Off!

Broadcast Your Inner Champion


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