Welcome In

Hello and welcome to my spot! What do you do when times get tough? Do you get going or do you give up? I believe that tough times happen for a reason: to make us tougher! In personal training, my client doesn't know what their strength threshold is unless they lift weights! Same for us, the greater weight we lift, the more we strengthen our spiritual muscle!

Check out my piece below, What Tough People Do In Tough Times. And be sure to let me know your thoughts!

And, just in time for Christmas, my book Brotha2Brotha, Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out, and No Glory Without A Story, is now marked down! See the link below.

Stay up!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America
by W. Eric Croomes

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend.  With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena.  Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide.  In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors.  The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice.  Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.”  Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations. 

Why Fatherhood Matters

Wayne, that boy sho need you.”  Those words were etched into my spirit by my late father, Charley C. Croomes, Sr. over twenty years ago, speaking of my oldest son, now in his twenties.  “I know, dad. I know” was the only conviction I could whisper in response back then.  In a way, my dad was saying my son’s eyes were fastened upon me. He was watching my every move. Ultimately, those words would form a chorus in my head and change the way I thought about fatherhood.
Charley C. Croomes, Sr. had known what it was like to need his father.  He was a former military man with an intimidating presence and had grown up in poverty in rural Oklahoma after his dad, my grandfather, abandoned his family when my dad was a boy.  My dad and mom divorced when I was a toddler and he was given custody of my two older brothers and me and eventually he settled us in Phoenix, Arizona.  I remember my dad as a hard-working man and fiercely protective of his family.  He was fond of telling my two brothers and me about how life was tough for him coming up; it was his way of reminding us of our greater burden of success.
Over time, my mom and dad reconciled and remarried. It helped that my father, after years of struggling with alcohol, discovered Christianity and gave his life to Christ.    I began to see him in a different way.  He overcame an addiction and got his life together.
My dad now sleeps with the ancestors, but his lessons remain crucial to my  understanding of what being a father really means and the role we play in the lives of our children.
He was there because he knew we needed him.  Sometimes God gives us a second chance to do something better.
I became a father for the first time in 1985, amidst an era of great personal idealism and ambition. I arrived at that momentous intersection of fatherhood early and immature.
About a year and a half after the birth of my first son, an opportunity arose for me to study at a prestigious college in Texas.  I went for it.  I was guided by a belief that I was going to make myself a better man, but there had not formed a connection to being a better father.  My son would visit me during summer and spring breaks and I would fly home to visit as often as I could.  
I became a father for the second time in 2007, after a promising relationship with his mother came to an abrupt end. By then my idealism about the world and my place in it had reached its apex.
If you are an active presence in the life of your child or children, I salute you and encourage you to keep the faith. Keep it up!  If you are not, my purpose is not to berate you nor condemn you.  Rather, my goal is to share lessons from my own experience and leave you some kernels of advice in hopes that you experience the greatest joy as a father. 
Regardless of the relationship context, fatherhood is one of the greatest joys that life can offer. Fatherhood is a tool, an art and a science that was divinely designed to bring purpose to the life of a child.
My Lessons
As the father of two sons, born of two different eras in my life and birthed from two very different generations, what steels my resolve now is the unfinished business of fatherhood I began over two decades ago. I am now using that experience to become a better father today. 
I am writing to you because I have been inspired by the divergent paths to fatherhood my life has taken.
Of the many lessons from my journey, this one kernel sticks with me as I remember it from my father: fatherhood is sacrificial. I have learned this the tough way.  The important thing is I have learned it.  And if you haven’t, then do your best to understand what it really means.   
I want to speak especially to those who are unmarried fathers and who have been separated from their child or children due to issues with the mother, and whose parental relationship may or may not be under court supervision.  In many ways, the struggle of unmarried fathers is to remain relevant to their children. You make the ultimate sacrifice the moment you decide that you are going to be a part of your child’s life – regardless of the cost! Fatherhood does not always play out in an Ozzie and Harriet context.
Recall that my mom and dad divorced when I was a toddler.  They would later reconcile their differences and remarry by the time I turned twelve. 
Unfortunately, the same can not be said for a lot of couples – things do not always work out.
As a father dealing with this scenario, I have learned this:  whatever the context, it is imperative that you do not fret (Psalms 37) and that you stay focused on and faithful to your child.  Too many fathers hide in the shadows of their children’s lives because of the inherently bitter dealings with their child’s mother. Unfortunately, there are women who use children as weapons against the fathers due to unresolved feelings, anger over a break-up and many other issues.  This is the bottom line: tough times don’t last, tough fathers do! 
Fatherhood is still evolving for me.  I am striving to become a role model for both of my sons. I understand acutely the two lives that I have shaped and am shaping.    My father’s voice has now become a source of inspiration, as opposed to trepidation.  Often I look toward heaven and say ‘thanks, pops!’
I have two beautiful and intelligent sons, one an up and coming music industry entrepreneur, the other moving swiftly and brilliantly through his toddler years.  They both have taught me invaluable lessons about commitment and responsibility.  Indeed they have made me a better man and a better father.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What Tough People do in Tough Times

Times are tough indeed!  Unemployment among African Americans is alarmingly high; just about every black family has been touched by it in some way. Our wages are shrinking at a rate faster than the general population, which means we are taking home less pay with mounting bills. Healthcare reform is on the horizon (at least until the Democrats stand up and fight for it!), but rising costs are shrinking our disposal able income even more.
     So what to do in the face of these pervasive tough times? We should understand that tough times don’t last but tough people do, we should know that those who came before us had it much tougher than we can imagine and we should stop engaging in ‘group think’ as we navigate choppy waters toward our destiny.
     First, we should reacquaint ourselves with a principle articulated many years ago by the eminent preacher, Robert Schuler: tough times don’t last, tough people do!  We have always been a resilient people; we have conquered the worst of circumstances and proven our desire to be successful against the odds!  Think about the time when you faced your most difficult challenge; when you were counted out by those forecasting your defeat. Think of the strength you marshaled from within, the intestinal fortitude you summoned and how you came out on top as a testimony to your strength!  Recall and relive those moments!
     Second, we should understand that, now matter how tough things are, we will never have it as tough as those who have come before us, and we should look to their experiences for lessons in succeeding against the odds.  Think for a moment about your ancestors and how they overcame circumstances one thousand times more difficult than what we can ever imagine – and did so without the benefit of the technological advances at our fingertips today!   Find solace in that and remind yourself constantly ‘if they could overcome tough times and live to tell about it, then so can I!’
     Lastly, in these tough economic times, don’t make the mistake of believing everything you hear. In other words, don’t engage in ‘group think’. All around us we hear the media chatter about the ‘bad economy.’  Many people put their dreams on hold as a consequence. But as the seminal motivational speaker Zig Ziglar recently stated, “The bad economy is not ‘out there’, it’s in your mind!” It’s how we are processing what we see, hear and ingest on an almost daily basis. Do you really think everybody is having it bad? No!  It was reported that more millionaires were made during the 1929 Great Depression than any other period in American history. There are ways to find success in every downcast, you just have to be open to the possibilities!
     We will always have tough times; it’s a hallmark of human development and change. But tough people find ways to be victorious as opposed to victims – even when the chips are down!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Support Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy with your purchase of No Glory Without A Story!

For every purchase of No Glory Without a Story,$2 will be donated to Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy, a non-profit support group committed to strengthening father-child relationships!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What Fathers Should Know

      When a man impregnates a woman to whom he is not married, he is attaching himself to a unique set of circumstances that will likely end in disaster.  That’s the bad news!  The good news is he has co-created a life that will either grow up resenting or loving him as father.  The fact that the child was created outside of marriage pales in relation to the potential that child offers to the world. 
      What men must understand in these situations is that he is the progenitor of possibilities; that child will likely carry his seed into greatness!  All the child needs is a constant diet of positive reinforcement from the male side – regardless of his relationship with the mother!  He or she needs direction, guidance, love, understanding and reproof.  Add to this mixture a modicum of financial support and you have a child destined for greatness! 
       What most absentee fathers miss is the fact that his seed carries a degree of upward mobility, greatness and meaning to future generations that far outweigh the present circumstances.  Unmarried fathers must be present and accounted for in the lives of their offspring!

W. Eric Croomes is executive director of Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy, a non-profit unmarried and divorced fathers support group.  Join Eric Saturday, June 18, 2011 from 2p to 4p at the Dock Book Store in Fort Worth, Texas for a book signing as he discusses issues regarding black men.
for more information.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why I Am a Contributing Author to No Glory Without a Story

In March of this year, a dear friend forwarded to me an email about an editor who was assembling a group of writers to contribute to a literary project. The project was geared toward everyday people going through real struggles who just needed some inspiration to move past their particular challenges.
That email stayed in my inbox for at least a few days as I mused over the possibilities.  Initially I was lukewarm; it seemed as if I had a laundry list of excuses not to participate.  I was still adjusting to becoming a father for the second time in my life. I was in the middle of a contentious battle with my son’s mother. I was strapped for cash. I had already begun work on my third book. 
One night as I was laying in bed pondering, the thought occurred to me: what if my ‘mess’ could be used as a ‘message’ that could help some other unmarried or divorced father who loved his child as much as I loved mine?  What if I could convince some man who may be on the verge of homicidal or suicidal action relating to issues with their offspring to act otherwise?  What if I could do my meager part to help some brother who’s been absent in their child or children’s lives see the value in reconnecting to them?
            Something leaped in my spirit as I lay in bed. The opportunity to help some person see the glory in their story – in spite of their unique challenges – was too good to pass up! I got up and went to work on crafting that message.
I contributed to the book, No Glory Without A Story, mainly because I wanted to reach out to men who, like me, are unmarried but love their children and want to remain a relevant part of their lives. I organized the non-profit support group, Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy, because I know there are other men out there who are doing the right thing when it comes to their children but are not experiencing the peace and justice that is our inherent birthright. Yet I also wanted to reach out to men who may be hiding in the shadows and are cut off from their children due to fear, hostility with the mother or financial stress.  The message of Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy – both the essay and the non-profit support group: if you want to be a better man, be a better father. If you want to be a better father, be a better man.
Fatherhood does not always take place in an Ozzie and Harriet context.  And although there are literally millions of fathers who occupy a prominent place in the lives of their children, there is far too many who don’t.  Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy was born to empower those men who are distanced from their children to become a more active presence.
I’ve been asked how I arrived at the name for the non-profit support group.  If you’ve been around a newborn baby, you may have been fascinated, as I have been, with the way their eyes become fixed on their caregivers.  Since males are traditionally associated with authority, a newborn’s eyes rarely leave their daddy’s figure. 
My contention is that through infancy, toddler, pre-adolescence and teen-age years, those eyes are always watching daddy. 
Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy was created to remind unmarried fathers of those eyes that are watching their every move.  Because in the end, the eyes of the court don’t matter, the eyes of the law don’t matter; what matters most is the set of eyes that become entranced with that male authority figure from the cradle to adulthood.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

W. Eric Croomes Announces Non-Profit Unmarried/Divorced Fathers Support Group

New non-profit to advocate for stronger father-child relationships.
Arlington, Texas (TheVillageReport.Net) June 10, 2011Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy, a new non-profit founded by author W. Eric Croomes, will advocate for stronger father-child relationships in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The concept of Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy was birthed from the founder’s desire to provide resources to unmarried/divorced fathers who want to remain relevant in the lives of their children.  It is premised on the fact that children form an inimitable bond with their fathers from birth and that fathers must be present and accounted for in the lives of their children.

Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy will meet once a month at a local venue to discuss ways that fathers can interact with their children without interference, legal remedies to safeguard father/child relationships, father’s rights, and general support and prayer.  The support group will be open to all men.

W. Eric Croomes is a motivational speaker, social critic, certified fitness consultant, best-selling author and editor in chief of TheVillageReport.Net. He is also executive director of Their Eyes Were Watching Daddy, a not-for-profit unmarried and divorced fathers support group.