Man Enough to Care: A Care For All

“Our big vision is Universal Family Care: one fund that we all contribute to and that we all benefit from, that helps us pay for childcare, eldercare, and paid family leave.” -Ai-jen Poo, Director Caring Across Generations 

In a country with more than 330 million people, America still manages to be a country without universal long-term care within its healthcare system. It’s quite an achievement, but not a good one.

Caregiving may be the love that comes full circle, but it comes at a steep price. All of us will inevitably need care at a point in our lives, and not all of us can afford it. Average nursing home costs are roughly $90,000 per year.

COVID, while horrible for our health, has managed to shine a light on some of the many inadequacies that surround our healthcare system. Aside from many not having it or being able to afford it, coverage is crap for people who barely can pay the premiums. And Black communities and people of color are at higher risk of illness with a lower risk of being cared for. Look at the disparities during this pandemic, it’s an absolute atrocity. All of that has to change, and soon.

Caring Across Generations is pushing for that “big vision” with systemic change called Universal Family Care, the idea that we all have a fund we contribute to that eventually we can draw from, whether it’s for a disability, child care, elder care and paid family leave. This conversation, Man Enough to Care, is the first step, along with the conversations happening alongside it at your dinner tables, at your hospitals and nursing homes, even as we say goodbye to people who could have been saved, had it been for better healthcare.

Additionally, we must increase the visibility of our healthcare workforce, especially now with all the frontline essential workers who put their lives at risk every day to help countless strangers through this pandemic. And when that’s over they’ll return to a regular life of just saving lives and caring for several people anyway. That’s not just an essential worker; that’s a miracle-worker!

As National Caregivers Day approaches on Friday, Feb. 19, we think about all those who have cared for us and will care for us, along with those we care for. Our fathers and mothers, our sisters and brother, sons and daughters, grandparents, friends, and strangers. It is through caring that it becomes abundantly clear, we are all one, and together we can make it better.

The woman who owns my house is also a nurse in San Bernardino, California. She’s lost more than 20 patients, but she refuses to let these people die alone. That is an every-day saint walking amongst us, so it’s no surprise we don’t bother her when there’s a leak in the john. These people have their own lives and they spend most of theirs looking after other people, despite having three kids of her own!

It’s true that when one part of the body is sick, we nurture it back to health, just as when one of us is sick, another must step up to help heal that person. It may be thankless, and it may be unrequited, but it’s the care that we need. Let us highlight those undervalued roles in our lives and celebrate the people who have, currently or will care for us, even if just for a day.

As you look down at the diapers you’re changing every day for your kids — we hope you make it out clean! — keep in mind they may have to return the favor for you one awkward day. Now that is the truly the love that comes full circle!

The conversation is happening now. Join us to make these policies and systemic solutions to become real.

Join Justin Baldoni, Ai-jen Poo of Caring Across Generations and our wonderful guests for a final wrap-up Instagram live conversation on National Caregivers Day, which is Friday, Feb. 19 at noon PST/3pm EST. Visit @JustinBaldoni on Instagram and get in the game!

“It’s game time. Whatever obstacle you’re facing, it’s time to get off the sidelines and get in the game.” -Devon Still

Be man enough to care. Get in the game. Before it’s too late.


Who is a male caregiver in your life? Are you one of them? How do we celebrate them, how do we honor them? We share their experiences. 

Share their story. Share your story. Courage is contagious.

For more information about Caring Across Generations, visit their website and follow them on social.

Embracing Vulnerability

“As somebody who [has experience with] a disability, I never got the focus of masculine energy…because I needed help my entire life and depended on other people to do things for me. I felt like a burden on my family.” – Zach Anner

Vulnerability. It’s that six-syllable word (confirm quietly on my fingers) that makes most men a bit squeamish. To embrace vulnerability, for a lot of us, means admitting you’re weak when you could just pretend to be strong and continue fitting in, even if disingenuously. It means expressing emotions that may invite your peers to bully you back. It’s taking the road less traveled, which at first feels good but inevitably will throw you some unexpected curves and may send you into the bushes while the rest of mankind parades by pointing and laughing.

Sound about right? Yeah, we’re definitely getting warmer.

Not all of us have the luxury of taking care of ourselves. Even now with all this technology at our fingertips, there are plenty of grown men out there who still require assistance or have needed it for a generous portion at some point in their lives.

Take comedian and author, Zach Anner, for example. Easily one of the funniest human beings on the planet, Zach required a lot of care growing up due to his cerebral palsy. Although Zach has no interest in being the poster-boy for all special-needs people, we invited him to share his experience as someone who embraced the fact that he needed help.

There’s this thing you learn…I’m taking so much from other people. What can I do to level the playing field? Which is faulty thinking, but it’s hard to get past that,” Zach said.

Zach not only accepts the importance of vulnerability and asking for help, but he’s also always willing and able to find the comedy in these moments, completely fearless about making himself the butt of any joke. Needing and receiving care isn’t some obstacle to overcome; it’s a part of his life, and you can tell he wouldn’t hesitate to be the first to buy everyone coffee to return the favor.

Personally, I can relate. My oldest friend in this world also has cerebral palsy. When we were kids playing Kick the Can in the yard or roller hockey in the street — yes, we made him the goalie, sadly — he would fall down, and every time I went to help him up, he would refuse. He wanted to do it on his own. He wanted to be like everyone else and fit in, even if somewhat disingenuously. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that, but the ability to say “I need help, can someone help me?” is such an incredible step for any man (or anyone, for that matter) to take. That’s what it means, at least to me, to be man enough.

“As men, we’re taught to solve and to be intellectual and make sense of things. And so when a health situation surfaces that actually requires an emotional approach, not a rational approach, we feel like failures.” – Robert Espinoza

Not too dissimilarly, Devon Still’s daughter felt like all the arguments and sacrifices that followed her cancer diagnosis were her fault. Luckily, Devon understands the importance of communicating and empathizing in these situations.

The guilt of altering another person or group of people’s lifestyles is another burden on top of an illness or disability that takes its own toll, not just physically but emotionally exhaustive, too. With the current lack of support for the caring community, along with a substandard healthcare system that doesn’t benefit many of the people who need it most, that additional weight often falls on family and close friends — sometimes perfect strangers — to address those ancillary issues that arise during the caring process.

Thinking that problems can be solved intellectually, or even at all, is its own issue, one that requires us to better process emotionally and understand it, rather than how we can fix it. As caregivers, especially men who care for others, we have to fight that urge we have to fix everything, rather we need to be present and understand the situation and how we can help in our own way.

I know, it sounds insane to not just fix it, but not everything has a solution, no matter how big your toolbox is.

Being a shoulder for someone, providing comfort and staying present with people who suffer is sometimes exactly what they need. To be vulnerable, to accept care when we need it and to give it when we see someone who needs us. That’s why we’re here: to build community, to start conversations, to begin the changes we need for our loved ones and, most likely, for ourselves in the future.

The system that is in place now, one which is meant to support these people and those they care for, really needs to take notice. Maybe then that guilt and extra strain won’t as easily follow us around.

Who in your life embraces vulnerability? Are any of them giving or receiving care? How do we celebrate them, how do we recognize them? We share their stories. 


Share their story. Share your story. Courage is contagious.

For more information about Caring Across Generations, visit their website and follow them on social.

The Cost of Care

We are one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid family & medical leave to those who need it.” – Robert Espinoza

What would you give to help someone you love who is struggling or sick? What wouldn’t you give? That’s the likely perspective of many Americans who have little choice but to go head-first deep into debt to try and save a loved one. There is no guarantee in such a pursuit, other than the cost of care that comes later. With roughly 260 percent higher bankruptcy rates for families battling cancer, it’s becoming clear that not only is the cost of caring oftentimes insurmountable, but it’s also more essential than ever that we mend a broken system, too.

Cancer is, simply put, a cancer. It will likely creep its way into our lives one way or another — bleak but true — if it hasn’t already, be it ourselves or someone we hold dear. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are any number of possibilities for poor health in a country with more than 300 million people who are underinsured, if at all, many of whom struggle with heart disease, obesity and certain hereditary afflictions. That’s not even counting mental illness, another phenomenon we are just starting to scratch the surface of.

Think about it: If that many people are affected by major diseases, many incurable and most requiring great deals of maintenance, then why is the system set in place making it so hard for anyone, middle class or making less (i.e. most of America), who is affected?

Families are losing everything to save their everything. -Devon Still, Former NFL star

A perfect (and terrible) example of how broken our system is may be hitting close to home right now for so many Americans. COVID-19 has upended lives, forced families to lose members and do so without proper goodbyes. Without even going into the mental and emotional scarring, consider the costs due to hospitals and pharmacies that are mathematically just not repayable. And yet, many American leaders have told us that COVID was not a serious illness but then were immediately given the best possible treatment for COVID after irresponsibly contracting the disease and simultaneously trying to take away what American healthcare we do have. Their treatment, in part, was paid for by the taxes of the people they lied to, and then they leave those same people neck-deep in debt for the exact same affliction. That is the very definition of madness.

“People have always worked and have always had families. But we’ve somehow never accounted for the fact that people have to do both at the same time, and put the infrastructure in place to support that.” – Ai-jen Poo, Director of Caring Across Generations

For Former NFL star, Devon Still, he knew when his little girl was diagnosed with cancer, there would have to be a sacrifice made. For him, without hesitation, that meant giving up everything he had achieved to be with her.

Historically, we know countless women have graciously done the same for their families simply by way of childbirth, many of which are not given proper maternity leave or help for their families. But now we’re realizing men, too, fall into this category, roughly 40 percent of caregivers in America, a country with nearly 70 percent of households with kids having both parents working outside of the house. Where would be without caregivers!?

Luckily for Devon and his family, the players’ union helped financially with his daughter’s treatment, and we’re thrilled to report last spring, she hit her 5-year milestone of being cancer-free, a truly fantastic moment! But for so many people, they don’t get to see the amount on medical bills they owe being discounted by insurance and other workplace coverage. That’s with them for life and will forever affect the way they live and spend and care for one another moving forward.

That’s why caregivers are so important. They not only help soften the blow of a major illness, they’re also sacrificing themselves — physically, mentally, emotionally. There can be a lot of happy moments that do come from an experience caring for a loved one, memories we should never forget, but there doesn’t need to be the sour aftertaste of massive debt hanging over anyone once it’s over, for better or worse.

Individual issues require collective action and collective solutions, especially when millions of individuals are affected.

So how do we change the system? We write to our congressmen and women, we vote for people who genuinely want to make a change — state and federal — and we take this awareness and begin having conversations that focus on finding solutions. And we support those who support others.

Who is a male caregiver in your life? Are you one of them? How do we celebrate them, how do we recognize them? We share their stories. 

Share their story. Share your story. Courage is contagious.

Join the conversation and take action to create a more caring future here.

For more information about Caring Across Generations, visit their website and follow them on social.

You Are Not Alone

“A lot of people think that I was strong all the time, but I really wasn’t.” – Devon Still

One of man’s most infamous traits to this day has been the ability to suppress the urge to communicate emotions, regardless of how dire the circumstance. Be it fear or joy, excitement or anxiety, life or death, every man has felt the need to celebrate alone or suffer in silence at the greatness of milestones and the lowest of points. While it has surely been a commonality amongst all of humanity at some point, men, specifically, have been raised to stuff it down, man up and hide who they are in order to maintain appearances, show superiority and remain dominant by creating the illusion of strength.

That amount of weight is a boulder that will eventually crush, if not for fellow shoulders to fall on.

In the world of caregiving, men who care for others on their own, men with no community, are some of the most silent of sufferers there are, these giving ghosts that nobody is aware of. This kind of life, strangely enough, only exacerbates the condition and its ensuing emotions. Anxiety is compounded with anxiety about having anxiety when there is no release, fears multiply and thrive when they cannot be released and the silent suffers only suffer more when they feel they have no community with which to share. It can be some of the loneliest and isolating existences ever.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are so many men who care for others, approximately 40 percent of the 53 million caregivers in America. So this incredibly lonely and isolating feeling is heavily pervasive in our society, and yet nobody has created or facilitated an outlet for ideas and experiences to be shared, nobody is caring for the caregivers. Therein lies the opportunity for someone, something to speak up and say:

You are not alone.

If men were to be cast as a movie, then these caregivers could be our captains, our saints and our martyrs, except this is no movie at all. These people take on so much of the weight and so much of the sacrifice, and many we don’t hear about until long after the caring is done and the negative aspects and manifested. This is the quiet life of a caregiver, and they not only need our help to be recognized after but during their caregiving. We must learn to act responsibly for our fellow man and our fellow woman, to create a support system for them to share their experiences, reminisce over the joys and cry their hearts out over the pain, simply to lighten their load for a change.

“Until having to become one myself, “caregiver” was just a word to me,” my dad said. My father recently cared for my ailing grandfather for more than a year until his death, staying with him for days, sometimes weeks, at a time so my grandpa could stay in his own home, being surrounded by close family when COVID-19 had locked down nursing homes. He put his own health at risk caring for him, alongside the occasional visiting nurse, putting his marriage and cushy retirement on hold for those final shared moments.

“I never knew how hard it was every single day to care for someone you love, especially for a dying parent. I wouldn’t wish that for anyone,” he told me.

My grandfather weighed 155 pounds at the start of 2019. He died weighing only 89 pounds.

Think of someone you know who takes care of someone else daily. It could be a father or mother, a son or daughter, a neighbor or teacher or anyone who puts someone else’s health ahead of theirs. What do they look like? Think of how much they do for those people, how thankless some of those days may seem, how they do it without question on other days. Think of how lonely, exhausting and sleep-deprived their nights are, how much anxiety and fear may fill their days. Think of the joy they bring to those who are sick, those who are spending their last days on Earth. Think of those people, then think of what it would be like to one be those caregivers, and finally, think of how great it would feel for someone to reach out to you in that moment and simply say:

I know how much you do. I know the weight you carry. I’m here if you need me. You are not alone.

Who is a male caregiver in your life? Are you one of them? How do we celebrate them, how do we recognize them? We share their stories. 

Share their story. Share your story. Courage is contagious.

For more information about Caring Across Generations, visit their website and follow them on social.

Love Comes Full Circle

If you really try, can you recall even once being held as a child? What about surprise spit-ups on someone’s favorite shirt? A lot of us just assume these things happened, and likely they did. It’s sort of wild when you stop to think of it. Sure, we remember sick days, getting waited on hand and foot until we felt better, someone distracting us while we got our first flu shot, but there are so many moments we don’t know about, like somebody singing us to sleep, then taking us for an hour-long car ride in the middle of the night on a Tuesday when that didn’t work.

We assume so many things when it comes to the care we’ve received over our lifetime, but whether you remember it or not, it happened. You’ve been cared for so much of your life, and you’ve probably cared for others along the way. We often think of mothers when it comes to diapers, feeding, changing, burping — maybe it was, bless her heart — but that’s not always the case. Nearly 40 percent of the 53 million caregivers today in America are men. They, too, change diapers and spoonfeed others who can’t take care of themselves every day, but that’s how a lot of male caregivers are recognized today: not often enough and sometimes easily forgotten.

When I think of how I got to be 36 years old, I realize it wasn’t on my own. I had a lot of help along the way, oftentimes by two people who never considered themselves caregivers. My “Ma” and “Pops” simply considered it their job as parents. My father worked six days a week, 12-hour days, rarely missing a baseball game and eventually found the time to coach my basketball team himself (probably because he got sick of watching other people screwing it up). My mother gave up her job to raise us, never once did either brother or I hear her complain about it. She simply set everything she’d be building towards — she graduated from a great college and began working for the FBI — to take care of two mini-men she’d never met.

“If I zoom out, I can see that all of these people who are going out in the world doing these amazing things, there’s always an element of caregiving that has to happen…but it’s invisible.”

We don’t think of ourselves, men especially, as caregivers. If you asked anyone who was, they’d likely say they’re there for the people who need them, just like any mother, daughter, family member or friend would. That’s the inherent beauty of life and social connection, and a lot of why this last year has been especially hard. In a time of social connection crisis, it’s high time we realize we’re all valued members of the caring community. It often goes unnoticed, happening between people who are bonded for life, many whom would gladly do it despite the many hardships and wouldn’t change a thing when it’s over.

For those of us who have raised children to be wonderful human beings, have tied our injured or ailing parents’ shoes after learning it from them, who have sat on the line for hours to make sure they get their COVID-19 vaccine, you are a caregiver. For those of you that have driven to pick up medicine for a neighbor, shoveled their driveway or mowed their lawn, you are a caregiver. For those of you that looked after your little brother or sister when your parents are busy, who made sure they got to school on time, fixed meals when you weren’t even old enough to drive, you are a caregiver. There is no face or name, color and size to this invaluable archetype. We’ve all been there, giving and receiving love, from day one, and we’ll continue in our own way until we’re long gone.

One day, I imagine, I’ll return the favor and set aside my life, my self-absorbed goals and my personal priorities to spend time and share moments, some absolutely gut-wrenching and terrifyingly miserable and hopefully several joyous and unforgettable memories I wouldn’t otherwise had without stepping forward into the role when someone I care for is in need of that care. It may be a favored unreturned or one that gives back ten-fold. But keeping the score when it comes to caring doesn’t matter, it call comes back around one way or another.

That’s the love that comes full circle.

That’s the deal, and hopefully, you give as much as you get, if not more.

Who is a male caregiver in your life? Are you one of them? How do we celebrate them, how do we recognize them? We share their stories. 

Share their story. Share your story. Courage is contagious.

View the first episode, Man Enough to Care: A Love That Comes Full Circle here now.

For more information about Caring Across Generations, visit their website and follow them on social.

Karamo Brown on Relationship Communication: You Have to Start With Yourself First

Cover image: Tasia Wells 

In the latest episode of Man Enough, the heart of Queer Eye Karamo Brown goes deep on relationship communication with his fiancé, Ian Jordan, alongside Justin Baldoni and his lovely wife, Emily in our first ever couple’s edition. The good-partner gospel according to Karamo is that, regardless of the kind of relationship, a successful one always starts in the same place: with you.

Yes, there’s a “me” in “team,” but let’s agree narcissism isn’t a great jumping-off point in a relationship. A sense of self, be it our own wants and needs, or our perceived shortcomings and reasons for being in a relationship in the first place, is the foundation from which we build upon. So before you go putting the cart before the horse (or perhaps your disinfected groceries before the Prius), consider getting an introspective makeover from Karamo, the guy with the magic eye for relationships.

Anyone who has seen new episodes of Queer Eye on Netflix (and we feel sorry for you if you haven’t) knows that the show has grown in its ability to reach the muscle-bound, traditionally toxic lost souls of men, as well as women, not just in their outer appearance (along with cooking skills and home aesthetic) but in undoing the inner knots and smoothing out the inner turmoil, whether they’ve been living under a rock or just going to the wrong parties. That’s where Karamo, our personal mental health Zamboni, comes in.

What many don’t know is Karamo practiced as a licensed social worker and psychotherapist for more than a decade before making it “big” in entertainment. All that in addition to being a kid’s book author, musician, podcaster and skincare line guru, Karamo clearly has a firm grasp on what’s working for him, which means he probably has a good grasp on what might work for you, but more importantly, what might not. He joined a team of LGBTQ non-actors in a show whose mission is to revamp struggling folks from top to bottom, inside and out (sound familiar?). So yeah, we feel safe with taking his advice. Plus, who would challenge a man with such a high-caliber beard?

I Can’t Breathe: 3 Simple Words Every Man Can Relate To

Amongst other great nuggets about relationship communication in his talk with the Baldoni’s, like taking on one (and only one) issue at a time, Karamo’s understanding that it takes a strong foundation to build an empire. That empire is your family, your work, your everything, but the foundation is simply you.

It sounds simple, and it’s been said before, but there is no use in being in a relationship if you don’t love yourself for who you are, how you spend your time and what you do with your life. Once you’re happy with the direction you’re going and love the way you move in this world, that’s when it’s good to find someone to dance with. Otherwise, just keep dancing like your dad drunk at a wedding reception well past the appropriate time to go home.

So many people get married in their 20s, which is fine if they’re happy on their own and understand what they want for themselves. But keep in mind: Being young is unpredictable. And finding what you want early on without considering options and learning from endless embarrassments makes truly knowing yourself early on more difficult. You want to be a strong foundation for yourself and the others in your life, which means you have to grow and mature through life lessons. The 25-year-old version of yourself might look pretty troubled up against the 35-year-old you (or maybe the other way around), but the point is to find your center, know your goals, have some role models, preferably ones who haven’t been outed for sexual aggression or systemic racism, and learn to love yourself.

From there, it gets much easier to let the right kind of love in.


Superhero Grant Gustin Is ‘Man Enough’ to Go to Therapy, Are You?

Communication is everything in a relationship. Simple as that.

Nobody is reading minds, which means if you have a problem with yourself or the relationship itself, you have to be confident enough to vocalize that. Sometimes it takes many failed relationships, unnecessary squabbles and a few late-night shouting matches that trouble the neighbors to learn, but once you understand that simple idea, it can make a world of difference. Literally, your world will change.

Whether quarantine pandemic or not, we are constantly mourning losses, be it professionally or personally, and we as men must be vulnerable enough to open that side of ourselves, which invites in more openness from others around us, lest we stuff it down deep next to the midnight pizza binges and excessive amounts of wine, ice cream and porn to make ourselves feel better. Ever notice how when you share something dark and deep that others feel more comfortable to try and top you? You’d be amazed what you can learn from people you’ve known for a lifetime.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (And That’s a Good Thing)

The best thing you can do is say, “Hey, got a minute?” knowing full well you aren’t going to get everything you want. And you shouldn’t.

Getting everything you want in a relationship implies the other side doesn’t, and whatever hurts the other side, in the long run, hurts the whole team. And this is a team sport, make no mistake about that. Healthy relationships are all about balance, and communication is the vehicle to get you there, be it that fancy, fully-stocked Prius or some lemon you drive because you’re busy saving for fewer, better things.

So get to talking (you got somewhere better to be?) From there, it’s all uphill (or downhill, whichever one is easier). Because if you think keeping it to yourself will keep everything together, think again.

And if you need more help on communicating to yourself or your partner, check out new episodes of Queer Eye and let Karamo take the wheel for a few. You know it’s great to watch even if you’re not gay, right? Good, just checking. Because you are, as we all know, man enough.

Check out Karamo’s children’s book I Am Perfectly Designed and his skincare line Mantl for more great Karamo goodness.

For more Man Enough episodes, go here

Then be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Remember tag us in your most “man enough” moments!

Cedric the Entertainer on Fatherhood Myths: Successful Dad Doesn’t Mean Great Dad

In our latest Man Enough episode, one of the “Original Kings of Comedy,” Cedric Entertainer, joined Grant Gustin and Justin Baldoni in his “COVID casual” robe to drop a bit of fatherly wisdom and dispel a few myths surrounding what makes a good dad.

“Being a guy who was raised in a single-parent household, I’m from that generation where the man makes the money,” Cedric said. “But that was my way of taking care of the family. As long as you do that, you did your job. Now that my kids are teenagers, I’ve come to realize that I was a very distant father to my own kids, and it hurts when you realize you don’t know your children the way you should.”

While quarantine has proven a useful opportunity for some fathers to spend quality time at home, it’s been just as big of a reality for the things many dads don’t have to handle while they’re busy earning outside. With more than 30 years as “the entertainer,” including two projects (a biopic Son of the South and comedy, Poor Greg Drowning) on the COVID backburner, Cedric has had plenty of time to take a fatherly inventory.

“My father was around, I just wouldn’t give him his credit. You can be there and let them know you’re there if they need anything, but you’re not engaged. It’s interesting to recognize that I’m not the father I thought I was,” he said. “I take great pride in my kids being my kids because I’m their dad. Sometimes you project an image of yourself, but when things slow down, you can see you let someone else do a lot of the work. You have no excuses when you don’t have to be anywhere.”

More ‘Man Enough’: Superhero Grant Gustin Is Man Enough to Go to Therapy, Are You?

Photo: Netflix

Cedric the Engager

Whereas fathers of older generations just wanted to put food on the table, the new generations are faced with the task of trying to pave their own paths, run their own businesses or work multiple jobs to have the same effect today. And that kind of commitment can make fatherhood nearly impossible, which is why so many families rely on others for help in raising kids, which enables that distance to grow between fathers and their sons or daughters.

“It’s a practice of newer generation dads to be more engaged. The old architects of man say you have to be strong and you have to be a leader of your family and can’t show weakness. My father wasn’t really “there” so I kind of made up being a dad what I thought it should be,” he said. “I was providing, but not necessarily caring.”

Cedric is nothing if not owning his past mistakes, claiming he used to be the dad who told his son to “man up” when he would cry, but he strives to be better now.

“Maybe you thought you’d taught them something but you didn’t teach them anything.”

Not only does that “providing” come with negative side effects for fatherhood, but it also puts a strain or distance between your own personal self-care. But therapy, along with some close-knit quarantining, has given him a new lease on fatherhood.

“My therapy came through couple’s therapy, but it helped me understand I needed this place to voice issues I’d been having and had no idea how to deal with. It goes back to why men are more likely to commit suicide,” he said. “It’s a degree of selfishness that guys grow up with that allows them to be great, powerful human beings. But that same selfishness doesn’t allow you to share anything, which leads men to do something erratic or based off a problem they decided that’s too big to fix.”

As kids begin to grow and mature on their own, fathers slowly return to themselves, but therapy also showed Cedric that building a family empire still requires a solid foundation, even when the little ones leave the nest.

“Your relationships in those early years are all about building the corporation of your family, but as the kids grow up, you realize nobody’s in love. You can let that get so callus that you go into your own corners, but therapy has led me to ask a lot of questions about my attitude toward so many things.”

Cedric The Entertainer Tlog GIF by The Last O.G. on TBS - Find ...

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

According to Cedric, the generations of young Black men, many of whom were fatherless due to incarceration in the ’80s and ’90s, are now becoming fathers themselves after, in many cases, not having one. While racial disparity has become America’s number-one conversation today, prisons have been imprisoning Black men more than five times as much as white men, even ten-fold in a handful of states.

“They don’t have these tools of men to talk to and people who can lead them,” Cedric said. “We’re all a community, so we have to take our time and find out what’s broken. Just know you’re not individually the only one responsible for what happens to you. Go find a little help.”

Although many boys struggle to find consistency in father figures due to wealth inequality or toxic masculinity, the growing absence of successful dads, who may be inclined to give money or shiny objects in place of attention, started raising eyebrows in late 2016. As a result, teens in affluent areas with money and access to lethal substances started experiencing their own epidemic, which began with horse sedatives and quickly escalated to elephant tranquilizers.

It all goes to show, regardless of the reason, kids need their dads to do more than just show up. Whether you’re a dad right now or 10 years from now, what will you strive to be better at for your kids?

For the latest Man Enough episodes, go here.

Then be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Remember tag us in your most “man enough” moments!

Cover photo: gpointstudio (Envato Elements)

Get Educated on Juneteenth, Then Get Involved in Celebrating It

There’s been a lot of talk around Juneteenth, but how much do you really know? One of the most important things behind any movement, besides passion and desire for justice, is education. By learning the history, defining moments and true conflict behind social movements, we can credibly fight for change by informing the uninformed and, more importantly, the misinformed. But Juneteenth isn’t the only important date you should consider here.

Historically, June 19th marks the true end of slavery and bondage for the Black community in America in 1865. More than 150 years ago, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, declaring that all slaves should be forever free, but it wasn’t until mid-1865 that news of the abolishment reached Galveston, Texas, the site where the last Black slaves were freed. The speed of speech might have been a sign of the times then, but it’s a bit ironic that the term “forever free” took two and a half years to take effect.

Nonetheless, Juneteenth is not only an anniversary of what once happened but should be celebrated moving forward as a reminder of the times we are in now. Black celebrities, such as Usher, and politicians like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, along with millions of multi-racial Black lives supporters, have come together to see that this date be instated as a national holiday. Because we’re fortunate to live in a time when it doesn’t take two and a half years for us to learn about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or the other countless injustices happening around our country. It doesn’t take two and a half years for people to take action either, which is all the more reason for us to act now, peacefully, so that the healing can continue to spread in order for Black lives to not only matter but be celebrated.

There is, unfortunately at this time, a massive divide in America, but we can all agree on the right to live freely without the fear of losing our life in broad daylight with another life kneeling it (or at the least, we like to think we can agree on that). With that said, we implore you to support Black lives and celebrate Juneteenth and commemoration of Black independence, and we suggest doing so by joining a peaceful protest or starting one.

Visit or browse Juneteenth events happening in your area throughout the weekend, as well as for more ways to get information and get involved.

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3 Generations: Black Activist Curtis Hayes Stands in the Middle to ‘Find a Better Way’

For the past week, it’s been hard to get Curtis Hayes on phone. A father, concerned citizen, and Black man has become a heavily sought-after voice of reason since the nation broke out in protests following the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota Police. A June gloom hovers over the morning, but there’s a crisp taste of optimism, too.

Hayes, a North Carolina resident, has spent the entire week speaking with media outlets across the world about his viral moment (below) as a spokesperson of sorts for the Black community, a man who stepped forward to lead in a moment of crisis. As crowds took the Charlotte streets following Floyd’s death, Hayes, 31, found himself in an unfortunately familiar position, except this time he was stuck between two generations of Black men. His task in the moment was clear: Find a better way.

“At the time I inserted myself between these two men on the bridge, I thought about how many generations before our three generations had fought for change and equality, doing the exact same thing we’re fighting for, and it filled my heart with confusion and anger. But I was more upset to see a 16-year-old Black man out there having to fight for change when he should be worried about which college he’s going to or the girl he likes,” Hayes told Man Enough.

While there have been a number of American protests over the last century for Black equality, something about this feels different. It could have something to do with three months of social distancing that’s forced us to go inward and take some much-needed self-inventory (once we’d binged the hell out of Netflix, of course). Everyone became completely dependant on their cell phones, more so than usual, for immediate information and constant connection during a quickly-spreading pandemic, and just as the veil of quarantine was being lifted, Amy Cooper’s white privilege popped out of the bushes and was plastered across social media. Coupled with Ahmaud Arbery’s murder coming to light, social media became a bulletin board for unspeakable injustices. But the public execution of George Floyd, neither tried nor convicted, feels like more than just a pop quiz. It’s the final exam after a semester of education, a test for the human spirit.

“I think the difference is that the emotion and conviction behind all these messages is resonating with people who maybe didn’t really see what we’ve been seeing for so many years,” Hayes said. “I do see a lot more officers engaging with protesters, and I see a lot more dialogue than I’ve ever seen. We have all 50 states protesting for change so we’ve made progress on awareness. With this dialogue from people who are no longer uncomfortable to speak, we can now put pressure on leaders of the nation.”

The movement has already spurred a number of immediate wins, namely the arrests of the other three accomplices in Floyd’s death, as well as upping Derek Chauvin’s charges from third to second-degree murder. Meanwhile, social media continues to blast awareness of real-time police brutality amidst peaceful protests, countless other unprosecuted police murders with Black victims like Breonna Taylor, and an ongoing conversation about the many injustices of our criminal justice system. But there’s still much to be done.

“We must understand the laws, how they have affected us and how to come up with a solution to close the gap that’s been left open for so long,” Hayes said. “But we must also continue to check our peers and our colleagues. Hold them accountable, especially our leaders. We are becoming unified as a people, and it’s time they step their game up and lead the country to make the changes we need to make.”

If the last two weeks have shown us anything, it’s the egregious amount of corruption and inequality going on in America. And while progress may move slowly on a national level at first, there’s so much we can do on a local and personal level. Hayes explained that while not everything we learn at a young age plays a positive role when we become adults, the most important thing we can do personally is to figure out which of those things are helpful and positive, and which learned thoughts and behaviors are negative.

“We all have the right to make decisions for ourselves. We learn things from our parents, but as we get older, we start to educate our own minds. We have the choice to follow what we grew up in, or we can make a choice to grow out of it and make the world better.”

Los Angeles has already seen a $150 million budget reduction for its police force that is meant to be reinvested in community outreach, and although that might feel like nickel and diming a massive problem, it’s a start. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis City Council is set on “dismantling the city’s police department” and starting up a community-led safety force. People might be looking to the federal government for big policy changes, but the reality is we can do a lot more from our own backyards, at least until November.

“Get involved in your communities. States are starting community meetings where citizens can speak with law enforcement that starts a dialogue so they can understand one another. And if you don’t have one, start one. Get out and speak to your people and your neighbors. Always show love, just like you show your friends love,” Hayes said.

Not for nothing, COVID times gave us the opportunity to look inward, but now it’s time to step outside ourselves to educate, advocate and donate our time and energy to sustaining this effort so that we can continue to move forward, instead of reverting back in ways that past movements have allowed us to.

“People wrote 2020 off, but I think it’s a year of reflection for everyone as a whole. It’s a blessing in disguise, opening our minds and hearts to so many things we never took the time to think about. Yes, things have been bad economically, but at the end of the day, the human race will have gained so much more.”

In other words, find a better way.


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The Unwritten Rules For Black Men That You May or May Not Be Aware Of

Man Enough is all about the real, hard, honest conversations of men. One of the hardest conversations today involves the unique challenges that Black men face in this country every day. This viral TikTok video encompasses many of the unwritten rules that Black men adhere to daily in order to avoid the risk imprisonment and physical danger. Or, in the case of George Floyd: death. These rules are commonly known to the Black community, but perhaps they’re not well-known to you. Now you know.

While many of us take for granted some of the smallest things, most Black men don’t have the same luxury. Something as simple as hanging onto your receipt for a pack of gum can be the difference in how their day goes. Most people would never bother to think twice about something so little. The worst thing they can likely imagine is that they’re wasting paper. But for many Black people, it can lead from suspicion to unnecessary imprisonment in the blink of an eye. The struggle of today is to remove those stigmas for Black people while also educating other races about how unfairly others are treated. Only then can we move ahead.

Support Black lives in your community. Please don’t remain silent anymore.

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