Author: Dr. Eric Johnson, Akili Uchenna
More often than not, the relationships between fathers and sons impact the understanding that many males develop about notions of manhood. Even when a man’s father has not been present in a way that meets his expectations, his understanding of what it means to be a man is impacted either by the noted absence or the perceived relationship inadequacies. In such cases, men are faced painfully with only two choices: Extend an unhealthy and unhappy notion of manhood or do the work that heals his heart and soul in a way that makes him better. However, when men have positive and healthy relationships with their fathers, they have the opportunity to grow from their father’s successes and learn from his mistakes. No father and son relationship can be called perfect and as a result, there are always things that can be improved, even after one of them is gone. Livin in the Shade is a book that explores the implications of father and son relationships on the human experience and offers some insight that may be helpful for all.
Dr. Eric L. Johnson currently serves as the Chief Consultant with Strategies to succeed and on the faculty of Virginia International University. He is the former Chief of Research Publications for the United States Air Force Academy. He has also served as the Director of the Urban Education Program in the School of Education at Drake University. He is a former teacher, who earned his Ph.D. in Policy and Leadership at the Ohio State University. He has facilitated workshops on a variety of topics that include: using difference as an organizational asset, leadership development, and team building. In addition he has conducted seminars in many organizations nationally and internationally in places such as Russia, China, Canada, Africa and Central America. Akili Uchenna was a name I gave my son when he was nine years old. Early in his life, there was some resentment for his name and that produced a tension that seemed at times to be divisive but for the most part, it has proven to be helpful to both of us in our understanding of each other. Our relationship is not unlike the relationship between many other fathers and sons, filled with complexities and unresolved issues. However, the relationship between us is such that this book could be produced. As a father and a son, each of us has a unique perspective on our relationship and this book seems to serve them both. Our relationship has been critical to each of us, in terms of our development and we hope this book compels relevant, critical and loving conversations between any father and son who wishes it.