So, when I was 10-years-old, and my older brother and sister were gone, my mom came to me and said: ‘You are the man of the house now.’ At 10-years-old, I’m like, ‘What does that mean?’ What it meant was that she expected me to keep the house in tow while she worked multiple jobs. And not only that, she expected me to help out however I could.
I remember at 10-years-old, starting to run errands for the elderly folks who couldn’t make it to the grocery store. Then at 11-years-old, the neighbor let me borrow their lawn mower so I could begin cutting lawns. Then at age 13, I got a job. So, I didn’t have a normal childhood because I was expected to be the responsible young person in the house. And I’ve pretty much been that ever since.That’s why I don’t flinch when trouble arises or when there is an issue or concern. I don’t even know if my blood pressure goes up because I’m so used to dealing with different things and trying to create win-win situations for folks.
But there is one thing that I wish I could do over. Because of the sense of responsibility that I had growing up, that’s how I raised my kids. I tried to teach them responsibility, but I wasn’t as fun as I wish I would have been. I always set a great example for them. I always provided for them. But I didn’t talk to them as much as I wish I had talked to them. Don’t get me wrong; we don’t have any problems. They feel good about the example I set, and the provider I was. But again, I was in that mode of – you’ve got to be responsible. You’ve got to be the person whose character is unquestionable; you’ve got to be the stand-up person. Going back, I wish I had balanced that a little bit more. So, I may not have been the fun dad, but now I’m the fun granddad.”
– Dr. William B. Bynum Jr., a higher education professional with more than 27 years of experience, is the 11th President of Jackson State University