fatherhood, with Will Blackmon | The San Juan Islands Journal
By Heather Spaulding
Contributor to the journal
As a father of four young adults, Will Blackmon knows a thing or two about parenting.
“Being a father has its challenges, but I wouldn’t be who I am without them,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon moved from Bakersfield, California to Friday Harbor almost 20 years ago and hasn’t looked back.
“I am so happy to have raised my children here. If we lived in California it would have been difficult to survive, ”said Blackmon, adding that as he got older he continued to enjoy the islands.
His children – Willie, 24, Kimmie, 22, Mateo, 18 and Mia, 16 – taught him patience, understanding and responsibility, he said, and how to take constructive criticism. His response is simply a humble one: “Forgive me for I am loaded.”
During tough times, Blackmon’s sons and daughters were the reason he forced himself to get up in the morning and go to work, he explained.
“They inspired me, were my motivation,” he said. “After all, they didn’t ask to be here, I did.”
Having become a father at a young age, Blackmon had no expectations of what fatherhood would be like, so nothing surprised him.
“With my childhood, I didn’t know anything about being a father,” Blackmon said. He took this responsibility seriously and worked diligently to support them.
Blackmon has worked for San Juan County for seven years now and the city of Friday Harbor for three years. He says he always had to keep two jobs to support his family.
A strong work ethic is a lesson Blackmon hopes he instilled in his sons and daughters.
“I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve got, and tried to teach them if they want something, they have to work for it,” Blackmon said. “There’s no reason they can’t.”
Willie has stayed home during the pandemic but is eager to complete his college education. Kimmie now lives in Bellingham. Mateo graduated from Friday Harbor High on June 12 and will most likely attend technical school in Bellingham. In two years, after Mia’s studies, Blackmon will have an empty nest.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I want them to experience the world,” Blackmon said. “I won’t be alone, I know how to have fun. Besides, no matter where they are, we will continue to talk, to be together. We are very close.”
He attributes their closeness to the ability to communicate well with each other.
“We had our problems, but we are fixing them. We have a good understanding with each other, ”Blackmon said. “We communicate, talk about it and fix the problem. “
Communication is a two-way street that requires both speaking and listening. Listening, according to Blackmon, is an invaluable parenting tool.
“If you want to have a good relationship with your children, you have to really listen to them. Listen to their happiness, their pain, ”Blackmon said. He added that by really listening to them, by listening to them, when things inevitably happen, children will not want to turn to anyone other than their parents.
Blackmon said that, as a parent, he cares most about making sure his kids don’t make a decision that affects their lives in ways they might not have wanted.
“My biggest concern is that they are not being wise and making the wrong decision. I mean the one that changes your life forever, ”Blackmon said.
For example, he continued, he worries that his children will decide to drive after drinking, when taking a walk with someone sober or taking a taxi would be a wiser option; or know when to stay or leave a dangerous situation.
“I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve stayed where I should have gone and things have happened,” Blackmon said. “I tried to teach them to be a leader, not a follower, to decide for themselves and to see the big picture.”
One area, he added, in which young people often fail is becoming followers and therefore not thinking for themselves.
To new fathers or future fathers, Blackmon said, “Hold your head up high and be good. Grab your kids and hold them tight because you never know. Our kids really need us right now, there is so much going on. The word is getting crazier and crazier.
Despite all of his challenges and worries, Blackmon wouldn’t change fatherhood.
“It was a blast,” he said.