No matter who you are, raising a baby is a lot of work.
Although everyone is quick to give new parents all kinds of warnings about raising children, the truth is that some of that advice is worth giving! Babies require nearly around-the-clock attention and supervision—and can even wake up multiple times through the night, costing their parents valuable hours of sleep. While taking care of children in the comfort of your own home is one thing, things get even more complicated when you need to go out in the world to do anything.
Take, for example, going to school!
Much like having a child, attending a full course-load of college classes is also quite a challenge.
As with a child, doing well in college means being attentive, taking good notes and being disciplined. Though it’s a challenge all on its own, imagine how tough it is when you have a child to take care of at the same time! These were the conditions for one adorable story out of Atlanta, Georgia. At Morehouse College, a student named Wayne Hayer had a midterm exam coming up and an important algebra class to attend to brush up on what would be covered.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any babysitters or childcare for his five-month-old daughter in time.
Because he couldn’t find a babysitter, Wayne was forced to take his daughter Assata to class with him and explain the circumstances to the professor.
Upon walking into class, Wayne walked up to professor Nathan Alexander and laid out the entire situation for him. Although he wasn’t sure what would happen, Professor Alexander reacted in the best way imaginable. Rather than penalize Wayne or send him home, Alexander showed empathy and understanding and came up with a solution.
Instead of having Wayne take care of her during class, Alexander would hold the baby while he taught the class so Wayne could take notes!
Needless to say, the other classmates had to document the occasion—and the results have gone viral.
The story made the rounds more significantly because of a Facebook post from student Nick Vaughn:
“Came to class today ready to learn and start March off on a good note preparing for Midterms at Morehouse College next week, to my surprise we had an unexpected special guest in class today.
As one of my peers walked into the classroom with his child in arms he quickly explained to my professor that he couldn’t find a babysitter and had nobody else that could watch her. My professor Nathan Alexzander(Morehouse College) said, “No problem, in fact I will even hold her so you can take better notes in class.” And he did, in fact not only did he teach the entire lecture with the child in his arms but also stayed after class helping those with questions about today’s lecture with the child still in his arms as seen in the pictures.
It was this encounter that truly showed me the power and impact HBCU’s can have for the black community, for this professor to understand that life happens and sometimes there are just no ways around it.”
Aside from the initial post, others on Twitter sounded off on just how empathetic and helpful Professor Alexander had been to them in the past:
Needless to say, Professor Alexander’s were incredibly inspiring—and particularly helpful for Wayne when it came to taking notes!
For his part, Professor Alexander said that it was somewhat of a risk on his part but that it all turned out for the best. “I don’t have children of my own,” Prof. Alexander said. “I was worried that she would start crying but it actually went perfectly. She was extremely well behaved.” After seeing the story, baby Assata’s mother even left a post of her own on Facebook thanking the teacher:
“Seeing the outpouring of support from friends, family, and strangers for Assata and Wayne is a sight to behold. I can feel the genuine love and enthusiasm. We never asked for attention; all that I’ve personally asked for is authenticity in your love and support. We are new parents. Wayne works two jobs and is a full-time student. He’s rarely at home because he’s out there providing for us. With us being thousands of miles away from family and friends, I’m usually left with the baby to myself. Anyone who is and has been a new mommy understands how overwhelming it can get. Wayne wanted to give me a break. Plus, he’d get to spend more time with Assata in the process. It’s a win-win. Thank you for encouraging us to continue to push forward. Thank you to black educators like Dr. Nathan Alexander for your compassion and understanding.”
Although juggling issues like these can be difficult, a little bit of extra kindness can go a long way!
While there are definitely props to give for Prof. Alexander for being so willing to jump in and help, Wayne also deserves his own props for bringing his daughter to class. Being a young parent is hard enough without having to work twice as hard to keep your life as a parent separate from your social life. The more systems can be developed to support new parents—and the more kind individuals will step up to help out—the better.
Special thanks to Professor Alexander for leading the way!
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