GSU male student juggles band and parenting

David Lee Atman IV, an alto saxophone player in the Grambling State University Band, is 20 years old. He is the father of 3-month-old Chrystian. David has a six-hour class load. He devotes about 10-15 hours weekly to studying. He juggles at least 60 hours a week – sometimes more – on the band and band commitments.

Despite being busy at least 15 hours a day, he still manages to be there for his son and his girlfriend Destiny, Chrystian’s mother.

Atman complains that it’s hard to have family time and it’s even harder to find time for sleep. He says the biggest challenge is not getting enough sleep, then waking up every morning knowing there is a long day ahead.

He acknowledges that it’s very tough to maintain composure sometimes. He dislikes that many around him do not understand that he is very tired and still expected to perform at his best.

When asked about the common stereotypes he hears now that he is a father; he replied, “A few people have told me that I must really enjoy the band trips because I can relax and have some fun. I told them, ‘I really don’t because the band has an itinerary on trips and the free time is rather scarce.’ However, it is a break from the day-to-day routine.”

I asked David if there were any school programs offered to assist students that are parents. He abruptly replied, “No! If they do have any programs I don’t know about any of them. I haven’t seen ANY offered.”

Asked if he had to do it over again, would he wait to be a parent, he said he wouldn’t.

Atman, like many others who are balancing the parent/student/home life, are not hesitant about the birth of their children. They manage to add it to their life and to handle the situations like professionals, like parents.

I guess we really have no other choice.

His advice to expectant parents is “Take it one day at a time. It’s a blessing to be a parent, and the Lord would not put any burden on you that you could not bear.”