Someone once said that good fathers are hard to come by. They said it as a compliment to a guy who was killing it as a father. But honestly, it was an back handed compliment. Similar to the age old comment of “you are so cute for a dark skinned girl, big girl, etc.” It comes from the notion that males and specifically minority males do not look after their young nor are a strong force in their child’s lives. That many children are running around without a male role model. I often tell the story that my father wasn’t in my life as I grew up. He would show up when he wanted to and would pick up our interaction like nothing had changed. It wasn’t until I was about 14 years old that my mom starting dating Fothen “Mr. Bernie” Jennings who would ultimately become the role model that I didn’t want, but so desperately needed. He raised the standard high when it came to dating (which could be why I’m still single, lol) and he showed me how to interact with men. You see, women learn from other women how to interact with men. That’s like dogs learning from dogs on how to interact with tigers. It just doesn’t make sense. Because of what I learned from him, I learned how to speak to men in the manner that they deserve. This is a whole other story that many will not understand but in due time we will explore it! (Oh we sho nuff will). However, the main point I wanted to make is that there are not only tons of great minority fathers out there, but there are also men who are willing to step in and take the place of absentee fathers. I found a few fathers who were willing to take the time and answer a few of my questions in regards to what fathers meant to them and how it impacts their ability to parent today.
George Lee – Amazing Poet, lover of the arts, and all around good guy!
The biggest lesson I learned was that there is nothing more precious than time spent with your child and making memories. I say this because as an adult it is those memories that sometimes when reflected on has brightened many of my days. One significant memory (sic with my dad) would be when he would play baseball at the playground at the end of our street with my friends and I. I would want my father to know how much of what he was to me means to me as an adult. Fatherhood is important to me because it gives me a stage to be an example to my son of what a man can and should be.
James Hogan, Owner of JHogan Fit systems and man with a plan.
The biggest lesson that I learned from my father was the value of hard work. My father worked for the same company for over 35 years and he always encouraged me to work hard for my goals and dreams. He supported my many money making ideas. My father worked hard so that my sisters and I would never want for anything. My favorite memories of my father are of him being on the side line at my many track and wrestling tournaments. One in particular was when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I was running the 800m dash and around lap two I was beginning to get tired. As I came around the turn, I saw my father by the gate and I could hear his voice cheering me on. Just seeing him gave me the motivation I needed to not give up and complete the race. I would want my dad to know that I appreciate each and every thing he has done. I may not have been grateful at the time but as I got older I started tounderstand the reasons. Now being a father myself I truly can appreciate the sacrifice of time money and how important your love and encouragement is to a son. Fatherhood is important to me because I believe that children are a blessing from God. Psalm 127:3 says all “Children are a heritage from the Lord, Offspring a reward from him." Fatherhood is such a blessing! I have never felt such joy and peace within myself. I feel that my life is complete with my son, daughter, and wife, I am blessed that the Lord has chosen me to nurture and raise two of his angels.
Emilio Bacigalupo, Father of 3, Realtor, and Finance Manager
If there is a lesson I picked up from my Father is that consistency and persistent is key of success to anything in life. As a child I used to think it was him being stubborn however as an adult raising three children, I now see it as him being consistent and persistent with us to succeed in life. I remember taking multiple drives to NYC in my early teens, just my dad and me. My dad would say it’s just to keep him awake but as I got older, I saw it bonding time, just catching up on conversation seeing what going on in my life and having a real father son relationship. I do this with my oldest son now. I would want my father to know that he had/has a major role in my life (more than what he will ever know) in everyday things like how to me a good husband, father, worker ETC. Even today, I’m still very observant on how he handles himself around my mother and sisters. I used to think he was soft around my sisters but know that I have a daughter of my own; I understand where he is coming from. Fatherhood is important because it’s you shaping the path for your children, setting the examples for your children so that when they come to a cross roads, they will make the right choices in life. Its knowing you’ve done all/right thing for your children so that when they leave the nest, you as a parent won’t have fears and doubts as they go out to make their own path in life.
Charles Ivery, Film Director, Computer Technician, Natural Born Hustler
The biggest lesson I learned from my father was that I learned from his mistakes so I took another path. He wanted me to work at the post office which is what he did and he was very unhappy. Because he was unfulfilled with his life it led him to drug addiction. The biggest memory I have about my father was how he handled drama and adversity. My father never put his hands on a woman no matter how much she yelled, screamed, or provoked him, so he never had an emotional response. His response was always logical with deep thought and understanding. I would want my father to know that even though we had a lot of challenges and differences between us, he was a great father who taught me it was possible to be cool and smart as he was the valedictorian of West High School graduating class 1972. Fatherhood is extremely important because all children need a balance from mother and father. As a child gets older, one can have a full understanding of yourself if you are able to study both of your parents. When I look at myself and not understand why I am a certain way, I can always see what parent I got that trait from and how that trait can be good or bad for myself. I really feel that father's roles have definitely been marginalized because of the high divorce rate and of all of the children born out of wedlock but it is very important that a child receives love from both sides as a template for future relationships. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and I would be a completely different person if it wasn't for me knowing my dad's side of the family and all the lessons learned from them.
Although Father's Day was a week ago, we must continue to show and support all of our fathers when those in the media will not!
Happy Extended Father's Day!!