I am not yet a father but I'm a mentor, a leader, and a role model for some. But on that day that I do become a father, I hope to be the greatest example of what a father should be. And If I'm not, and I fall short, I know it's because I fell short to one person, my dad. It's only now as an adult and a man who works with many different families and children that I'm able to see how special my father was and still is.
It's only now that I've fully matured in a manner of speaking, that I realize how tough a job he had and how great a job he accomplished. I see everyday what the absence of a father does to children, especially young men. And although I have the utmost respect for single mothers and the great jobs that they do, when it comes down to it, there are things that a woman can never do for a child that a man can as there are some things that a man can never do for a child that a woman can.
Can children be raised successfully with one parent? Yes they can, but please don't underestimate that importance of the presence of two parents and ladies, please stop dismissing the importance of a man to a boy. You all do a wonderful job mothering these young fellas and doing the best that you can, but there will come a time in your son's life where your son will need things that you will never be able to give him such as the perspective of life as a boy becoming a man. My father busted his butt every day, walking ten miles round trip to and from work in a pair of boots and pants braving the blazing heat to provide for me and my siblings.
And when I became a teenager and thought I knew it all about life just because I knew it all in the classroom, he opened himself up and tried to put me in my place. How did I repay him? With arrogance and almost a sense of contempt for him not letting me do "my own thing." It was so bad that in a way it put a strain on our relationship for a few years. But he never gave up on me, and he was always there and never walked out like the fathers of some of my peers.
But my arrogant ass couldn't see that at the time. I was all about me. I was too stubborn to see that my father carried himself like a king, and he wanted me to do so. Guys these days brag about being tough, being a Spartan. My dad is and was better than that, my father is a Titan. A soldier can never compare, even though he has that on his resume' as well because he is a vet.
Now don't get me wrong, as I paint this grandiose picture of him, I'm not naïve, I know my father has done wrong and he's not perfect as none of us are. But I learned from him that it's not about not ever making mistakes. The crime is not making the mistake, the crime is not learning from the mistake. He taught me that. I was taught to keep my chest out and my chin up. He told me to never go half way, and to always compete against myself even when no one else was around to compete against.
He always made sure it was yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am and no ma'am and to not talk back. It's okay to challenge authority, but also that it's proper to take your punishment when you're wrong or your challenge is out of place. Through him I learned how to think for myself and never settle, and above all else, no one is better than me. We may all be equals but no one deserves to be better, so second class has no place in my life when it comes to treatment.
My father showed me that with his actions and how he lives. So with all his imperfections, I can see that he is perfectly imperfect. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Pop, you have been an inspiration to me, as well as others. I still revere you and look at you in awe when I get to visit back home. If I have ever made you feel like you haven't done a successful job helping to raise me then know that is my fault and shortcoming as a son.
On this father's day, at the risk of sounding corny or less manly than society says I should be, I want you to know how much I love you and how much I hope to pass down all those great things about you to my children so that you live forever through them. After all, that is the fate of all great kings and titans....To live forever!