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Sunday, June 21, 2015

MommyMorphosis 3rd Annual Father's Day Special Edition 2015

In 2013 I began what has become one of my favorite MommyMorphosis traditions. Once a year, on Father's Day, I turn over the reins to our partners in parenthood. It's important for me to shine a light on the Dads, Daddies, Pops, Papas, Babas, Papis, Fathers and Father Figures that make our lives more full. Individually, we may recognize the impact of the men who raised us; we may be thankful for the fathers of our children, but more often that not super Dads just don't get their due. I share these words written by fathers themselves, as a tool to change the narrative around modern fatherhood. These men are not bumbling idiots, clueless about caring for their children. Conversely, they are digging in, learning the ropes along with mothers. Changing diapers, sleep training, correcting homework, cooking dinner, providing and aspiring to greatness for the benefit of their offspring. Men actively creating a legacy. Growing and evolving into first class parents, just as much as women. They are men who are loving and accountable, firm yet fair; men who live as the antithesis of deadbeat, misogynist, disconnected stereotypes. The truth is I know just as many incredible fathers as I do awe inspiring mothers. Today we celebrate you! Please enjoy this collection of essays written by wonderful fathers, along with some additional memories and dedications shared by friends on social media.

Melvin O. Pearse a.k.a DJ Majesty - 35 yrs

http://www.iamdjmajesty.com/
I'm a Database administrator full time and also A Professional Disc Jockey which means I have a passion for music. I love to play soccer and basketball.

I've known my wife for 7yrs and we are married going on 2yrs now with 2 beautiful kids.

The best part of being a Dad is being  able to support my  children through education, emotionally, discipline , putting  food on the table and putting them on the right track. My dad was never there for me and I don't want to make the same mistake my dad did  with me onto them. Therefore the best part of being a dad is to be  the best dad  I can be.


The difficult and frustrating part is not having enough time to focus on myself because most of my time is dedicated to them and work. I guess it comes with the territory..lol

Becoming a Parent has changed me in so many ways compared to my old life. I'm more responsible and more careful of the actions I take and it's been great following that path. My children would describe me as a hero , great and best friend.


Some of you may remember an awesome post last year by father of triplets, Robert Griggs.

Rob Griggs (34 years old. Cancer LOL) Chicago, IL

Business Consultant, President and Founder of For Husbands Only

Married  (6 Years) with 3 year old Triplets.

Best Part of Being a Dad:
The best part is the positive influence that I’m having on a person’s life.  When I see my kids sing a song I taught them or play a game that we learned together, it makes me feel proud.  Also, there’s no greater feeling then when you hit the door and your kids run to you and let you know they missed you.

The Frustrating Part:
The toughest part about being a Dad is that people are shocked that a man knows how to take care of his kids. Or that we know intimate details about our children. This should not be a surprise. A lot of times I feel like I’m proving that I know my kids to people when I really shouldn’t have to.

What Have I Learned
I’ve learned that you are stronger than you think. When you have a child and they need something, you don’t think about how tired you are, or what you need or what you have to do…you just take care of their needs.  Before we moved to our current home, my wife and I lived on the 3rd floor. Our washing machine was broken and we used my parents’. I would carry the 3 babies up and down the stairs, with 3-4 loads of clothes and never thought twice about it. It was just what we had to do. Could I do that now?!? Probably not…because I no longer have to.

I strive to be a Father that is involved in my kids’ lives. I want to know my kids’ favorite cartoon character, their friends, and their favorite TV shows. But I don’t want to be their friend. They’ll have enough of those…but they’ll only have one Father. Hopefully, my kids can talk to me about those things that scare them or confuse so I can give them solid advice.  But I’m a very involved father now. I’m pretty good at anticipating my children’s needs. And I learned very early, each kid is different and must be treated differently. That takes more work, but it’s definitely more effective.

He and his family are thriving. Keep up with him at https://twitter.com/ForHusbandsOnly www.forhusbandsonly.com



Jason Wells shared this reminder.

"Fellas with all the negativity going on in the world it starts at home, being a father is not only a privilege, but it's our responsibility. Future change for this and the next generations to come depends on us and how we raise our children. Happy Father's Day Gentleman and keep striving for greatness. Enjoy..."








Wess Walters, Owner and founder of www.marketingmassive.com , a video production company that bridges the gap between video Social Media. My professional goal is to take away the frustration of social media management for small to medium size business owners.




The best part about being a dad is to witness change and growth within my children. The most scary and difficult thing is watching them feel pain.

Being a parent has really thought me to master time management. I am at the helm of my family and my goal is to provide, profess (my love) and protect.

How would your children describe you? “The best dad ever”



Charles Clemons wrote about how his heavenly father influences his responsibility to his family.

"This day is special not because I could celebrate being a father but because it's another opportunity for me to recognize God for His daily provisions and entrusting my wife and I with Deztiny and Trinity's care. Thank you all for the Father's day wishes and Happy Father's day to all the fathers and father figures." 



Ed Kim
My name is Ed and I’m 35 years old. I currently reside in Springfield, IL, but was born and raised in Chicago (city proper). I’ve been married to my wife, Amanda, for 8 WONDERFUL years, but we’ve been together since 1999. We have two very handsome sons, Carter and Spencer, 6 years and 2 years in age respectively. I am a very proud parent. Oftentimes, in public, I certainly become my own father as I am speechless by the love and adoration strangers will show towards my children. That is not the best part of being a father. Rather, I love reading to my oldest and listening to him read back to me. It seems just yesterday Carter was learning how to walk. 

Being a father is not easy. I am constantly in flux with my parental role as role model, provider, mentor, peer, and disciplinarian … among many other roles. As much as I would love to continually provide my kids with anything and everything, I look at my oldest and sometimes feel angry at his propensity to be thankless for all the material goods he’s acquired. Yet, I’m never angry at him, just the actions and behavior. Of course, I view much of me in him and I know how I was as a kid. So, I really try to step back, allow my child to make/commit mistakes and see if he will learn from them. I then try to emulate/embody the great values and characteristics that create a great person hoping that Carter will pick up on the best behaviors.

I guess the toughest part of being a dad is watching my kids deal with the consequences of their actions (i.e. Spencer standing up and leaning to reach for something, but falls hard to the ground). A part of me wants to just make all the decisions for them or make everything alright. Sometimes, there’s nothing that a parent or adult can do to fix anything, but simply hopelessly watch as kids make their choices and deal with the related consequences.

I guess Carter would describe me as one to not disappoint. I take misbehavior seriously, not as bad as my own father, and always make sure Carter learns something. I think Carter is beginning to learn the lesson of making an impression and exercising judgment. As much as I would love to see a lesson learned much easier, I know that nothing is easy in life in order to succeed. I can only hope that I remain close to my children for the rest of my life. I’d hate to alienate any of them simply because I love them too much to see them fail.

My children are the love of my life, second only to my wife and best friend. I can only hope that we, as a family, can develop and grow the best qualities and values as time passes us by.

 

Chika Chukudebelu, BET producer, host and creator of the inspirational leadership podcast, The Blueprint Show www.blueprintshow.com , shared this sentiment.






"The hardest working man I know. From Nigeria to Heidelberg, Germany to NYC to Chicago, he paved a new path for our family. This is what reliable looks like and I'm grateful that he's who God gave me. Happy Father's Day, Daddy!" 










Clayton Harris, CEO and Founder of HitekConsulting.com


What I love most about being a Dad is watching my daughter Michelle learn how to do things on her
own. What I love even more is how she looks at me when she's having a hard time learning something, or when she's scared or unsure of her steps, and I'm there to guide her. Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's who can relate. ‪#‎She‬sTheRealMVP












One of our regular contributors and hilarious favorites is back this year, Ugo Nwokolo.

My name is Ugo from the House of Nwokolo. Husband to a Supermodel, Black Belt in Taekwondo Semi-Pro Beach Volleyball player and Father to Ronke, Kosi and Ugo 2.0. This is my 7th Father's Day.


Best thing about being a dad:


I think it is the power. My words and actions are altering my children's perspectives and way of thinking. I am the arbiter of their world view. I have phenomenal cosmic power!


I have... Aww they are so cute...


I also love it when any of my children seek to lie on me for comfort or reassurance. I love being a place of comfort and security for my kids.


I love hearing the word Daddy. Usually said with joy or surprise. Sometimes said in an whiny irritating voice but I will never get tired of it. I am their daddy. It is one of the best sounds in the world.


Another thing about being a Dad are the games I made up for my kids. 25 kisses,  the  why you! Game and the Surprise hug.


25 kisses is when I grab a child and declare that is to receive 25 kisses and proceed to do so in rapid fashion. All my kids laugh with glee and Ronke usually asked if I had done all 25 for me to get more in.

Kosi loves it and even Ugo 2.0. I feel it is something that I will keep on doing til they get too old but remember it fondly.



The Why You game involves picking me kids and lobbing them onto my bed. When that game starts, it is like a workout. 3 kids wanting their turn to be thrown onto my Bed.  I can't just throw them, I need to say Why You!  In mock indignation before throwing them otherwise it doesn't count.

The Surprise hug is simple and self explanatory but I know my children love being surprised by a hug from their daddy. Sometimes they even try to trigger a Surprise hug. You cant activate a Surprise hug.

It comes when You least expect it.

The Frustrating Part:
Keeping calm when all children are conspiring to get on my last fragile nerve.

Trying to find the time to spend with my
Supermodel Kung Semi Pro Beach Volleyball player. I love my kids but they can be chronal black holes. I can't imagine life without them so it is that frustrating struggle to give everyone the time we all need to flourish. I am a jealous husband. I want time with my preciooouuussss.

Lastly, I wish the bar wasn't so low for fathers. It is always weird when I get praised to just being a basic father to my kids.

What I have learned:

1: Each child is unique and you need to make sure that you don't force the lessons you learned with one child onto the other.

2: Each child needs individual time together with you.

3: The wife I had before my first child isn't the same after the birth.

There are new dimensions after every new child. Make sure you truly connect to find out where you are as a couple.

Kids are great but your relationship is Paramount. Kids need to learn that Dad considers his wife his Number 1 option.

My name is Ugo from the House of Nwokolo. Husband to Funmi and Father to Ronke, Kosi and Ugo. This is my 7th Father's Day.  I am very blessed man.

I also have a vivid imagination.







Joe Carlos eloquently expressed his father's example and shared a photo of his adorable little one, Sage Harper.

"His examples were those in his mind. And so, he did the best he could with what he had. He worked tirelessly. He walked circumspectfully. He lived and breathed integrity. He expected our best, and poured his energies into providing whatever we needed to succeed.
It's not easy being the son of a revered person. It's not. It's not easy when you bear the same name. The expectations are higher than you could imagine because of all that you've been fortunate enough to experience and have. And still, despite that, my father has loved me and my siblings and taught us lessons that will endure, and shown us the world.
We spoke on Thursday about Hamlet. And he purposefully mispronounced a character's name. And I corrected him by saying "Polonius". He lives for that. For that affirmation. He lives for the delight of shared knowledge. And he passed that on to us, and we will do the same.
My father delivers babies for a living, and he's one of the absolute best at it, anywhere. Because of this, and because of the way he approaches his work, he is one of the most respected people in his field, and definitely in our sleepy little town of Dallas, TX. And despite all of the things he is to so many people; the Deacon, the proud grandfather, the counselor, the prayer partner, the trustee at Greenhill and Lakehill, the consummate uncle, the loyal Boule brother, the avid Cowboys, Rangers and Mavs fan, the Alpha, first and foremost he'll tell you that he's a child of God. And being a child of God, is what rules and guides his life.
Happy Father's Day to my role model and the man that I'm blessed to call my father, and Sage and Izzy's grandfather."

First Lady Krystal Taft reflected on her husband's dedication to the Lord and their family.



[Pastor Taft Q. Heatley] "William loves standing in your shoes so much to the point that I have to wrestle them away from him when you are not home. I know that one day he'll be big enough to fill your shoes, and when that day comes I know that he will be the loving husband, father, son, brother, friend and most importantly Man of God that you are teaching him to be. I love you and Happy Father's Day!!!"












This quote sums up how I feel about my father, confidante and kindred spirit.




“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.” — Everwood






Finally, Happy Father's day to my wonderful husband, Marvin! Thank you for being the best Daddy to our children, showering them with love and affection. Thank you for knowing when they need a kind word over a stern hand. Thank you for understanding that for them to live life without limits they still need boundaries. Most of all thank for loving their Mother :-* 





I also salute the men in my extended family; my uncles, grandfathers and family friends that offer an immeasurable amount of love and guidance - not only as father figures to me, but to my kids as well. We Love You All!

I hope to continue working with fathers as guest bloggers, so Dads, if what you read in this post inspires you to pen something of your own please send it to mommymorphosis@gmail.com 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Case For Economic Activism: No Black Friday spending is just the start. How about a complete anti-commercial holiday season? #HandsUpDontSpend #BlackOutBlackFriday

America has had a rude awakening. The masses now understand that we are far from being a “post racial” society. What has been revealed are the racial assumptions and socioeconomic judgments floating just beneath the surface of our conversations, confrontations and political decisions. Across the country in living rooms, barbershops and pubs people are talking. African Americans are restless and seeking ways to resist in response to injustice. So, what do we do? We will march, we will lend our time and talents to community efforts, but we must also TAKE! Take back our dollars and kick the system where it hurts – in their economic bottom line. No Black Friday spending is just the start. How about a complete anti-commercial holiday season? Make gifts and find volunteer opportunities for your family. Save your money, but give of yourselves to your community. 

Why Boycott Retail?
I'm no economist, but I know the words of W.E.B. Dubois to be true, "To whom you give your money, you give your power." Nielsen research has assessed that there are 44 million African-Americans living in the United States, which is 14.2% of the entire U.S. population, the second largest racial minority in the country. The median age is 32 and 47 percent are under 35 years of age. The demographic is younger; more educated and has higher incomes than commonly believed. With an estimated buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, we would be the 16th largest country in the world. YET, we disproportionately own fewer of our homes, save less, invest less and spend less with small businesses in our community when compared to other racial groups. According to Ken Smikle of Target Market News, "The largest single investment that Corporate America makes in the Black community is in advertising. That investment is about $2 billion a year, but it should be at least twice that amount given the importance of the market and the role these consumers play in any company's bottom line." Refrain from holiday spending to make a collective statement. The United States economy cannot rely on our hard earned dollars while the justice system undermines the value of black life. When you mess with people’s money, they tend to start listening. 




In a few days friends and family will gather around tables, shared delicious meals and gave thanks for all the good in our lives. This year we should be grateful just to be alive! Exactly 24 hours later gratitude will give way to "getititude" as scores of shoppers swarm and scramble to grab bargains on Black Friday. Resist the norm. Do the opposite of what is expected. Invest in yourself! In addition to economic activism there is value to dialing back holiday spending, especially for families with young children.




Celebrate The Joy Of Giving
BE THE GIFT! Hopefully as adults we've learned the joy of giving, as well as receiving. Plan activities that teach your little ones that sentiment. It's important for them to realize that other boys and girls may be going without. Find a local toy drive, group home, or church collecting items for the less fortunate. Donate toys, books and clothing that can be a blessing to those who desperately need a bit of holiday cheer. If finances are tight give your time. Join a group that sings carols at nursing homes or spend an afternoon volunteering at a local shelter. 

Create Family Traditions Together
Fellowship, family, laughter and love - these are life's most special gifts. Make the season mean so much more by creating traditions with your children. Craft homemade ornaments or cards, bake cookies for your neighbors, attend a performance of the Nutcracker, see a holiday concert, go ice skating, host a Christmas Eve potluck, etc. Give your family something to look forward to each year that's invaluable, immaterial and doesn't require batteries.

Teach The Reason For The Season
Focus on your faith. Why and what do you believe? As busy adults we sometimes take for granted the spiritual lessons imparted by our elders. Teach your children the essence of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Make it fun! Take part of special activities in your place of worship. Pick out a couple of new books. Put on a play or puppet show to perform for loved ones visiting from out of state. Although Santa has become a prominent figure, remind your children the star atop your tree does not shine in celebration of dear old St. Nick.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014! Special Edition with Real Dad Submissions

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Today we celebrate the fathers, father figures and special men in our lives. The guys who seem like giants when we're little - all big hands and broad shoulders. The fellows who learn how to balance horseplay, straight talk and tenderness as we grow. Whether soft spoken, slick talking or the strong, silent type, Dads are there to encourage and teach the wisdom we'll need to be our best. Far too often dedicated dads get the short end of the stick. If moms are seen as martyrs, applauded for the merits of the best among us; active, engaged and loving fathers are often overlooked, and lumped in with the guys who have created a life, but have never been around to nurture or protect it. 

I am thankful for a father who is my kindred spirit. He's a spiritually centered, music-loving romantic.  A student of metaphysics, bohemian bookworm and eloquent charmer. My Daddy has always been there for me. When I'm at my worst, a call from him whips me right back into shape and provides the perspective I need to keep on keeping on. 



On November 27, 2010 he gave me away to my husband, Marvin. Not only my lover and friend, Marvin is an amazingly kind and compassionate father to our two children. They love him to pieces and fatherhood has undoubtedly made him a better man. I also salute the men in my extended family; my uncles, grandfathers and family friends that offer an immeasurable amount of love and guidance - not only as father figures to me, but to my kids as well. 
We Love You All!


Once again this year, in honor of Father's Day, I have invited men to write about their experiences and how their children have impacted their lives. I hope to continue working with fathers as guest bloggers, so Dads, if what you read in this post inspires you to pen something of your own please send it to mommymorphosis@gmail.com 


Rob Griggs (34 years old. Cancer LOL) Chicago, IL

Business Consultant, President and Founder of For Husbands Only (@ForHusbandsOnly, forhusbandsonly.com)

Married  (5 Years) with 2 year old Triplets.

Best Part of Being a Dad: 
The best part is the positive influence that I’m having on a person’s life.  When I see my kids sing a song I taught them or play a game that we learned together, it makes me feel proud.  Also, there’s no greater feeling then when you hit the door and your kids run to you and let you know they missed you.

The Frustrating Part: 
The toughest part about being a Dad is that people are shocked that a man knows how to take care of his kids. Or that we know intimate details about our children. This should not be a surprise. A lot of times I feel like I’m proving that I know my kids to people when I really shouldn’t have to.

What Have I Learned
I’ve learned that you are stronger than you think. When you have a child and they need something, you don’t think about how tired you are, or what you need or what you have to do…you just take care of their needs.  Before we moved to our current home, my wife and I lived on the 3rd floor. Our washing machine was broken and we used my parents’. I would carry the 3 babies up and down the stairs, with 3-4 loads of clothes and never thought twice about it. It was just what we had to do. Could I do that now?!? Probably not…because I no longer have to.

I strive to be a Father that is involved in my kids’ lives. I want to know my kids’ favorite cartoon character, their friends, and their favorite TV shows. But I don’t want to be their friend. They’ll have enough of those…but they’ll only have one Father. Hopefully, my kids can talk to me about those things that scare them or confuse so I can give them solid advice.  But I’m a very involved father now. I’m pretty good at anticipating my children’s needs. And I learned very early, each kid is different and must be treated differently. That takes more work, but it’s definitely more effective.

Here’s a pic of me and the chipmunks. This is about a year old, but it’s one of my favorites.


My kids, if they could talk, would describe me as a fun Dad, who’s fair, but understanding. They know I will answer any question and take the time necessary to address their concerns or fears.


Anthony L Davis, 35
Real estate agent and investor with Zion Capital Investments, LLC. My goal is to renovate properties for resale and rent, allowing me the time and resources to be a blessing to my family, church and community. In addition to my role as leader of our church youth group, I serve on a community improvement board, enjoy international travel and attending various sport events. 

Family description: 
 I am married to my wonderful wife, Alisa and we have two beautiful children, Jonathan (7) and Alana (20 months). 

Best part of being a Dad: 
The best part of being a dad is the love generated from my children, particularly seeing the absence of fathers active in our communities. There is a genuine sense that they not only want me around, but that they need me in their lives. 

                                                        
Most scary, surprising, difficult, frustrating part: 
The scariest part of being a dad is the fact of having children in an increasingly dangerous and treacherous world and the fact that I cannot completely shield them from perils out of my control or beyond my supervision. The most surprising part of being a dad is that I don’t get nearly as grossed out with my kids bodily fluids as I thought I would before becoming a parent. The most difficult thing is that although my wife and I diligently invest in raising them a certain way and contributing to their success, our children are not robots and make decisions that we often are not desirous of. That also is the most frustrating part. 

What you've learned about life, love or yourself since becoming a father?: 
Being married and a parent are the two most unselfish things I've ever experienced in life. I think that most men are pretty selfish by nature, but having others depend on your time, consistency and interaction can be a challenge at times. I've learned that life is not just about personal achievement or adventure, but building something significant with the ones you love. It may not make for the most interesting stories to share with the fellas, but it’s what’s necessary to have long-term and substantial success. Men must learn to settle down and build legacy. Being a father has expanded my patience to levels unknown and even undesired. Nevertheless, I've become a better person and my relationship with God has changed in that I see through my children how God must feel about me.

Your role in the family, how do you fit in?: 
My role in the family is that of a decisive decision-maker and spiritual priest for my household. This took time, as I needed to quickly mature at the beginning of my marriage and fatherhood to properly assume the task at hand. I strive to be everything my father was and even a few things that he wasn't. That said, my father was hard-working and a spiritual rock, but wasn't as available from an interaction standpoint as I would've liked. I want to address that deficiency in my relationship with my children. 

How would your children describe you?: 
My children would describe me as a fun, protective and kind father.


Edward Kirkland is a buddy of mine from my undergraduate days at Spelman College. He's a brilliant educator and Facebook funny guy who tickles his friends and followers with thoughtful and hilarious updates. The newlywed Morehouse man is not yet a father, but posted some jewels about his own Father. They were so entertaining and heartwarming that I had to share. 

"Because when people complain about how they grew up "without" , I can't relate.
#HFD (Happy Father's Day)
  
Because when you retired from work, you walked me to elementary school every day, and was there waiting when I got dismissed, every day. 
#HFD

Because growing up, I never wanted for ANYTHING. Well, except that Nintendo glove thing. But I'm over it. Kinda.
#HFD

Because you worked hard as hell, just so I could watch The Cosby Show and think, "oh shit, that's us."
#HFD

Because all those epic whoopings we got as kids were followed up with explanations and hugs. #HFD

For all the times you handed me a little cash back in the day, followed up with a good 'ole 'don't tell your mother'."
#HFD

Kevin L. Swan - 38
God loving happily married Morehouse father.  

Your life's work:  
I am a financial advisor who loves to educate.  When I started my career, I did a lot of work with educators.  Working indirectly in education, it exposed me to the need for positive man of color to come and talk with the students.  From that exposure, I volunteered in the different school systems throughout the Chicagoland area.  Tutoring in math and being involved with different mentoring programs, has allowed me to pass financial education to the students at a younger age.  Financial education is lacking in the education system, so I became JA Achievement volunteer.  I actually go into the classrooms, and teach the economics course or have financial discussion with the students.  I salute the teachers of these schools, the most underpaid/under-recognized profession. 

I love spending time with family, traveling, reading, mining, gardening, and a lot of other things.  I like to do THINGS.
Family description: 
I have been happily married for almost 11 years to Yolanda Swan (McCullough) and I thank God for my Queen.  We have a four year old son, and our second son was just born.  A great Father’s Day gift.

Best part of being a Dad: 
Seeing yourself in your children

Most scary, surprising, difficult, frustrating part: 
I was surprised at how natural the instincts came, when we had our first one. 

How becoming a parent has changed you?  
When I became a father, I instantly knew that it was not about me anymore.   If everyone could apply that as a principle in his or her life, the world would be a better place.

What kind of Father you strive to be, etc?
 A role model, because I have one.  My father is a father to so many other people.  A Great Man, if I could be a tenth of what he is, I will have done well.

How would your children describe you?
 Not from this planet

Ugo Nwokolo
My name is Ugo from the House of Nwokolo. Husband to Funmi and Father to Ronke, Kosi and Ugo. This is my 6th Father's Day. 

Here are some things I have learnt along the way.
  
 
It doesn’t matter what Daddy does at work. All they know is that he leaves and they are happy he comes back.

Each kid responds differently to your individual attention.  Especially girls. The way  my Kosi responds to me while we are alone is really different when she is fighting with her sister for my attention. 

Parenting is great but our American culture seems to make it more important than the marriage. Not good.

 After 3 kids, you almost feel like you are standing back to back with your spouse trying to manage the household. 

You need to turn and face each other.  A glowing healthy marriage is such an important lesson for your kids to see. 

The thing that I fear about is the Big mistake. I think every parent does it. 
They do or say something to their kid that sort of messes them up.

 It could be an innocuous  statement of what kind of work ethic we expect  or something said in anger that sears in their souls.  

My words and actions are so powerful to how these children grow up. 

The older my kids gets, the more I need to provide a structure that they need to model.  I am the archetype that they need to build on. 
 
You want neat kids. Get neat. Your kids are your mirror. Model that behavior that you want.

I am a Father.  I am not a replaceable part of my family. I am integral.  We are a big deal.  Like Larry Winget said, Our kids are our own damn fault.  They are also our own great joy. 

Rayy Horton is a 41 year old graphic designer, from New Jersey currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Rayy participated in this project last year. Today I'm sharing a loving sentiment he received from his teenage daughter. You're doing something right Rayy!


 



Stephen Llorens, 36

I am a writer. Mostly screenplays, but looking to get into print. My hobbies include sleeping and sitting still and not doing anything. I cherish the twenty minutes a day I get to indulge in my hobbies.

My family consists of me, my better half, and our two children Zoey and Malachi. 

The best part of being a dad is hearing my daughter refer to me as “daddy,” even though it is often followed by “can I have” or “I was thinking maybe you could” or “I’d like” or “make me some”. My son doesn't speak yet, but I love holding him in the morning while he smiles and moves and says things I don’t understand but can feel.

Nothing’s scary about it, but the most frustrating part is making judgment mistakes. Each time I've done something I wish my parents hadn't said/ done to me, I've gotten frustrated with myself.

Parenthood has changed me almost completely, and I learn more about myself every day by watching my children and witnessing my reactions to things they do.

My role in the family is the cook. I cook most of the meals. That’s probably the only thing I do that their mother doesn't (as often). I strive to be the kind of father i am: willing to change, malleable, and open.

My son would probably describe me as that guy who holds him in front of the mirror and smiles with his eyes. My daughter would describe me as the guy who makes her breakfast and lets her watch TV in his room. I would describe them as my favorite two people in the world.  Stephen and his son Malachi share the same birthday!



Wess Walters 36 
Creative Director at www.marketingmassive.com
A lover of life, people and all the joys wealth brings. 


Hobbies:
Roller blading, snorkeling and quiet Wess time. 

Family description: Single dad

Best part of being a dad: 
Watching your kids grow. 

Most scary, surprising, difficult, frustrating part: So little time.

What you've learned about life, love or yourself since becoming a father? 
One word-PATIENCE 

What kind of Father you strive to be, etc?
I'm the leader and the kids are the troopers on the team.  I try to be a perfect mixture of Malcolm X, Bruce Lee, and Cliff Huxtable. I strive to be like the image of Malcolm X, with the discipline of Bruce Lee with the humor, compassion and the ability to express love like Mr. Huxtable. 

How would your children describe you? "The coolest dad ever!"
What I've learned over the year [Wess contributed in 2013 as well] is that if I chase the money, it will forever be elusive. If I chase the dream, the money and time with the kids will be automatic.