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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Special! Fatherhood Reflections from Real Dads

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Earlier this month I started contacting some Fathers to create a special Dad's Day project. As to be expected MommyMorphosis typically focuses on the transformative effect becoming a parent has had on my life, as well as offer my take on issues in child rearing, education, relationships, etc. Today I'm doing something that I've been thinking about for a while. Most often Moms are presented as the authorities on parenting; but doting Dads have a voice too! In honor of Father's Day I invited men that I know to be loving, active Dads to write about their experiences and how children have enriched their lives. I was overwhelemed with the number of men willing to assist me by sharing their family stories; it goes to show that there is a lot of love and emotion just under the surface of the most masculine exteriors. 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 Take the time to today to celebrate Dads that are making a difference and don't get the recognition they deserve!




Ugo Nwokolo
My name is Ugo from the House of Nwokolo. Husband to Funmi and Father to Ronke, Kosi and Ugo. I am 36 yrs old. I am working to be a Network Engineer and also a kickass photographer.

We have been married for 8 lovely years that I wouldn't trade for anything. The only way it could be better would be if I could clone my wife and marry her again.

Best Thing about being a Dad: The Super powers. I love being able to get my kids to do things that their mommy couldnt do. For 6 months, I had the ability to silence my 9 month old with a look. I could make her eat the same cereal that she previously refused and she loved my hugs. I love being a Super hero to my kids. They think I am soo awesome and they make me be and feel that I have to be better to live up to their adulation.

I love the way my girls nestle in my arms and rest. They feel safe in my arms and I will contort my body into crazy uncomfortable positions to keep them sleeping soundly.

I think the best thing about being a Dad is teaching your kids things that their mother wouldnt or couldnt teach them. It really hits home how important it is to have that Male/Female model to raising your children.

The Most Scary thing about being a Dad: Worrying about making a mistake. Scared that I will make a decision that will affect my family in a way that I cant rectify.

The Most Difficult thing about being a Dad: Recaiming the time with my wife. Children are natural cockblockers. They suck up all attention and parents can easily fall into the trap of putting all your time with your kids and ignoring the Marriage aspect.

I find that a new role of the father is being the Protector of the Marriage. Working to make sure that you find creative ways to be together and have that intimate Husband/wife time that grows your marriage.

Daddy lesson learned: I dont have to worry about having enough love for all my kids. My heart grows with each child.

There are two requests that I should always agree or pay attention to:
1- Daddy, can I sit on your lap? -- This is a request that you must always acquiese to.
2- Daddy, please look at me! -- You need to always listen to your girls when they ask that. Your attention is very important to them.

My role in the Family: I dont know how to respond to this. I am the Daddy. The bringer of the fun. The discipline enforcer. Co bread winner.

I want to be the Father that my kids call almost everyday to solict my advice and companionship.

How my kids describe me: The Best daddy ever

Chris Davis
I'm Chris Davis of course... currently I'm 33. I own my company PNKSLP LLC (like us on FB, follow us on Twitter and IG). I personally designed a table top network marketing board game. I've been married for 11 years and have 5 boys no girls! (yay) My wife and I have 4 boys together and I had my 1st son while in college.

The best part of being a dad is knowing that I am raising boys to be men and one day they will be able to thank God for having a father, dad, and man in their life. The scariest part of being a dad seeing them 1st come out and wondering if you will be able to take care of and provide for them. The most difficult part is knowing when to and when not to discipline. It's also difficult to know whether or not you are doing the right then at the right time. It's super frustrating to see your child struggle and know that it's up to you to all them to grow through the struggle because the struggle will make them better.

Becoming a parent has changed me tremendously. I hug more. Go to school and help with projects and prior to having my own I probably wouldn't have ever been involved at such a high level. Since becoming a dad I've learned that you teach train and love as much as often and as hard as you can you don't stop until you are gone from this world because all children male or female need their dad's perspective and his keen eye. I've learn that you must give your children affection, attention, approval and affirmation. I strive to be the dad that is tough and loving at the same time. Gentle and caring but firm and I'll whoop that ass if you fuck up again after I've told you to get right! My children would describe me as a loving mean, caring dad.


Donald Andrews
My name is Donald Andrews and I am Senior Sales Associate for the Byers Auto Group in Columbus, OH. I live in a small town right outside of Columbus, OH named Pickerington. One of my goals that drives me the most is developing a rehabilitation center for the homeless, addicted and afflicted. I'm talking about job training, ethics training, interactive life training, etc. I want to prepare those individuals that need help transitioning into society for the first time and those that need help that have tried and failed.

I have a fiancé and our two children. Both of my children are by the same woman, who I intend to spend the rest of my life with. I have been married once at a very young age, but I never gave up on the idea of love and family.

The best part about being a father is watching all of the wisdom you attempt to instill in your children manifest itself when they are away from you. I have a daughter and its different than having a son. I see my daughter as someone I have to protect. I see my son and see all my faults become perfect.

The scariest thought of being a parent is having my children away from me in the presence of IMMEDIATE danger. I rarely get frustrated and nothing seems difficult. I am only concerned with their safety. The one thing that changed me because of my children is realizing what I missed out on with my father. They have alerted me to a void that I didn't even realize that was there. Learning that two opinions are better than one. The way I rationalize my actions completely revolves around my children. The love you have for your children cant be described in words.
I have always depended on myself because my mother has had to do the same. I do all the laundry, cooking and cleaning because I trust me to do it the best. I work and work hard. The way I show love to my children is by teaching them ethical values, being appreciative and never take things for granted.

My daughter would describe as a warden. I do not let anything slide with her. On the other side of that coin she would say that I am her protection. Nothing and I mean nothing happens to her without it happening to me first. If it does, pray. My first born is my baby girl. My son will tell you that he can talk to me about anything. He is 5. Male to male, we have a bond that is unique. I see him and see perfection. If you asked him, he would tell you that I am the best daddy in the whole wide world. He tells me that every day no lie. Crazy thing is he never wants anything when he does say it.
Bottom line is that as I matriculate through parenthood, I learn something everyday. My children are my most precious aspect of life because they need me to feel that way. Purpose. As a parent I used to wonder what life was like before them or why it mattered before them. Now I know that everything I have ever been through was to prepare me to lead my family. Footprints in the sand doesn't come from one generation. The journey is real. With proper guidance and the instillation of thick moral fabric, my children will be in the best position to leave noticeable and positive world footprints that effect lives and communities here and abroad.


Darroll Lawson
My name is Darroll Lawson, 43, and I’m a 25 year resident of Atlanta from East Lansing, Michigan and am a graduate of Morehouse College.

Your life's work: Occupation, professional or entrepurnial goals, personal cause or passion, voluteer, hobbies...

 I’m an IT executive for a fortune 500 technology company that delivers best-of-breed software and professional consulting services to major corporations. My passions evolve around the social sciences. Specifically, I’m extremely intellectually curious about religion, psychology, sociology and how these things integrate into our day to day lives and politics. As a hobby, I’m an Author “Options Solutions to the (Good) Man Shortage”, an internet Radio Host (the PhilosoG’s), Documentary Film Writer (Currently working on a project on the Impact of Excess in American Culture on Love & Relationships) and I’ve done a couple of viral youtube video animations on social phenomena. I also coach my sons in AAU basketball, teach them piano 4 days a week, coach their football team, teach their children’s Sunday School class, help with Teen Night at my church, and supplement their tennis lessons with “daddy lessons”…lol.

Family description: Tell about your family make up. Married, divorced, military, single dad, blended family, etc .

I’m a married (11 years) father of three children ages 16, 9 and 7. My oldest daughter is mine, though officially my step-daughter (I see no distinction); but, for the purposes of accuracy, we are a blended family.

Best part of being a Dad:
The best part of being a dad is the process providing value in their lives and seeing their growth, happiness, and appreciation as a result. For example, I love when they jubilantly scream “DADDYY!” when I walk through the door from work or an overnight trip out of town. I love seeing them beam with personal satisfaction after being recognized for excellence in academics and/or sport. I love to see their response from encouraging cheers after reciting a scripture in church. Mostly, I love how they assimilate the values and spiritual principles we teach them into their everyday lives.

Just yesterday, a bully was bothering students at my son’s camp and I was told by my wife that my son kept “running away from the boy”. Initially, my machismo kicked in and I wanted to pound my chest and have a stern talk with my son about “being a man” and not taking mess off of anyone. But, when I sat down with my son, he explained that he felt sorry for the boy. He thought maybe something was emotionally wrong with him and felt that while he could’ve easily beat him up or hurt him, he was more concerned about his well-being and kept “walking away”while trying to minister to him in a godly manner. He chose love over violence. For me, that was one of my proudest father moments. I’m raising good, kind people. That’s the best part of being a dad!

Most scary, surprising, difficult, frustrating part:
The most scary part is thinking I won’t have enough time to teach them everything I know or that I’ll somehow fail to properly set them up for success in life. The most surprising part is the joy in the actual work of raising a family. I never would’ve thought something so difficult could be so joyous. The most difficult part is the sacrifice (my entire leisurely wardrobe is practically all “crosscolors” since most of my wardrobe money has been going to my wife and children over the past 11 years….lol). Sacrifice of sleep, personal time, money, having nice things, etc. The most frustrating part is whenever I feel like they don’t appreciate the sacrifice or are careless or unthankful for the privilege they have.

How becoming a parent has changed you? Or, what you've learned about life, love or yourself since becoming a father?
Becoming a parent has made me more patient, tolerant of different views, understanding, and more communal. I’ve learned the importance of the group over myself. I’ve learned more about my relationship with God as the parent-child relationship remarkably similar to the Godman (kind) relationship. When my children complain, I think of my complaints to God; when they’re dissatisfied, I think of how I can me more thankful for God’s blessings and mercy; when my children hide things, I reflect on my personal righteousness and what I think I’m hiding from God. Being a parent has made me much more thoughtful and aware of what kind of Christian I am. It’s also given me an appreciation of what my religion tells me of the crucifixion of Christ.

Your role in the family, how do you fit in? What kind of Father you strive to be, etc?
Happy Spouse, happy house. My role is to provide covering for everyone in my household…spiritual, financial, emotional, etc. After that, my wife pretty much runs the house. I get in where I can fit in with helping with cooking, cleaning, disciplining (putting down that “man foot”! lol), being available for family vacations and trips she plans, etc. My goal as a father is to be Christ-like….to literally sacrifice and lay down my life so they can pick up the mantle (Paying it forward as my mom and grandfather and ancestors have done for me).

How would your children describe you?
They often tell me I’m the best dad in the world.(don’t get much better than that)


Wess Walters
Wess Walters, 35
Entrepreneur, Television editor.
Hobbies- perfecting my craft.
Family description: Divorce

Best part of being a Dad: Watching my kids grow.

Most scary: Watching my kids get hurt. Surprising-being amazed of how much more advance my kids are than I am at the same age. Difficult- Not spending as much time as I would like because of work. Frustrating-balancing time with the world and time with them.

How becoming a parent has changed you? Or, what you've learned about life, love or yourself since becoming a father?
Becoming a parent has made me do everything with a purpose. I’m no longer able to quit, because now if I tell my kids “not to give up”, then I would be a hypocrite.

Your role in the family, how do you fit in? What kind of Father you strive to be, etc? I’m the head of the house. I strive to be like in 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 best kids on earth.

How would your children describe you? “Daddy you are the bestest daddy ever”!
 


Ed Kim

My name is Ed and I’m 33 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, 4 years and 11 months 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.
 
Rayy Horton
INTRO: Rayy Horton, 41, from New Jersey currently residing in Atlanta, GA

OCCUPATION/PERSONAL DESCRIPTION: I studied Visual Communications at the
World Renowned Grambling State University and have been doing
professional graphic design work since 1996. I'm a very simple guy
that really doesn't require much to be happy or should I say content.
I enjoy sports! Playing and watching mostly at my age! Not that I'm
all that old but time really doesn't permit me to participate like
when I was younger.


GROWING UP FAMILY BACKGROUND DESCRIPTION: I'm the youngest of my
mother's children (1 older Brother)! She re-married a few years ago
but had been dating the same man (since divorcing my father in the 7th
grade) whom I consider a very influential and positive male role model
in my life growing up. He had two sons that I also considered my
brothers growing up, both older than I; still making me the baby of
the bunch. My father also got re-married and had two more children and
son and daughter whom I never was very close to only due to the fact
of age difference and geographical location as by that time I had gone
to college and moved out of state! However, I do remain in contact
with them and see them occasionally at family gatherings.

MY FAMILY DESCRIPTION: I am married father of 4 girls (21, 13, 8, 5)
three of which are living with my wife and I who gave birth to the two
youngest. I had my first child while in college at 21 she's now in
college. Years later I met the mother of my 13 year old and we didn't
have a good breakup and I fought tooth and nail to gain custody
finally winning for good when she was 3 and a half years old! The two
youngest girls (by my as I stated earlier) were the only ones that I
was actually present in the delivery room for! Those were an
experience that I truly wished that I had with ALL my kids.

BEST PART ABOUT BEING A DAD: I get asked this question from
time-to-time and typically my response is the same. When I come home
from work and they rush the door and jump in my arms screaming
"DADDY'S HOME!" But since I've changed hours at work I'm the one that
actually picks them up from school so now I guess the best part about
being a dad is being able to kiss them goodnight everyday!

THE MOST SCARY PART OF BEING A DAD: Is NOT being able to get them to
open up when I KNOW something is wrong with them! Mainly that 13 year
old. What frustrates me the most about being a father is knowing that
no matter how well I rear my children it only takes one wayward friend
to have a bad influence on them and foul up all my years of
training/lecturing/teaching/guidance!

FAMILY ROLE: Since I'm the first parent that gets off of work, it's my
responsibility to make get the girls from school, make sure that
homework is being done and cook dinner for them. Besides providing a
financial stability I try and instill a strong sense of self-pride and
self-worth for my girls. Making sure that they know and hear me say on
a daily basis that they are beautiful and smart and very capable of
achieving anything that they are willing to work hard/smart for.

HOW BECOMING A FATHER CHANGED MY LIFE: This one is kind of tricking
for the fact that I've always been a family oriented type of guy.
Always enjoyed being among family and friend extended or not. Being a
father just allowed me to first focus more on my own kids rather than
someone else's.

HOW WOULD MY CHILDREN DESCRIBE ME: I think my kids would describe me
as fair, firm and fun! (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqfbVkC5wF8 )

Listen... I have ALL girls so I'm NOT the disciplinarian in the house!
That role goes to my wife by design. Not to say that I won't
discipline them, it's just in my head I don't want them to grow up
thinking that it is okay for a man to lay hands on them. I really
don't know if this philosophy of mine is gonna translate into the real
world but I pray that it does because I instill in them that it is NOT
okay for a man or anyone to place their hands on them without
permission.

IN CONCLUSION: If I had to rate myself as a dad on a scale from 1-10,
I'd give myself a 9 because although I believe that I'm always there
for my children there is always room for improvement.
Stephen James Llorens, 33
From Chicago, currently in Los Angeles
I enjoy long walks on the beach, singing kumbya while playing the guitar with a sweater around my neck and smoking a pipe wearing a patch elbow jacket, saying pip-pip a lot and watching fancy opera through tiny binoculars while looking down my nose.

Your life's work: Occupation, professional or entrepurnial goals, personal cause or passion, voluteer, hobbies...
I am a freelance writer by trade, my goal is to keep my loved ones joyful and thriving in abundance.
 
Family description:
I am married minus the ceremony and rings, and live with my girl Patricia and our beautiful boisterous three year old baby bear Zoey Denise Llorens.
Best part of being a Dad:
The best part of being a dad is being a dad. I love being there to discover Z's new discoveries with her and seeing the world through her brand new eyes. Even when she does something to upset me I cannot be upset with her. She's my baby, so I can look past her sending emails that read "rrrthfpodddjkzzzxxxx" to my work colleagues or calling random numbers and deleting information from my phone , or peeing on the bathroom throw-rug because she's acting a fool instead of using the potty, or yelling out proudly "daddy daddy look i took my seatbelt off" while I'm switching lanes of traffic on the L.A. 101 freeway, causing me to reach into the backseat with one hand while watching the road and keeping the flow of traffic going while switching from the fast lane across five lanes of traffic to the off-ramp, past
multiple cars that drive like we're in the Indy 500: because she's my baby girl and I loves me some her.

Most scary, surprising, difficult, frustrating part:
Nothing's scary anymore, Zoey has fallen down brick stairs, fallen and rolled on blacktop, popped her wrist out of socket, fallen from the bed to the floor while asleep, hurt her teeth, scraped her knees and just about everything else that comes with being a teenage skateboarder. In short, Zoey could stand in for Jackie Chan with the amount of stunts she's
survived through. I do my best to stay away from the "fear of the future" that comes along with parenting, because i do my best to let her know how strong, capable, loving and independent she is, both inside and outside.
I am buiding up my patience, because I do get frustrated at her inability to "follow instruction"; but at the same time I have to admire and honor her desire to do things on her own and follow her own mind and heart. So I can't get to upset about her wanting to drink out of an adult drinking glass instead of a sippy-cup, even if she does end up wearing most
of her drink than drinking it. Part of the reason I can't be too upset is that proud excited smile that comes across her little face when she says "I did it daddy! I drank it all by myself!"
How becoming a parent has changed you? Or, what you've learned about life, love or yourself since becoming a father?
I have learned more about myself from being a father than I ever knew about myself before becoming a father.
Parenthood offers me some serious insight into what my parents went through when I was a kid. I have become less judgmental of all parents, mine included and have learned to cut myself, my wife and our baby a break, because we're all doing our best; and our best is pretty great.

Your role in the family, how do you fit in? What kind of Father you strive to be, etc?
My role in the family varies and switches, from breadwinner to shopper to spa manager to babysitter to referee to cook. I strive to be the kind of father I have become: the kind of father who is always wiling to listen, and who will do my best to keep those around me on the path they wish to travel, the father who loves unconditionally, feels with his mind and
thinks with his heart.

How would your children describe you?
When we meet people, Zoey often takes it upon herself to make the introduction in her sweet 3-year old voice: "Hi it's me, Zoey. This is my daddy, his name is Stephen" and I wouldn't have it any other way :)
Myron Burney
My name is Myron Burney ‘98 and I am originally from Chadbourn, North Carolina.  I am the proud father of Erin Webb-Burney (14) and Joseph Burney (5).  I am married to Monica Webb-Burney.  My life’s work has always involved young people and their development particularly in high school and college.  I have worked in education my entire professional career and currently I am the Director of Student Success & Outreach for the UNC System which encompasses all 16 public universities in the state of NC.  I spend many hours working with high school and college students on being successful in their academic pursuits.  I also work closely with a nonprofit organization that is focused on developing leadership skills of young people and preparing them for college success.  Although my wife and I have connected to each other for almost 20 years (we grew up in the same area and went to rival high schools) we have only been married for six years.  However, we are family that does most things together.  We take great pride in raising our two children and we are thankful that they do not want for anything.  I imagine like many other families we spend a great deal of time trying to raise respectful and responsible young people with some moral and ethical values. 
The best part of being a dad is being the ideal example everyday of what I want my son to become and the type of guy that I hope my daughter will fall in love with.  My joy comes from their health and happiness.  I am honored to have them as my children and I hope they feel the same way about us as parents.  The scary part of fatherhood is that you cannot protect your children from every situation.  Whether that is your daughters first broken heart or a son being cut from that team that you know he tried so hard to make.  It can be frustrating keeping them humble at times when we give them so much, but we make a conscious effort to not get carried away.  I have always been a high-spirited, energetic, and patient person, but fatherhood is an extreme test of patience.  Most importantly, I have learned that kids sense when things are not in order and they are affected by the actions, attitudes, and behaviors of mom and dad.  So, every day I strive to be a better husband so our home is filled with the spirit, love, and happiness that all kids need in their life.  Although my wife lets me carry the title as head of household, our family dynamic is a team effort.  In order for us to strive, we rely on everyone to do their part.  Whether that is our daughter babysitting at times or entertaining her brother or me taking the kids to school and the wife picking up, it is a group effort.  When it is all said and done, I want to be the father that other young men dream of being.  I want my actions to speak for me and the love I have for my children to be evident in the way I live.
I am certain my children would say I ask a lot of them, but I give them all I have!  I know they would say I act younger than I am because I keep up with the latest music, style, and gossip.  They would also say I am a great coach because I have coached all of their sports teams and I think they would say they have fun with me most of the time.  Finally, they will tell you that I am very confident, I am a believer of God’s word, and if mommy is not happy, then we do not have a happy home!!!!! :-)


6 comments:

donald andrews said...

This was beautiful of you D. Thanks for including me.

Spiritual Ninja said...

Good mix of opinions

E Kim said...

What a great mix of father figures and wisdom. Thanks for doing this!

Ellis Jameson said...

thank you so much for this, Deanna. i am truly grateful to be a part of it. great piece!

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace Myron.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace cousin