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Sunday, June 15, 2014

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


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 

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

Business Consultant, President and Founder of For Husbands Only (@ForHusbandsOnly,

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. 

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

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

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'."

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
A lover of life, people and all the joys wealth brings. 

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.