This Father’s Day, I am feeling uncharacteristically sentimental. Call it hormones if you will, but I appreciate real men and real fathers today. Instead of spending time blasting the sorry dad’s that “don’t…”, I want to thank the dads that “do…”. In a world where fathers routinely eschew their responsibilities, I am proud to be a part of a generation that is turning a tide that has been churned in the direction of neglectful and unconcerned fatherhood. The examples of fatherhood in our culture over the last 20+ years have left me unimpressed, underwhelmed and dismayed at the prospects for the future. So abysmal has been the performance of the most recent crop of fathers that a person might be hard pressed to rattle off 5 the names of Admirable Dads. But today, I can say with smug satisfaction that if challenged, I could name 20 men off the top of my head who are true fathers – and real men.
It takes more than sweet words and a quick skeet in the sheets to make you a Father. Even dogs can do that. What defines a real man (in my humble estimation at least) is not only his character outside the home, but if his wife (or baby momma) and children would say that character is matched inside the home as well. The men I wish to salute today are part of a new generation of Fathers, who recognize that fatherhood like all things, must adapt with times. They are willing and open to change, and do so with quiet dignity, stern pragmatism or boisterous laughter. They know that being a dad is much more than bringing home a paycheck. It’s also walking in the door and checking to see if Junior’s diaper is dirty as well. These are the men who know that how they treat the mothers of their children (whether they are married to them or not) is not only a reflection on them, but a lesson to their sons and daughters as well. These are the men who do not have to proclaim “I am a good man!”. A good man’s actions will ALWAYS speak on his behalf and there will be legions to declare his goodness long after he’s dead and gone. Today’s Father knows that this title is one that is earned, as well as the respect and honor that comes along with it.
Oh heck. Let me get to it. These are the dads I want to salute and why. I hope they will forgive me for putting them on blast:
To Nii Hesse, who loves his bride with unflinching conviction and a purity that is hardly seen these days. That love is shone in his daughter’s eyes and will no doubt be evident in his new baby to come.
To Carlos Sackitey, who is easy to smile and quick to laughter. Whose daughter inherited the twinkle in his eye and his son his contemplative gaze.
To Peter Mburu, a new dad whose daughter’s glory must indeed be so glorious that his Facebook family is not permitted to see her. Yes! Shield her from the world under you are ready to reveal the leader that you are training up. She has a true example of quiet dedication and leadership in her father.
To Mike Hamann, who traverses the globe to provide for his wife baby girl. Who hops off a plane and hops into the kitchen to feed his family. I can’t say enough about this dude. He makes the best asparagus…ever.
To Chris Jones, who has ruined his wife with his lavish affection and teaches his sons humility, grace and hard work. May all boys grow up to be like yours.
To Senyo A, who looks into the face of his 2 week old daughter and sees her virtue and talent already.
To Amewoke Adamaley, who left his heart in Minnesota and went all the way to China to pursue a higher education so that he could be and do more for his little girl. Though it’s painful now, at least you can teach her how to make great fried rice when all is said and done!
To Earl Myers, who has no fear of letting his sons fail, knowing that the lessons of failure will lead them to success. He is the only Black man I know who willingly lets his Black son ice skate. He is a man who does not ascribe to the notion that “Black people don’t do dat” (whatever ‘dat’ may be). Thank for exposing your boys to more than what the world says is “acceptable” for them.
Hmmm!!! To Ben Afeku, who just learned that just because your baby is an angel at home does not mean you can take an 11 month old to go see Iron Man 2 and expect her to sit in silence! Your confidence in the little one is to be admired. More lessons are to come my friend.
To Jason Boone, whose perpetual furrowed brow and hard gaze I have only seen soften as roams the halls with his brand new baby girl.
To Big Stu! – The cop with guns on his biceps and guns on his waist. Who will absolutely destroy your life if you look at his baby girl cross-eyed.
To Edwin Joseph, who has kept his family afloat in these trying times. Who has managed to maintain their same standard of living by having the foresight to plan and save for the future – A man who has an unwavering love and dedication to God, and is a friend to everyone. I’ve only known you a short while, but you’re a good man!
To Arnold Murray, who comes home from work everyday, glides through the door, commands sudden silence from his rowdy (5? 7? 12?) kids and asks only for some fried chicken wings for his trouble.
And rounding out the list is my own hubby, Marshall Grant. What a man! He has managed to instill gratitude in his children while still spoiling them; gets his point across with quiet authority; shown himself consistent and dependable to both his wife and his kids; and has earned every ear-piercing “Yay!!! DADDY’S home!!” when he lumbers through. He’s gone through heaven and hell living with this cantankerous hybrid Ghanaian woman, and I’m glad on this Father’s Day, he’s sacrificing his Daddy time so that I have time to write this post.
To these and all amazing dads, I salute you! Know that today, you are much loved and appreciated. Now go enjoy some chicken or cake.