What makes a man a good father? It's not what he can buy you or how much child support he pays. It's not how many things he lets you get away with. It has nothing to do with education, status, or his IQ. Character, presence, accountability, and respect and love make a good father to me. You have to try and be there for everything. I lived in my father's house for more than 20 years. Every single day when I woke up in the morning he was there in his room. There was nothing good or bad that my siblings and me went through that he didn't participate in. He went to dance recitals, football games, awards dinners, report card conferences and anything else. He played with baby dolls, washed his daughters hair and even played Power Rangers with my baby brother. He's all man but he has never been afraid to show his tender side when it was needed. I cannot think of one single time that he was not there for me. Actually, there have been times where I may have needed him and didn't call because I knew he would disrupt his whole schedule trying to get there.
Every mother and father is not going to get along like my parents do. I understand that sometimes men and women have to be apart for the benefit of everybody; living in another place has nothing to do with how much effort you put into being a dad. I honestly don't know how brothers can walk around and not know what’s going on with their kids. Being there for them is a true test of manhood because it means that you have to love them so much that you are willing to do whatever it takes to give them what they need and expect nothing in return. That's a real man above all the romantic images we praise these days. Real men just do what they have to do and don't look for acknowledgment. The best you could hope for is to be like my grandfather and get treated like a king by your kids and all of their kids until your last day. He got to live his payoff. Even if you don't get that it doesn't matter. You have to be there anyway. That's the kind of men I come from. I hope to be in their league one day. The things your kids take from the time they have spent with you will always last much longer than your monthly payment. I never miss the days when I wasn't a father.
Yesterday I was at the park working out. There was a guy there with his son standing on the bridge looking at the ducks feeding. His son may have been about 4 or 5 years old. I am not sure exactly what the topic of the conversation was but I could tell that his daddy was using the ducks as a metaphor for whatever it was he was trying to tell the young brother. I remember being a little boy and having those kind of conversations with my dad and sometimes with my grandfather. That little boy was probably thinking to himself "Why is this man telling this?” I used to think the same thing all the time. His dad understood. He knows that 20 years from now his son may be in a situation related to whatever the topic was yesterday. He's going to be sitting around thinking about what he should do to make it right and that's when the lesson with the ducks he heard from his dad that day in 2006 is going to pop into his head. He might even find himself quoting that kind of stuff all the time to other people that need some advice. That's what being a good daddy is all about.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO CLIFTON JOSEPH HARRIS SR. AND ALL THE OTHER MEN IN MY LIFE WHO HAVE EVER GIVEN ME ANYTHING POSITIVE TO USE IN LIFE.
Anybody out there who has a man or men that helped them be who they are, show him some love.