“For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”-Genesis 18:19
We as women have concentrated on & acknowledged the involvement of our mothers in our lives. The way that they raise us, their strength, & devotion to their roles as mothers have made some of the best books, movies, & inspiration. But sometimes we do not talk about the men in our lives: our fathers. The very men who are our first love, fathers have a huge impact on the way that we love, & how we shape our own love life.
With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. As well as how many fathers are involved with their children: 43% of US children live without their father, says the US Department of Census.
Alex Seay, a father to Dria & Aubrie, disagrees with this statistic, “9 times out of 10 a girl from a 1 parent household (Mother) may flourish the same way that a 2 parent household girl may flourish because she is trying to prove society wrong, or vice versa may just let life overtake them. If a father is present I feel as if a girl/woman has more of an advantage of learning skills/qualities from both parents which would be a huge help later in life, dealing with similar situations.”
However, not every father or father-to-be falls in this spectrum. Oronde Vassell who is a father-to-be with twins on the way, says that his father’s presence shaped the way that he hopes to be. ” In the past, my father was my role model, one I looked up to and admired by his discipline and how he treated my mother. His emphasis on family and structure was prominent in the household. When the lights went out, there was no question a candlelight dinner was being prepared and the safety was evident by his sense of humor through it all. That sense of security and stability is what I will hope to emulate.”
Father of two daughters, Alex Seay, treasures fatherhood because he never thought that he would be able to have this role, “Being a father is a special job to me that I take very seriously. When I was younger I was diagnosed with 2 forms of Lymphoma and was told I would never have the chance to father children. To my surprise, after I cleared treatment I actually was still able (after a few tests were performed for sterility), and I attribute that all to God’s grace because he knew I needed/wanted my children for a complete life. In so many words I give 110% to my children because it could have just as easily went the other direction.”
That moment when a man realizes that he will become a father (& having a daughter!), sometimes he doesn’t comprehend the importance of their role in their life. Eugene Collins, father to a 7-year-old who loves Aretha Franklin and rock ‘n roll Malleah, says, “As men, we don’t do enough. I didn’t understand how important it is for a man to be in their life. Daughters need their father more.” Once his daughter was born, he accepted the challenge, “Daughters tend to challenge you-the way that you think, listen to, the way you move. Girls want to dig in and want to know what’s going on, why it’s going on, and why that person is around.”
Javon Jenkins, a father to 2-year-old Ezra, agrees, saying that he wants to have an honest relationship with his daughter without breaking her innocence, “I don’t want her to date a guy like me when I was 19-24 years old. I want to think of her as an individual instead of just being a child.”
For Vassell, he feels the weight of his presence in his twin daughters’ lives, ” I want my daughters to have the understanding that the world can be a strange and unforgiving place if you are not prepared for it, so I hope to dedicate as much of my time to mold them and mentor them as much as I can as a Dad to have their eyes open as they step out into the world.”
For the men who have the gift of being a role model to a little girl, we say to hold that title with dignity & love, for you are shaping a strong woman’s life.