One of my earliest childhood memories of my father is of him cooking me and my sisters dinner. He’d make pounded yam, okra soup, and stew (A Nigerian dish) and then we’d sit at the dinner table and eat. This is a meal I now eat with my son at least once a week.
Anyone who has been blessed enough to have a present father knows the indelible mark they leave on our memories and in our hearts.
Sometimes the deadbeat dad rhetoric overshadows the integral work that present fathers are doing to raise well-rounded children. We all know dads are fundamental to every child, but if you look at data from the book Engaged Fatherhood for Men, Families, and Gender Equality, you can see exactly how important they are.
- Newborns who receive skin-to-skin contact from their dads were found to cry less and became drowsy quicker
- Kids who had involved fathers during infancy had fewer mental health issues at the age of 9 than fathers who had less involvement
- Positive father-child relationships can reduce the probability of adolescents engaging in risky behavior
- Research shows a correlation between a father’s involvement and a child’s cognitive development
- Positive father-child relationships could reduce the likelihood of behavioral problems in adolescent boys and psychological challenges in adolescent girls
These are just a few reasons why dads are important, but there are so many more. We need as many fixers, bear huggers, protectors, play fighters, mentors, and lovers for our children as possible. To the biological dads, father figures, single fathers, stepfathers, and everything in-between, we celebrate you this Father’s Day.
Here are a few dads telling us what they love most about the role they have in the lives of their children.
Deon Williams, Gainesville (GA) – “I love the sound of the word ‘daddy’ and all the responsibilities that come with it. I love the cry of the word ‘daddy’ and all of the pain that comes with it. I love the sound of the word ‘daddy’ and all the fun that comes with it. I love the sound of the word ‘daddy’ and everything that’s going to come with it.”
Terrell Smith, Northport (AL) – “I love the excitement my kids get when I come home from work. Teaching them new things and the moment when it clicks in them. Knowing that they look to me for their protection. Giving them advice, helping with homework and just looking at them smiling, saying to myself, ‘I made them.'”
Philippe Attié, Hallandale (FL) – “My answer might sound silly, but one thing I really like about being a dad is for me and my son to play with toys that I’ve always wanted for myself when I was a kid but couldn’t get mainly because such toys weren’t available in Haiti where I grew up. Sometimes my mom asks me if these Christmas gifts are really for my son or for me.”
Ron Riley, Dallas Fort Worth (TX) – “I love when the kids come to me saying ‘daddy’ when they are wanting to find something or wanting something fixed and I am able to help them. They get so excited that daddy fixed it or found what they were looking for! Another thing I love is being able to ‘surprise’ my kids with little things that just make them so excited. It always reminds me of God’s love for all of us and how he blesses us just because!”
Joe Parker, McCalla (AL) – “There’s so much to love about being a dad, but what stands out for me is how much my kids love that I’m their dad. To see how they light up and enjoy every bit of my time and attention gives me all I need to know. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I love being a dad because it’s their smiles, peace and joy that makes my sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears so worth it.”
Isaac Geralds, Crofton (Maryland) – “The one thing I love about being a dad is just seeing my boys depend on me for things, and honestly it’s the little things like ‘daddy can you please open my chips?’ or ‘daddy can you please push me on the swing?’ It makes me really happy.”
Claude Lake, Northport (AL) – “I love being a dad because I was also fathered by my dad, and he showed me what a support system should look like despite his faults, imperfections, and shortcomings. It is the greatest gift, honor, and challenge any man can receive.”
Ben Smith III, Miami (FL) – “One thing I love about being a father would be the ‘journey’ of fatherhood. This journey of fatherhood teaches you things about yourself that you never knew or thought you were capable of. For example, I was raised by my stepfather, I watched his every move and he taught me valuable lessons that shaped me into the man that I am today. Even though I was fortunate to have a great example of a man in my life, I am thankful for him stepping up to the plate and it motivates me to never want my children to be raised by another man. Everything that you go through and experience in life prepares you to be the man that your children will depend on and look up to. As a father of two girls and a boy, I want to show them that a man can be a provider not only financially but emotionally as well and to always respect yourself and demand respect from others. Every day is a teaching moment and I strive to be one percent better every day. I look forward to the day where I can share my life experiences with my children and pass on the knowledge that I’ve obtained.”