It’s OK to Celebrate Dads (Part IV)

It’s OK to Celebrate Dads (Part IV)

A Generation of Fathers

I’m an 80’s kids.  The 80’s and 90’s, for a number of different reasons, seem to have been a turning point where fatherhood began to decline tremendously, especially in urban areas and communities of color.  The war on drugs, mass incarceration, even certain welfare reforms led to remarkable changes to the family structure, as more and more fathers found themselves either locked up and/or separated from their families.  I was one of countless young men who grew up without their dads, having to navigate those early years without the guiding hand of their father.  I fear that the negative effects of this won’t be fully understood for many decades to come!

Even with that being the case, I see a growing trend that gives me great hope.  Many young men who grew up without the strong hand of their fathers have grown up and are now making pledges to reverse this debilitating trend.  Nearly every one of my friends is a young, active, ambitious dad.  The others are young husbands with real dreams of someday becoming dads that are present, active, and involved.  We have ongoing conversations about raising our kids together, as an extended family.  We dream about our kids playing sports together and bringing championships to the city.  We mentor and counsel other teens and young adults, giving them a vision for the day when they will become husbands and fathers.  My friends and I are working to exponentially increase the number of good fathers.  We’re serious about legacy, not just for our families, but for so many others that cross our paths.  We really are working to raise up a generations of “good dudes,” as my buddy Jesse often says!

It’s Not About Me…It’s About You

I get teased from time to time about my passion for fathers.  Some wonder if I’m being a little self-serving. I’m a good sport about it…often it comes from one of my sisters and I give them that privilege of ragging on me! In the end, though, I remind them that what’s good for the father is, ultimately, good for the family. A good father is a blessing to his family, his community, his city.  My passion is to see my city saturated with good fathers, men who are present, active, engaged, and….celebrated! I think raising up good fathers is one of the secrets to transforming our communities!

So go for it…let’s do a better job of celebrating dads and watch what happens.  Maybe one day, the norm will be that children will be able to celebrate their dads like this young brother, Joseph, does in a poem called Words for My Father. You’ll find it at the end of this post.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here now: Much of what we believe about God is impacted by what we saw in our earthly father.

May we build a generation  of fathers who will represent Our Father well!

 

7 comments

  1. Rachel Schwenke

    Love hearing about the community of young dads who are giving it their all! This is changing the next generation! I love it when my husband comes home from hanging with a friend and tells me they talked about fathering and how to be better men for their children. As a mom, I work to find ways to lift up his leadership and influence. That means putting his name first on school contact forms, so they don’t default to calling the mom. It means letting him make choices as to how we parent. It’s awesome seeing a good dad in action!

    • Absolutely, Rachel…thanks for sharing. The school form example is a great illustration that I’ll pass along to others!

      Many blessings on you and your family…Give James and the girls my best!

  2. Laramie White

    Great work my Brother. Growing up I lived in a community where all the families had two parents in the early 60’s and 70’s. we were raised by all the parents on our block. I knew that if I got in trouble at Mrs. Johnson’s house, she would whoop me and then tell my mom’s what I did for another whooping at home. Looking back now that I’m older we learned to respect our elders from all these parents raising us.

    My children were blessed to have both set of grandparents living in the same city. We would send them home to Gary each summer for six weeks to stay with our parents. I learned how to be a better father and man by having my dad and father in law set the example for me.

    Thanks
    Laramie White

    • Thanks, Bro. Laramie!

      There’s definitely something valuable about raising kids in community, having a network of adults sharing in shaping kids. That has been lost in many places and we see the effects everywhere. Perhaps we can reclaim it before it’s too late.

      I’m optimistic based on what I see from a lot of young families who seem to be intentionally doing things differently than their parents did. It’s very important that we get this right!

  3. Terry Austin

    Edrin, I love this article, I’ve been working hard to bring Fathers and Responsible men together to Celebrate Father’s Day Weekend for the past 5 years, I truly appreciate your commitment and passion for helping young dads and helping build a stronger community of fathers, I would like to further this conversation and work together to help build a strong community for our children.. Please give me a call..

    Thanks,

    Terry Austin
    Positive Image
    612-239-4823
    positiveimageta@gmail.com

    • Terry – you’re one of my heroes in Minneapolis for your work at Positive Image. You’re personifying the spirit of this post in the way that you’re unashamed to say fatherhood is important and that we should celebrate men who are handling the responsibility well.

      I’d love to get together and figure out ways to work together – celebrating dads and setting a high bar for the next wave of brothers.

      Thanks for your leadership, sir!

Leave a Reply