When I was 14, I found myself thinking about the definitions of father and dad. While I may use the two terms interchangeably, I find “dad” or “daddy” to be more personal for me. In 2005, I wrote a letter to my dad explaining my distinction between a father and a dad. In my eyes, a child created the word dad. It is a call of love. Anyone could be a father, but all father’s aren’t dads. Here’s my letter:
A dad is with a child from beginning to the end. He will support and love that child no matter what they choose to do in life.
A dad is a protector. His family is his world and if evil comes their way, he will be their Superman.
A dad is an architect. When it’s time for his child to build projects, he will immediately get his tools out, and help his child construct.
A dad is a teacher. He teaches that child about life. What to do and what not to do.
A dad is a role model. From a young child’s viewpoint, their dad is a strong and great man. And whether that child is a boy or a girl, they are amazed by his mighty presence.
A dad is the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause. When a young child comes down Christmas morning, she is stunned by mountains of toys. She thinks, “Wow, Santa got everything on my wish list!” But as that child grows up and the jolly Santa image slowly dwindles to a mere fairy tale, that child realizes it was dad that answered the wish list. It was dad that ate the cookies and drank the milk.
A dad is a preacher. While growing up a child will make mistakes and the dad will be there to talk about the child’s problems. He will preach what’s right.
A dad is a king. He is the ruler of the household. What he say goes.
A dad is a friend. He could hang with his kids, joke with his kids, and just have fun. Why? Cause he’s cool like that.
These definitions are everything that my dad has been to me and my brother. We are blessed to have him as a father, but I thank God even more because he is my dad. In celebration of Father’s Day, I am including two awesome projects about fatherhood, particularly in the black community. There’s an unfortunate stereotype, and for some, a reality about absent black fathers. We do not see enough positive images of black fatherhood, which is why I am in love with Sabrina Thompson’s online campaign to show fatherhood in a different light. Check it out below.
The Social Series: Fatherhood is…
Learn more about this project and the wonderful families portrayed in the project here.
There is also The Black Fatherhood Project, created by Portland filmmaker, Jordan Thierry. Jordan comes from a family with strong lines of patronage; however he understands that many children in the African American community are fatherless. In a journey to find out how this came to be, Jordan tells the story of the fathers in his family, interviews black fathers in the community, and researches historical evidence of fatherhood in Black America. The film is available to watch in its entirety online. Check it out below. Also, learn more about Jordan’s work in empowering men of color here.
To all the dads, especially my own, Happy Father’s Day!!!