My father used to say that it's never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, 'You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’ -- Michael Jordan
What makes a great father? The blueprint is different for everyone and is oftentimes shaped by our own particular life experiences and relationships. However, there are some common things that we can and should look to incorporate into our own unique brand of fatherhood.
I’ve always believed that one key aspect of being a good father is to be present with your children. Many of us are busy in our day-to-day lives but “unplugging” from the world and giving our whole self to our children is critically important to their maturation and growth. I struggle with this sometimes but I continue to be a work in progress on getting better...and I am thankful that my three children afford me the room to grow with them.
That alone, your presence and demonstrating your care — unbridled affection — is important. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, and with children, it can leave emotional scars that last forever.
We have much to learn from our fathers, who serve as our role models. They are our best examples of how we should act as dads. One of the great lessons I learned from my own father was that in order to make your kids know that you care, you had to show that you really do. Not just about the big things they go through but also the little ones. Being present in all aspects of your kid’s lives builds a bind of trust that time can never sever.
If you had the misfortune of not having a dad in your life, don’t fret. Learn as you go, ask other dads if questions confound you. Finally, if you address the issues that you must confront, doing so will build your confidence and demonstrate stability in your own life. It will rub off on your children, who will notice.
Beyond advice, there is also a practical “do it” approach, that is a passageway to better fatherhood. It calls upon all of us as men to uplift and encourage one another in the pursuit of making each other better fathers. I, in partnership with Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, UIH Family Partners, Rowan College Burlington County and the Magnificent Men Mentoring Group are sponsoring a free event titled “Pathways to Success: A Seminar for Men” on June 22, at Rowan College’s Burlington College, Votta Hall, Mt. Laurel.
We have worked collaboratively with our community and academic partners in creating this free event, which promises helpful “first steps” in the pursuit of making us all better and more productive men in our communities. I believe that this event is vital for our growth as men, though we all recognize that there isn’t a magic formula to achieving that goal. However, this event is constructed to give everyone who attends a boost in that right direction. Five workshops will be offered including:
- How to start or grow a small business.
- Get the job you want.
- Know your legal rights.
- Financial planning and money management.
- Conversation on fatherhood and parenting.
At the conclusion of this event, attendees will have access to the “Dress 2 Impress” closet, which allows participants to select a like-new suit if desired. I am grateful for all of the donations we received for this portion of the program. The overwhelming generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me when the call goes out to help others in need.
This free event runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and includes a free breakfast. Please join us for a learning and networking experience. For more information and to enroll visit: https://www.senatorsingleton.com/mens_workshop2019
Lastly, on the government side I have reintroduced my proposal, Senate No. 2619, which establishes a New Jersey Council on Responsible Fatherhood and Responsible Fatherhood Fund. The purpose of this bill is to identify the needs and priorities related to fatherhood programs in the state, promote the participation of both parents in the lives of their children, and support the contribution each parent brings to the family unit.
This bill is an investment in individuals and communities. What we lose by having absent fathers is a price their innocent children and our communities pay. That’s why this legislation is worth your support.
My father always said to me that you don’t always get to live your dreams, but you must live your responsibilities. That is our charge..... to be responsible and accountable to those who depend upon us. So, Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there. I hope you have a restful and joyous weekend.
That’s my take, what’s yours?