As I recently read President Obama's remarks on addressing the issue of fatherlessness in our country, I was emboldened by the attention he brought to this critical issue. Fatherlessness is a growing crisis in our country and our state. It is an issue that can form the foundation of many of the challenges that families in every population segment of our state may face. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to start a statewide dialogue on this issue, and address its root causes....and to mitigate its negative impact upon our society.
How has fatherhood changed your life?
Being a father has taught me selflessness and love on a level unmatched by anything in my life. It has made me more conscious of the fact that there are some things in life worth dying for...in fact three very special things.
The hardest moment I had being a father was becoming a father at a young age, just out of college. I was scared and nervous but with a strong family support system and faith in God we made out ok.
What is the most important thing you've learned from your father?
That it's a 24-7 responsibility.
What are some of your goals as a father?
To ensure that my children are happy, healthy and go on to become productive members of society.
I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the single mothers who have worn the hats of both Mom and Dad for their families. You are doing a heroic job under what can be difficult circumstances, but you shouldn’t have to walk this road alone. The often quoted proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child” underscores that this important job cannot be borne on the shoulders of just one parent or one family alone…it is a shared responsibility that we all must embrace.
Being a father to my three children: Jalen, Isabel and TJ is the most important job I have ever had in my life. At the same time, having members of my family grow up without a father in their lives, helped me to understand firsthand the holes that fathers leave in their families when they are absent. I believe that we have to send a strong message about personal responsibility while supporting fathers who want to be there for their kids, even while facing challenges in their lives. While no one can legislate fatherhood, we must work to ensure that fathers are able to accept and live up to their responsibilities as parents.
Do you know a great father? Tell us about him in the comments below.
Are you a mentor or know of a successful mentorship program in New Jersey? Tell us about your experience or the program in the comments below.