More Than One Way to Be a Father

JGoode | 6/17/2010, 5:27 p.m.
Being a father is not easy. Although I don’t have any experience in the area, I have had the pleasure ...

My first father is God, my heavenly father, the ultimate example of a perfect father who showers unconditional love on me and all of His children. He sent his only begotten son to die for my sins so that I may have eternal life. Next, is my earthly biological father, Lestine Goode. Even though he is a country boy straight from El Campo, TX ,he has helped to mold and provide me with some big city luxuries. Besides material things he has given me love and support throughout my life for which I am truly grateful. The next two important father figures in my life are no longer with us. They are my grandfather, Willie Calvin Maddox, and my godfather, Edmund Pate. One was always good for a laugh while the other had a direct line to God which proved to be essential in providing guidance in my life. I love and miss them both. The last category of father figures are men who are neither my heavenly nor biological father but they have been instrumental in demonstrating fatherhood qualities to me. I dare not list any names here in fear of omitting one of them, but trust me when I say they know who they are. Needless to say, not all men who sire children are simply “baby daddies” or sperm donors; some are real men who love and care for their progenies, and I have seen a lot of these beloved fathers in action.

Fathers are the guys who will talk goo goo gah gah gibberish on the phone to their babies while they are in the manly weight lifting section of the gym in front of a gaggle of manly men just to generate a smile on the faces of the babies. They are ones who after a long, hard day at work will play catch with their son to perfect his pitch for the little league team. They are ones who put fear in the minds of boys who come to date their daughters. They are the ones who hold back tears when either their son or daughter graduates from high school and college. They may seem to be in the background, but all the while they are in the forefront providing a better life for the entire family. They are the ones who actively participate in the lives of their children.

There are some very significant men who not only father children but also father events. State Representative Al Edwards is one such man, the father of Juneteenth. Over 100 years ago when black people were bound by the chains of slavery, General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 in Galveston, TX in June of 1865, stating "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection providing a better life for their families heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."