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My failures as a father

It is a few days after Father’s Day.

Today I have failed my son Brandon as a dad and I feel bad about it.

I took my son to the barber, because he wanted a different hair style. Yet, he stepped from the barbers chair with the same style he walked in with although it was a little neater. I should have been more assertive and told the barber what the boy wanted.

But I want the boy to fend for himself, to communicate what he wants in life on his own. That did not happen today and I stood by and watched it happen. The burden is on me. A dad needs to take charge.

The boy is 6-foot-3 and is 17 years old. He cannot play basketball or baseball. That’s on me also. I worked two jobs for most of my life and was never home for the prime time sports time between a son and his dad to learn how to hit through a baseball and not pop it up, how to do a drop step in basketball and how to block out.

I wasn’t even there many weekends. I was often out of town and sometimes exhausted on a Saturday morning or afternoon when I was in town. He instead played soccer, a sport that I never believed suited him well.

I always felt like I needed to chase the next big story or radio show. I put job ahead of family.

He should have been honing his skills in basketball or baseball.

I have not ignored the boy for 17 years. I am his writing coach and sometimes life coach. He has a big heart and treats people with respect. Brandon loves to work with those less fortunate and even coached developmentally challenged kids in soccer. He works hard in school and his goal is to attend Michigan State University. I wanted both of my children to have a better chance at making it in life than I did.

That part has been a success. He lives in a neighborhood where he is not chased by thugs trying to steal his money as I was. He does not have to mingle with drug dealers, numbers runners and just bad ass duded as I did.

He’s thought about college way before I did. Nobody went to college in my family when I was younger and I just thought that was the way life was for inner city kids. But good friends began to show me a path toward higher education and I graduated from Central Michigan University after four years.

My best gifts on Father’s Day were not the cards or lunch. It was the notes I received from my children Celine and Brandon.  Celine said she learned work ethic and how to write because of me.

Brandon said I have taught him a lot about how life works and he appreciates the time we spend together.

The words meant a lot. They were appreciated by the old man.

I just feel like I must do more.

 

 

 

 

 

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The small things make for a great Father’s Day

dime storeI grew tired of watching my shiny bald head in the mirror when I worked out in the morning at my health club. So I bought a couple of bandanas to wrap around my head.

The other day I drove to a graduation party in Detroit with my wife Abs. My children Brandon and Celine drove separately. Afterwards, Abs said she knew a cool place that sold bandanas of every color and design for my shiny, bald head. She suggested we stop there so she could buy a couple for me for Fathers Day.

We drove into the parking lot and were surprised to see Brandon walking toward us demanding that we get out of there as quickly as possible. Celine shopped for bandanas inside. We took off so we would not spoil the surprise.

I was thrilled that my family thought about me.

But that wasn’t the best part about Fathers Day. Celine wanted to hold my hand as we walked inside the Chrysler House for an hour long wait to enjoy brunch at The Dime Store. When I went for a walk downtown in the heat Brandon insisted on going with me, so we could visit without the ladies and talk.

We went to Avalon Bakery, Under Armor and a couple other shops before making it back to the Dime Store.

The gang bought me a flowered shirt that drew two compliments in one day and some shorts and T shirts. The gifts were not the best part of the day.

I received love and that meant more than anything. Celine wanted to hold hands and Brandon wanted to spend a few minutes alone with dad. Those are special moments that might sound corny to non dads, but I really appreciated it.

When I was young one of my goals was to make life better for my children than it was for me. We are on our way. Celine completed her freshman year at Stanford University,  made the deans list, is an officer in a women’s business group and is president of the sophomore class. Brandon carries a B averaged in high school and has his eye on helping children when he is an adult.

I am proud of both of them.

It is important for men to be good husbands. I believe it is even more important to be a great dad.

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