What, Exactly, Do Fathers Provide?

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A few weeks ago, a discussion around fathers as providers became a topic for deliberation in our fatherhood group.  And, the conversation was nothing short of spectacular! Who knew that guys have more things to talk about then women, cars, and sports? As someone, who sits with fathers on a daily basis sharing in their lived experiences as fathers, I’ve been privy to this phenomenon for some time.

When this conversation comes up; usually, the typical response for fathers around provision comes down to money for shelter and other basic needs. Granted those things are very important for the family’s well being.  They are not the most important thing, that the dad brings to the proverbial table.  If not, then what is it?

Why is provider, consistently, mentioned before any other traits to describe his role? As fathers, we’re hard-wired for doing.  We constantly measure for progress and success to show that our doing is working in our favor. When we meet someone new, we quickly ask the following question: “What do you do?”  It’s followed up with “I am a … (insert some occupation).”  More often that not, it doesn’t lead to anything of significance for further discussion.

Often times, we’re engaging in doing something that we don’t like for the sole purpose of taking care of our family. It might be stealing our joy or time with our family, but we do it with little thought of the consequence or toll on our love ones. One thing I know this to be true is  when I put my energy in places that it shouldn’t be, operating at my best is not possible.  It’s a disservice to my well being. 

As fathers, our children need us to be at our best for them.  More importantly, they need us to be the best for ourselves. When he’s the best version of himself, he’s providing his children with so much more than basic needs.  He’s providing them with everything that they need, which is a healthy, whole father loving himself for the sake of his family. Now, he’s giving from a completely different place. He’s giving from his heart, which was designed for unconditionally loving his family. He’s providing vision for the most important people entrusted to him.  Ultimately, it will outlast the money for physical shelter and basic needs.  This love is the building block for his legacy!  When it’s all said and done, his family will have an accurate account of what he has done with his life. 

What vision do you have for your family?  What legacy do you want to leave? Fill free to comment below.

No Words!

This morning, I woke to the news of the shooting that took place in Thousand Oaks, California. And, immediately, I knew that this tragedy will start yet another discussion on the reasons for or against stricter gun laws. Truth be told! I’m sick of the insensitivity of both sides of the argument.

People are mourning over the loss of loved ones, while our country takes up their banner to promote their belief system. Let’s step down off of our moral high ground to show honor and respect for those, who are grieving.

No Words!

If you saw and heard the father of one of the victims, you would realize that there’s a time and a place for everything. As a father, the devastation in his voice touched me deeply! I can’t begin to imagine, what he might be feeling, as he processes the lost of his first born son.


After watching the video on my timeline, I thought about my own children as they lay peacefully in their beds.  Doing life with a two- and a four- year old is tiring and crazy! But, that’s what I signed up for as their father.  God forbid that someone would take that away from me.

As a father, I want the ABSOLUTE best for my children. Why? Because, they are a part of me.  I give my all to protecting my children from the demons of this world. And, this father has been stripped of his role of protector of his son’s well being. His heart has been ripped into peace like skin, that was penetrated by bullets.  It’s been trampled like many of the individuals, who laid on the floor as the the shoots rang through that little bar.  Think on that for a minute before you carry on with the gun control debate.

Hopefully, speechless has become a part of your arsenal to help heal a hurting community and Nation. Please…No more Words! Unless, you have words of encouragement to offer.  As I finish clicking the keys on this laptop, I’ll get up and place gentle kisses on their heads. I’ll whisper these words into their ears: YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU! I’ll pray for those, who have been directly and indirectly impacted by this tragedy.

Why? Simply put!  We need to recognize that life and death resides in the power of the tongue.  The time will come to make your voice heard loud and clear.  However, I believe that the time has come to be still.

It’s time for…No Words!

sunset person love people
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I Tell You What!!!

If you haven’t heard it, let me be the first to tell you that marriage and parenting are AWESOME. However, they require a lot of work. If you’re not committed to putting in the work, then you might as well not embark on the journey.

Case in point!

My wife and I have been fighting an uphill battle with getting our toddler to sleep. She’s approaching three years of age, and one would think that she’s never had a sleep routine. And, she does.  However, she’s determined to make the routine work in her favor.

Every day for as long as I can remember, we put her in her bed. She gets up. We put her back in the bed. She gets up. And, the same song and dance goes on and on until she falls asleep hours after putting her into her room.

We make the room comfortable for her. We make sure that she has music. We. We. We are putting in a lot of effort. But, the result on most nights is the same.

So, I decided to try something different. I set the firm boundary as directed in some parenting material on bedtime. However, I didn’t give the memo to her mother. Well, I did leave the material on the table. But, I didn’t let her know that I was prepared to use it.

What transpired next is that the failure to communicate led to a breakdown in further communication between my wife and I. Uh oh! How exactly did that happen? I’m so glad that you asked.

Well, I’m the firm one. My wife is firm in her own way. And, our daughter is very aware of this dynamic.  After I set my firm boundary, which worked for quite some time until her mother arose from her studies. We found ourselves back at square one.  This time, I decided that I was no longer a participant in the song and dance. I exited stage left. As I left, I stated that the two of them would have to decided who was going to be the boss without my input.  That’s not a direct quote. But, something to that effect.

No harm! No foul! Or, so I thought!

My loving wife, who hadn’t been very firm with our child, became firm with her loving husband.  Uh oh!

Now, we’re communicating. For the record, we weren’t cussing and yelling and screaming. However, the short conversation was very unproductive. Which means I went in my room and she continued putting the child to sleep.  (You notice she went from my daughter to the child…right?)

In our frustration, we left it alone until the morning. Tension continues growing. And, everyone is in a bad mood. No one is courageous enough to put pride aside and talk to the other, and we let it fester.  After the kids get out of the car for school, we attempt to have an assertive conversation about the previous night. Attempt. Both, still, in our feelings about the other’s actions makes it difficult to understand the other’s position. But, we tried and failed!

Eventually, we made it back on to the same page. It took the distance and time created by the work day. By the end of the day, we had grown tired of being frustrated and angry with each other. We gave the other the benefit of the doubt. We were able to, adequately, express our position and own our part in the situation.

So, It wasn’t my intention to hurt her feelings. It wasn’t her intention to hurt mine. Despite our intentions, we didn’t Speak Life into our situation.  We allowed the song and dance of the bedtime routine to uncover our vulnerabilities as parents!  And, I tell you what…

I’m glad that we did! Now, we’re a more united front in this thing called marriage and parenthood.

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Fatherhood is Important!

The thought of not being able to see my children for an extended period of time is unfathomable to me.  Yet in this country, there are 19.7 million children living without a father in the home according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau.  This figure is down from 25.4 million children a few years ago.  But, it’s still unacceptable!  If it doesn’t upset you, then you must not understand the importance of fathers to their families.

When we look at the impact of a father’s absence, we see how lives are touched in a negative way. Check out the info graph created by the National Fatherhood Initiative for facts on this father crisis. A father’s absence can manifest in a child’s life as the following:

  • Increased risk for teen pregnancy
  • Increased risk for criminal behavior and jail time
  • Increased risk of poverty
  • Decreased health outcomes for mother and child
  • Poor educational outcomes.
  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Increased risk for obesity

I’m sure that you’ve seen how this plays out in homes across the country.  Dad leaves (or is not in the home) for whatever reason, and the family begins to suffer.  The mother-father relationship is fractured. The parent-child relationship is strained. And, the child is trying to make sense of who they are in this world. As well as, processing whether or not they are loved by their parents. Ultimately, the children begin to act out!

Through it all, this fact remains to be true.  The dad is impacted by his absence on a much deeper level than people realize. I’m convinced of this state…the more that I work with fathers.  With the exception of those really bad apples, a large majority of the fathers want to play a role in the lives of their children.  He is the one, who sees his role as provider, protector,  and teacher of his children. He is the role model for his son on how a man is to treat women. He is the model for his daughter on how she is to be treated by men. The family, which is believed by many to be the foundation of society, is operating at a huge deficit. When the family unit suffers, our society is guaranteed to suffer.

Where are the fathers? Why aren’t they sticking around for the long haul? Why was involved, responsible, and committed not a part of his story. There are so many valid reasons. Of them all, shame and guilt is the biggest culprit in my mind.  You don’t know how many times, we’ve had men opt out on a relationship with their children because they felt inadequate as a father. They’re not making the kind of money, that they want to make. Therefore, they don’t go around to see their kids. In their minds, it’s a valid excuse. But, time is more important than the money.  The statistics above prove that too us.  Many times, it’s the mom withholding the child. Why? She’s frustrated that it didn’t work out, and this is how to get back at him.  All too often, the family leaves due to the father being violent towards the mom. Domestic violence is never the way to lead as a father!

“A true father should be a standard feature…not a temporary option!”–Isaac Rowe

If you’re a father, and you’re reading this article.  Do whatever is in your power to stay involved, responsible, and committed to meeting the needs of your children.  Their well-being is counting on it. Most importantly, your legacy is being created one way or another. How you walk that out is completely up to you!  My prayer is that at the end of your life, your children (as well as mine) and their mothers will have nothing short of praise for us! Hopefully, our absence will not leave an abyss in our families.  But, will flood their hearts with the most important thing a father has to offer. LOVE!

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)

In case, you didn’t know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM. What is DVAM? It’s a time in which many domestic violence organizations and their supporters come together to honor the ones who have lost their lives, support survivors, and those in the field work together to raise the awareness levels of the community members. Across the nation, individuals are asked to take a stand against this insidious crime. Here’s a history lesson on DVAM from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

As a man, why did I chose this topic of discussion? Well, I think it’s time for good guys to stand up for the voiceless. It’s not enough to agree, that harming your loved ones is bad. Yes, that’s true!  But, are you willing to talk to your abusive friend?  Can you point your neighbor, who’s been abused, to the closest resource (NDVH or to DV experts in your local area) for help? Or, do we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? That is my fear. All to often, victims feel alone due to the isolation from friends and families.  The days of worrying, only, for your four and no more are not going to cut it.  People are losing their lives on a daily basis. Children are experiencing trauma from growing up in a home with an abusive parent using power and control over their partner. It’s about time to connect what we know inside of our heads as wrong to how we feel in our hearts about the wrong doing being done in this society.

What is domestic violence? Simply put! It’s when an individual exerts their will by any means necessary on another person. That can happen in many forms, i.e. physical, sexual, emotional, intimidation, threats, coercion, and financial abuse.  Typically, the most common form of violence is physical in nature. Most of us are familiar with the physical laying of hands on a partner. Here are a few stats about domestic violence:

  • 1 in 3 women & 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  •  1 in 4 women & 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women & 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • It takes a person 7 attempts to leave and not return to a domestic violence situation. Once they leave, they are at the greatest danger of losing their lives.
    man and woman wearing brown leather jackets

    If you’ve never experienced this inside of your home or with a family member, consider yourself blessed. It’s not an easy,  but the support is necessary if the survivor desires the help.  I’ve spent the last 15+ years working with families, that have been torn apart. They’ve come to live in shelters, with very few things from their homes, searching for a place of solace.  A place of peace where they don’t have to walk on egg shells.  For the first time in a long time, some are able to rest without fear.  Unfortunately, for some, fear is ever present.  And, even though, they are experiencing a place of peace and rest. Many are dealing with the shame and guilt associated with being a survivor of the abuse. For those of us in the field, we dedicate our lives to facilitate the healing process.  Unfortunately, not all will find their healing. But, we continue to fight and educate. Most importantly, we love!

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