Author: Melissa Barber
Happy Twelfth Day of Thanks Everyone!
Today, we give thanks to the amazing fathers and father figures who hold down their children and provide the much needed covering and guidance to make them great world citizens.
Lilah and I recently went to Orlando, Florida to visit my sister and her clan. During our visit, I got to see my nephew and his small tribe of four children, my grandnephews and grandniece. They are the most adorable, intelligent, and wholesome children in the world (and I’m not just saying that because their mine.) They really are!
One of the greatest things about my visit was seeing how much of a wonderful father my nephew is to all of his children, in spite of him not having his biological father present for him while growing up. My nephew not only ensured that each of his children were provided with the necessities (food, water, shelter, clothes, and education), he made sure that each of them knew that he is and will always be very present in their lives, giving them individual and collective attention. He took time to play with them; he had three of the children constantly hanging off parts of his body from his neck to his legs. He took time to arm wrestle his oldest son of seven years old, who lost the arm wrestling battle because he was getting tickled at the same time. (It was such a joy to hear his burst of laughter; I had to get it on video!) When that was all done, my nephew made sure that each of them had their country music and hip-hop dance break. Each child got to display their fancy foot work and show how they mastered the latest moves. (OMG! Talk about my heart just melting watching how cute they were!)
What was even more impressive to me was that, although the oldest two and youngest two children had different mothers, my nephew and my sister made sure that all of the children were raised together as an inseparable clan. As it should be, there was no distinction in love or treatment between the four children (well except for the fact that my niece is the only princess and will probably be overbearingly guarded and protected by all the men in her life). Every day after school, all the children were picked up by my sister and brought to her house until my nephew got off from work. During that time, they all spent several hours of quality time together and ate dinner together until they went home with my nephew or were picked up by their respective mothers.
Despite the great lengths that my nephew has gone through to be an amazing dad and financial provider to all of his children, it pained me to hear that my nephew (without a lawyer) had to recently sit in a court crying as the oldest children’s mother actively ripped custody of his children away from him, out of greed and spite. (She doesn’t know that with that act she just brought fire to her doorstep! And because the devil is a liar and my nephew has in his corner a mother and an aunt who are some fierce prayer warriors, I’m guaranteeing that my nephew will regain co- or full custody of his children real soon!) As of this month, the court mandated that my nephew can only have his oldest two children once or twice a month when they are accustomed to being with him every day. (Pray for my grandnephews as they go through this short, traumatic experience!)
I’m so glad that as we reunited as a family, celebrating and giving all thanks and praise on Thanksgiving Day, my grandnephews and grandniece got to experience the beautiful Christmas tree they begged for, great food, and one more awesome day of extreme love and fun with their awesome dad.
Today as we give thanks for great dads, I want to highlight the organization the Good+ Foundation (https://goodplusfoundation.org) which works to dismantle multi-generational poverty by pairing tangible goods with innovative services for fathers and low income families. Once they discovered that our culture, policy and social service providers were treating fathers as secondary, nonessential actors in children’s well-being, they expanded programming to intentionally include fathers. They believe that stronger fathers build stronger, more resilient families, which are the backbone of thriving communities. The more we invest in fathers, the greater impact we see on children and families as a whole.
Have a Great Day of Thanks!