Things I Thank My Father For

Happy black father and cute little daughter embracing, smiling.

By Lauren Antoinette

A Father’s role is one of the more influential aspects of a daughter’s life. A father is the first source of masculine energy that a young girl gets to observe. It is our Fathers that show us what a man’s role is in the family and in the community. I was lucky to have a Father that set a remarkable example in my life as a little black girl in America. I have many things to be thankful for when it comes to Father’s Day; a day to Honor my Daddy.

Thank you for loving my mother in a righteous and honorable way. My mother was loved in a way that flowed down to me. My mother was secure, happy and uplifted by my Father and that enforced a level of happiness in my childhood that I still cherish till this day. Through watching this, I learned exactly how a man was to treat a woman; with love, support, appreciation and companionship.

Thank you for making sure I knew who I was. My Father taught me black history in our living room, family car, at the dinner table and anywhere else he could. I knew the words of Fredrick Douglas, the strategies of Shaka Zulu, the Poetry of Langston Hughes and the principles of the Black Panther Party before I was in Kindergarten. And it didn’t stop there; he taught me my family tree and gave tours on a regular basis around my hometown of Oakland California; showing the places that boomed with black business in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He made sure I knew I was a part of something much bigger than myself. He made sure I understood my responsibilities to my people, my community and myself.

Thank you for Sunday Mornings. Sunday mornings always came with the smell of my Mother’s pancakes and the sound of my Father’s gospel music. It was the Lords Day and everyone was due to the house of Worship to acknowledge the Creator. Sunday school and church was the agenda for the day. My father lead our household there every Sunday and you better not fall asleep on that church pew because he would set me straight real quick. I also admired how difficult times in the house would find us in a family prayer circle lead by my Father.  I learned spiritual respect and when I reached an age where I wanted to stay home from church, my Father didn’t judge me. He knew I would return to what was true when it was my time.

Thank you for providing. No matter the circumstance, my Father keep the household above the waterline by working and staying aligned with my Mother. He showed me what it meant to be a provider, to be the person that everyone was depending on and he carried that weight like a champ. To this day, when I think of being lazy about handling my business, I think back about how he pushed himself no matter what. This taught me work ethic and perseverance. I never Quit.

Thank you for teaching me to fight. My Father never took no mess from no one. He stood up and fought for what he believed in. He never shied away from a fight and he didn’t let me either. I learned to fight physically, verbally and mentally. Punching a bag after school in elementary, learning to write legal briefs before Jr. High and understanding how to critically think before I made a move.

Thank you for your shoulder. Every girl goes through heart break throughout the years. Those teenage years of eyes filled with tears after a puppy love break up were made all the better when my Father would hug me and tell me “Why you crying over some jackass that didn’t deserve you anyway, want me to go beat him up?” It would always make me laugh. It was just what I needed to pick myself up and brush it off.  Those talks gave me more insight into male psyche than anything I would every learn in collage.

Thank you for sharing your pain with me. My father would share his life lessons with me, his dreams and his disappointments. He wasn’t afraid to tell me stories of heart break and sadness right along with the good. I always admired the vulnerability of that. I learned to see a male figure for more than the standard stereotypical characteristics.  I learned that even fathers can be complicated and they have their own stores too.

Thank you for believing in me. One of the best things about my Father; he always made sure to tell me how proud he was of me and how he saw all my dreams coming true. Moments when I have doubts or just feel like I am going nuts about an obstacle, he always has such a cool approach to it; calming telling me to just keep moving forward. He would tell me how he knew I could do it. Through this, I learned to believe in myself and my dreams.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Father or Father figure in your life, make sure to celebrate them, not just on Father’s Day but whenever you have the chance. For those that are missing their Father’s today, remember the good times and cherish the memories. Happy Father’s Day to all those Fathering in all positive capacity, you are needed and valued more than you know.

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