Name: Mark Winkler | City: Los Angeles, CA | Instagram: @fatherhood_circle

What does being a father mean to you?

To me Fatherhood means unconditional love. Leading with love has allowed me to endure the challenges and more strongly embrace the joy of my fatherhood journey thus far.

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Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.

My father was a dutiful father. He was always there for me and my older brother. He was not big on displaying his love emotionally. However, through his commitment as a father, I experienced his love. I attempt to demonstrate the same level of commitment towards my daughter – with the display of emotions added.

What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?

I took many positive things including love, compassion, dutifulness, responsibility and trust. I also took a poor lack of accountability. I would not own up to my part in the mistakes that sidelined many of my previous romantic relationships. After the birth of my daughter, I took a long hard look at that destructive personality trait and adjusted appropriately.

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?

About 5 years ago, I had to endure a year long custody struggle to keep my daughter in my life. Actually during 3 months of that year, I was legal forbidden to see my child. It was one of the most frightening periods of my life. Fortunately, I was able to walked through that fear and regain custody. I wrote and published a book about my experiences entitled My Daughter’s Keeper.

What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?

As a father of a girl child, I had to learn that it was necessary for me to periodically change the mental picture of my daughter so I would make certain to interact with her not as I pictured her years back; but, as she is today. I would assume that could be helpful for fathers with boy children also.

If you wanted to write a quick note to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would it be?

Dear Father,

Thank you for teaching me how to be a man and father. All your lessons were not perfect. However, even the ones where you admit you wish you had done differently, I learned valuable life lessons. You are my hero Dad.

Name some fathers you cosign

1 Travon Tills
2 Shango Blake
3 Oshea Luja – Still Waters
4 Damu Bobb
5 Ronnie Fernandez, LCSW

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