Name: Amonte Martin | City: Gainesville, FL | Instagram: @AmonteMartin
What does being a father mean to you?
The currency of this world is money. Everything we do, every decision we make is a cost benefit analysis of how we can grow, save, or acquire more money. From going to school, in hopes of finding a career, going to trade school, going to the military after high school, or even becoming an entrepreneur is all done to position one’s self to be a financially independent individual. Further, God also gives us innate skillsets and ideas, which we can also monetize (e.g., a singer, an artist, an athlete, or even a podcast host, etc.).
Not for monetary gain, the currency of fatherhood is love. To me, being a father means to be chosen to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. To be chosen to fulfill my duties as a man to groom the next generation – my legacy. To be blessed enough to cultivate and rear a child is one of the most gratifying feelings in life. Because there are no prerequisites to being a father, there’s no preparing or studying to be a good father.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
Most of my life I was raised by my grandparents, and by a single mother. I rarely saw my father growing up. As a child, I used to ask my mom why he wasn’t around or why he didn’t come to my games or practices, etc. For a while, I thought it was my fault for my father not being there in my life, I thought it was something wrong with me. Around high school, I started to understand more of why he wasn’t there.
Being married and understanding how to sustain a relationship, I understand how and why my father wasn’t in my life. He remarried and had more kids, so I understand but I don’t excuse him for not be present.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I learned that no matter what, be present and transparent with my children. What I mean by present is not just physically present, which sometimes can’t happen, which is why I say to be transparent, but emotionally present. Being emotionally present by checking on how my children are doing after school, listening to the troubles, their worriers, their eagerness, and learning when to be there and when to give them space. I also learned to be transparent. I learned to communicate with my children my struggles, expectations, and my boundaries – when dad needs space or time to study.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.
I’ve had quite a few and my children are only 1 and 4 years old.
1. My wife and I were born and raised in Florida. We graduated from college, got married, and moved to Indiana all in May 2014. Fast forward to May 2105, my son was born. At the time, we were still adjusting to being up north, being married, now parenting, and graduate students. Toward the end of 2015, my wife got accepted into law school at the University of Florida. From then to the beginning of 2017, I kept my son alone in Indiana while completing my master’s thesis at Purdue University.
2. May 2019, my wife graduated from the University of Florida , got a job, and moved to Atlanta. I am currently finishing my PhD at the University of Florida, teaching, and doing research, and raising two boys, alone.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
The perfect way to be a good father, is just to simply be there. There’s honestly no perfect way to be a father. Trust that God has given you every tool to be a good father, use them. Also, lean on other fathers, ask them what were their successes and failures, learn from them, which is exactly why initiatives such as, “Dear, Fathers” is critical.
If you wanted to write a quick note to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would it be?
Life is short and we still have time to build.
List some fathers you cosign