Name: Terrell Coakley | City: Brooklyn, NY | IG: @northstarbrooks
What does being a father mean to you?
To me, being a father means forever knowing that your life is not your own. Looking into my daughters eyes in a constant reminder that each day I wake up, is a chance to be a better human being, to be an ever evolving example she can draw from. It means taking every chance to leave this world a better place than I found it, so that she can walk more freely than I do. Being a father is knowing that a lot of the time I may feel lost, but for your children, you find courage to navigate through the darkness, in the hopes of forging the path to a brighter day.
I will not always get things right, but I will try to teach her that mistakes are a part of life, but you aren’t defined by them. You stand despite your transgressions with your head high.
I’ve never known a love more pure, and a motivation so powerful. I’m forever grateful to her mother for blessing me with my greatest gift.
Sometimes it’s difficult. There are so many instances you can’t be prepared for. But every challenge is worth it.
Being a father is the only job I’d ever do for free. Because it’s never work, when it’s something you love.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My father wasn’t around.
He was locked up. For most of my childhood.
It was a gift and a curse. I spent so much of my youth trying to overcompensate for what I thought was a lack of manhood.
I made a lot of mistakes, and treated women poorly, even though I considered myself a gentleman. I didn’t understand how to be myself with women, because I felt parts of me were missing.
I had to grow through trial and error.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
Because of no consistent strong father figure, I’ve learned to love my child hard, and want to give her all of the moments I never had. While trying to balance not being too stifling in letting her learn and grow on her own. I want to give her tools for success that I didn’t have, while allowing her to make the mistakes that help us grow into caring and empathetic people.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
My daughters mother and I had a rough start, which made it difficult to be present in the moment. We both missed a lot, and grew so angry, that I couldn’t even see that she was dealing with postpartum depression. It’s my greatest regret as a father.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
Take your time. You will never be a perfect father. That man doesn’t exist. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel you are falling short. Just be transparent with yourself and allow yourself room to grow.
And don’t work so hard to give your child a bright future, that you ignore spending time in the present. Children grow fast, and there are so many moments you can never get back.. things you don’t think will matter, that you can look back on and realize it was a part of your kids personality since infancy.. never be too busy to see that.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Know that I appreciate that sacrifices you’ve made, and I know that you would have been there if you could. But know that I am still who I am because you’re DNA runs through me. And I’m grateful our bond is still growing. My brother is fortunate to have to teach him your wisdom. You’re an amazing man. I still strive to be like you, while being the best version of myself.
Name some other fathers you cosign.