Name: Richard Dantzler | City: Augusta, GA | IG: @_RichConnect
What does being a father mean to you?
The experience of being a father has been the single most growing and rewarding honor I have yet to enjoy in life. I am obsessed with this lifelong responsibility of nurturing and pouring the best of who I am into my daughter. Fatherhood in all its essence has been a path of ups and downs for me and my family as a whole. The series of lessons and triumphs have altogether served as my constant drive to continuously project an outstanding image of myself that I’d want my daughter to embrace and emulate. Fatherhood ultimately embodies the art of sacrifice, love, discipline and guidance through one’s presence and actions. To serve in the best interest of one’s children so they may successfully navigate through life with skills, ideologies and morals that have been emplaced in them… by their Father.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My Father is a strong, spiritual, thinking Man. He is also a man of discipline who taught me the importance of independence and survival at a young age. There was an absence of a father figure in his life growing up, and it reflected in the way he knew to lead and guide me. Growing up with him, I learned about the seriousness of life. The severity of consequences that arose when a man didn’t handle his “business” accordingly. He displayed when to Naboo through life on the defensive and offensive, respectively. I learned how to stand on my own from my Father. I learned to always maintain the integrity of my livelihood through all my decisions, and to not compromise the integrity of who I am today. Someone will always try to define what right and wrong is for other people. My Father taught me the importance of living one’s truth, regardless of the world’s many distractions.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I have definitely taken both positive and negative attributes into my journey as a Father. Due to the conditions of my upbringing, to this day, I sometimes portray some of the same learned behaviors and mentalities to my daughter, despite me working hard enough to keep her out of the type of environment I grew up in.
On a positive note… knowing that I come from an unknown lineage on my Father’s side due to my grandfather’s absence, and witnessing how it residually affected my Father, I use it as motivation to be as present and capable as I can so that my daughter will never question my presence and dedication to her life.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
My main obstacle through fatherhood persists to be my obstacle through this phase of my life at the moment: to shed the effects of an adopted survival mentality so that I may better connect emotionally with my daughter. Of course, I love my baby unconditionally, but sometimes I fall short in expressing myself, or really communicating with her on an intimate level due to certain traumas that I have yet to address and conquer.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
I would keep it simple, because a lot of lessons I’ve learned as a Father have come from direct experience, and there’s ultimately not perfect way to love and lead a child. I’d say that you don’t have to be PERFECT to be PRESENT. You are a Father with a purpose, realized or not. And you should always be and do the best you can within your ability (regardless of circumstances) to fulfill that purpose for your children. Trust yourself and seek proper guidance from healthy men around you.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Hey Pop, I love you. Thank you for making your sacrifice to be in my life. Thank you for putting your best efforts towards being a man I can look up to, despite not having the same for yourself. You are an extraordinary example of resilience and true character, and I will always cherish our relationship. Now that Mom has passed, and as my children grow older, I will rely on your love and guidance even more as we continue to transition into further phases of life.
Love, Your Son.
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