Name: Karee Bennett | City: Philadelphia, PA | IG: @AzraelDicaprio
What does being a father mean to you?
To me, fatherhood means so many different things. Due to being born with cerebral palsy, I never even imagined being here. But my journey taught me to never give up. I’ve applied that to fatherhood. So for me, it means giving my daughter a foundation, teaching her to never give up and showing her that I’ll never give up on her.
My daughter has been THE defining moment of my life. I couldn’t imagine life without her now. Fatherhood has been my greatest joy.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My father raised me and that has defined not just who I am as a man, but my approach to fatherhood. My father instilled in me a sense of black pride and pride in oneself. That is definitely who I pattern my fathering style from, to an extent. My father always being present AND accessible gave me a sense of stability. That’s exactly what I want my daughter to feel towards me.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
One thing I really hold dear is that my father never let me give up on myself or feel sorry for myself. This was pivotal to a child with “special needs”. He taught me that to apply myself to the things I want to achieve and to test my limitations instead of giving into them without trying.
While not necessarily a negative, now that I’m a father, I understand that parenting is a constant learning experience. You don’t always have the answers or know the right approach. As a father now, I understand that the times my father and I maybe didn’t see eye to eye or we disagreed, it’s because the parent/child relationship is constantly evolving
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
My biggest obstacle has been my cerebral palsy. I’m often in a lot of pain and at times, it’s almost impossible to function. Fortunately, my wife is an amazing mother and picks up the slack on my bad days.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
It’s a constant learning experience. There will be days where you don’t have the answers. It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a father or failing. Fatherhood is a journey. It’s as if, you’re finding your way while helping your child find their way. The best advice I could give is just to enjoy the moments as they happen and try not to miss a second of the journey.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Thank you for the life lessons. Thank you for instilling discipline. I now understand that as your first-born, you were learning how to be a father on the go as much as I was learning to be a young man. Thank you for never giving up on me and giving me the blueprint for being a good father. I’m forever grateful.
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