Dante Rencher says “A father is a protector, a provider, and a mentor.”

Name: Dante Rencher | City: Lompoc, California | IG: N/A

What does being a father mean to you?

Being a father means to me is being there for you child/children no matter what. To build a foundation for them and to have a great relationship with them. A father is a protector, a provider, and a mentor. Being a father is a learning experience and a blessing because some men never had the opportunity to be one. A father is being something that’s bigger than himself. I believe being a father is one of the greatest things a man could ever be.

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

Growing up my father wasn’t around for most of my life. However, I do have a step-father who has been there for my brother and I till this day. My father and I never really had a relationship until now. This has impacted me today because my life as well as my choices in life wouldn’t be the same.

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

What I have taken so far in my fatherhood journey is being present for my child. Growing up not only was my father not around but many of my family members didn’t have their father as well. As a black man and a black father I am going to break that cycle in our culture of the father not being present for their children.

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?

From the start of my fatherhood journey I have had many obstacles and I believe there will be many more to come. Currently I’m fighting a custody case with my son’s mother. So far I have 9.95% custody with my son and I’m fighting for 50/50. However, my son’s mother wants full custody. My son is 1 and a half yrs old and I have been fighting to be present in his life since birth. I didn’t know if I was his father but I was present for his birth and cut the cord of a child I didn’t know was mine until 3 days later. To be honest I don’t feel like a father but more like a baby sitter because I barely get to spend time with him. This journey has been the hardest experience I even been through. It has put me in a bad place mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. It’s even harder because not only am I fighting against a selfish and immature parent but also a court system that isn’t fair for fighting fathers. I know in time things will get better I just have to go through the storm until things get clear. Cause no matter what I will never stop fighting for him and I will always always love and be there for him.

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

I would tell new fathers to learn to be patient and enjoy the moments with your kid/kids. If things aren’t working out between you and the mother of your child, then try to co-parent as best as you can. Everyone has a different way of parenting yours will come as time goes on. And have fun with your children as much as you can cause we all know life is too short.

If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?

I know you weren’t around as much as you wanted to be but I still love you. At one point I was mad at you but I’m older and I see things differently now. I still have alot of questions I want to ask u and not just as your son but as a man. I’m glad that we are beginning to bond now because its never too late to build relationships. I want you to know that I don’t blame you for anything and I don’t hate you. In time I know our bond will get stronger.

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