Name: Duane Hill | City: New Orleans, La |@iam_dhill
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father is constantly learning and striving to do better. Being present, being in the moment, listening to your kid, and handling those responsibilities. There is no perfect blueprint so you do the best you can every day.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My dad was a hustler. He worked 3 jobs and I ALWAYS saw him working. My dad was a middle school disciplinarian but I got nothing but praise from older kids. “Aye I love your dad” “your dad saved my life” etc etc. and I was absolutely proud to be his son and carry his name. Today I strive to do that. I try to always have something to do that will better my sons life.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I really had to learn how to slow down and enjoy my time with my son. I never got real time with my dad until I was in high school and he was a coach on my football team. Now I try to slow down and make time to just sit and watch my son. How he talks, what he likes, his moods, his jokes, his expressions, all the things that I can see came from me and all the things that make him uniquely himself.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
His mother and I split during her pregnancy and I’ll admit that I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of being a father, so I ran home.
That decision has been my biggest regret. There was a time where I didn’t feel like a father, I felt like I was replaced by another man, and I didn’t receive a “Happy Father’s Day” from her. It was bad blood to say the least.
For the first two years of my son’s life, I didn’t feel worthy to be my son’s father and I never felt like I was acknowledged as his father either. Through therapy, better communication, spending time with my son, I am on my journey to healing. It will get better!
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
Being a dad is a title that cannot be stripped or taken away. No father is perfect. But don’t be afraid to strive to be the best dad you can. Enjoy and live in the moment brother! Your kid loves you through thick and thin. Just keep showing up whether that’s every day or when you’re scheduled to.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Thank you for being the man I want to be. Thank you for showing me that perfection is a myth. You’ve been there when I needed you and you’ve been there when I totally mess up. I never questioned your love and support for me. And lastly thank you for pouring into other peoples children. Showing fatherless kids what it means to have a dad.
They love you. I love you. And your grandson LOVES you.
Here’s to many more Fathers days
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