Name: Shaun Jones : Fernandina Beach Florida | @ess_dot_jones
What does being a father mean to you?
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
make my own choices. It’s like he knew exactly what I needed and the time I needed it. Him always finding balance with me is a trait that I definitely picked up. It’s because of him that I have more patience and that I never to try force anything on my kids. Like my father did for me, I’ll always show them their options and tell them what each option could lead to but the decision will be theirs to make and no matter what, they will always have my support.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I became a father at age 19. I joined the military after high school and my first son was born shortly thereafter. I was a distant dad. I sent his mom money for all the things he needed but that wasn’t really being a father. I didn’t really get much time to spend around him until I came back from deployment. His mom and I were living in separate states but I’d go visit frequently. In those visit I found out just how much I was needed. How much my presence meant to him, how fun it was to be there and how much easier it was for his mom to be the best parent she could be. In those moments when I started to figure out I need to be present and I need to do the best I can do, I began to recall the information and situations my father had shown me.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
No fatherhood journey is without challenge. I have two son from a previous marriage and a 3rd from my current marriage which is also on the brink of divorce. It’s hard and it takes a toll on me, knowing I can be physically present like I want to be. When my last marriage ended, it was horrible. I never thought she would be the kind of person that would intentionally keep the kids away from me. I was frequently met with opposition every time I wanted to see them or speak to them. It’s emotionally drained and physically draining. It was so hard for me to operate in a good mental space. When you’re a father, and have daily access to your kids, don’t take that for granted. You can still be a father without being physically present. A dads reach and influence doesn’t end when the household collapses. Remember that.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
To you men new on your fatherhood journey, don’t overlook the blessing you have just been provided. Doesn’t matter if you have a son or a daughter, the blessing is the same. When you navigate through life just remember that all your decisions now will impact the life and future of your child. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not always going to be pretty but when you “accept” what fatherhood really is, you will always be rewarded with the love and happiness of your child.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Words alone can’t express my gratitude for everything you’ve done for me. You were always my light in the darkness and my heat when I was cold. I am forever thankful for the love and guidance you have given me throughout my life. I honestly feel that when it’s all said and done, if I can be half the father to my kids as you were to me then everything will be just fine. I’m proud of you and I hope you can be proud of me too.
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