Name: Terrick Waiters Location: Catonsville Maryland
What does being a father mean to you?
A father to me is knowing that no matter what wrong I’ve done or experienced in my upbringing I get to start a clean new slate. As a father I graduate from being the student to the teacher. So all the lessons, principals I’ve learned from my own father or father like figures I can pass over to my own.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
My experience with my dad growing up was the best of times and the worse of times at times. Best because he was always there to support/motivate me through school, at sporting events being my biggest cheerleader, my number one advocate right or wrong, and so much more. Where he went I went… I was his shadow. Times were the Worse of times at times because growing up in the same neighborhood my dad grew up and to me his only focus was to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistakes he made. So when it came to school, there was no room for bad grades. When it came to sports there was no room to be just mediocre, there was curfew, there were rules, there wasn’t hanging out on the Avenue or around the wrong crowd like most of my friends were. So that focus to make sure I was the better version of him who didn’t make the same mistakes would lead to us clashing during my adolescent years. But as the years turned I grew to fully understand why he always stayed on top of me. I wish I didn’t rebel from the very simple expectations he placed because I could of slipped just like Many of my friends. His impact left a everlasting impact on me til this day because I understand how in life we can slip at the snap of a finger and life for us and our love ones be completely different from what we knew.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I’ve had many positive and negative experiences growing up. The biggest take away from both experiences I apply to my journey as a dad today is the importance of communication/ing. With doing this, the many problems I had growing up or the feelings either my dad or I had and never expressed could of been solved simply by expressing what we are harboring within. A lot can be accomplished alone but so much more can be accomplished together in Union. It truly does take a village. So I make sure to highlight my highs as a dad that I experience but highlight my struggle or battles even more to my dad and or dads for their point of view.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
My dad told me when I was in my twenties fatherhood isn’t easy and I didn’t believe him, but I sure do now. The mental feeling of not doing enough is my biggest obstacle. I’m a over provider so I feel there’s always more that can be done or that has to be done. Another obstacle I battled with personally is knowing that the lifestyle I once had is done with. My dad told me plenty of times I saved his life and I didn’t understand it. But I truly do now. It’s hard cutting off friends or family who don’t bring good into your life. Energy especially if it’s negative would latch on you quick and won’t let go.. So as your world changes the ones around you should as well. So that battle was one I struggled with knowing I shouldn’t be here doing this or with this person because this can happen was the toughest but most necessary pill to swallow in order to be the best dad I can be.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
My advice to new dads would be to over communicate, It really does take a village. Just expressing your feelings will help lighten the heavy load one can be feeling mentally. Make the best out of your situation.. if it’s single parenting or with your partner. Make the best out of it. The stresses you feeling or thinking can be picked up by your child.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
I just want to thank you for being a man. Thank you for stepping up to the plate and knocking it out the park. Thanks for trading in the fast money and lifestyle for me. Thanks for staying on me with school. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have the degrees I have. Thanks for not giving up on me when I messed up. Thank you for showing me the importance of family and being honorable. Thank you for life. Thank you for love. Thank you for the beatings because I needed them. More I could say but simply put thank you.
Love your son
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