Artez Henderson Says “Being a Father means being blessed with one of the biggest honors in life”

Name: Artez Henderson City: Memphis TN | Instagram: @championfatherhood

What does being a father mean to you?

Being a Father means being blessed with one of the biggest honors in life! Unfortunately, the high rate of fatherlessness especially in the black community proves that too many men, based on their lack of commitment, have not considered that role as one of life’s biggest honors.
However, I have been blessed three times with my kids (Artez Jr., Grace & Timothy). They’ve truly made me a better person in every way. Being their Father, I’ve been tasked with the precious responsibility to protect, love, provide for, encourage, and empower them to embrace their God-given value, dignity, and worth in order to thrive in life. I GET TO cultivate a safe environment for my children to grow into their own individual personalities. Regardless of what the world tells them, my children will always know they are loved and accepted by Daddy and Mama but most importantly they are eternally loved and accepted by Jesus Christ!

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

My dad was scarcely involved in my life growing up which greatly impacted me as a young boy, teenager, young adult, and in certain ways as a grown man. Even as a young teenager, I remembered my dad primarily being concerned about three things based on our interactions, which were: my relationship status, my athletic status, and my financial status.  These expectations put a lot of pressure on me to please him as my father. I believe to him these were the fundamental essence of real manhood. The depth of our relationship never went deeper than my relationship, financial, and athletic status.  Nearly every conversation with him as a teenager would go something like this:
My Dad: Hey son.
Me: Hey Daddy.
My Dad: You good?
Me: Yes sir.
My Dad: Are you still working and making money?
Me: Yes sir, I been trying my best.
My Dad: Good Son. Are you still lifting those weights I gave you? Do you need more?
Me: Yes I’m trying and no I don’t need any more now.
My Dad: So you still talking to that lil girl?
Me: *Nervously lying to him because I didn’t want to disappoint him* Yes Dad I am
My Dad: Good son. Well, tell your sister I said hello. Call your dad sometime.
Me: Okay bye
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What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?

1. Celebrate the small wins: Fatherhood is unpredictable and at times can be very challenging especially when you want to do it the right way. However, I have to be grateful that every day I’m slowly progressing becoming a better man and father for my children.
2. It’s okay not to have it all together. My kids need to see me humble myself and be honest about my limitations but that doesn’t make me less of a man


3. I need to commit to my healing journey because I want to better understand my story and acquire tools to cope with my childhood trauma so that I won’t project that onto my kids.


4. I need old heads who can give some game and advice to encourage me to keep going. I need peers to lean on who understand the various challenges and frustrations in my similar stage of parenting. It’s relieving to know I’m not in this by myself.


5. My journey is unique to me and I don’t have to compare myself to other dads. I have my own standard to strive towards and my kids are unique!

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.

Almost one year before my wife and my third child were born, my wife experienced two miscarriages within about 11 months. Man, this was tough. It’s already tough to experience one miscarriage but to experience two back-to-back was very disheartening. We were so confused and in a sense mad at God because of this devastating news.  To our surprise, some months after losing the second baby we discovered my wife was pregnant again! We were loss for words but still trying to trust God with the raw emotional wounds of the previous losses. We were cautious about communicating the news publicly and wanted to see how things would pan out after the first trimester.
During the last trimester in  March 2020, the pandemic hit and my mentor and father figure Pastor Timothy Russell died from covid complications. I was hurt beyond words. It was too much to bear. I had to lean even more on the comfort and peace of my Heavenly Father. I was grateful for the love, guidance, and support I received from Brother Tim and I wanted to carry his legacy on in a special way through my life. I asked my wife if we could change the name of our soon-to-be-born son to “Timothy” in honor of Pastor Timothy. His widow graciously gave us her blessing.  Our son Timothy was born healthy in June 2020! It was a hard season but also filled with a lot of blessings as well!

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

Dear Father,
God has been gracious to me in so many ways. He’s making me into a man, father, and husband I know you are proud of.  This journey hasn’t been without its challenges but your grandchildren have been instrumental to my growth. On another note, to be honest with you, I still carry a lot of hurt from when I was a little boy.  I needed more from you but I didn’t have the words or the courage to say it. For example, when you promised me ice cream and never showed up without any explanation, really hurt little 7-year-old Tez. I wish you gave me more kisses and hugs instead of spankings and threatening conversations about how I acted up in school or didn’t listen to my mama. Our relationship was complex and distant. I get it you were trying to make sure your son was respectful and tough by any means necessary. Maybe that was what you got from your dad growing up. Forgive me but I’m not trying to come off judgmental but I assume your pain, frustrations, and loneliness, probably led to you going too hard on the alcohol and not being able to overcome the drug addiction. Life was hard and you didn’t know how to get help.  I can empathize with you to an extent,  as a grown man with a family and other responsibilities bills, work, raising kids, and making time for myself, and being a black man in America is a lot to carry every day. Thank God he’s allowed me to imperfectly do the work on my journey through going to therapy to process my past/current hurt, and being vulnerable with other trusted men. I have seen so much growth and healing. I have been able to show up better for Ebeny, Aj, Grace, and Timothy and they know they are loved.
I love you and I do forgive because Christ has forgiven me of so much. I thank you for giving me the best of what you could give. Take care of yourself and know your son is doing great things!
Love you,


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