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The Gift of Identity: How My Father Shaped My Self-Esteem and Faith

It's been 20 years since my father died and even though it's been that many years, it is a constant reminder of how fatherlessness comes in many forms. His birthday and marriage anniversary also falls in June, and the entire month usually have me reflecting on his life and even more his death. He is my fallen hero! When I was 22 years old, he had a stroke right before my eyes and little did I know that the 6'4" giant of a man, would never stand tall again physically. God gave us 7 more years of life with him after the stroke. One day I will document those moments because I was there for it all, even his death. But I choose to honor him with the good that I learned from him because I see it being manifested in the ministry and volunteer work that I do.


Growing up, my father was the cornerstone of my identity. His loving, affectionate, and kind nature provided a foundation for my self-esteem, faith, and values. My father was not just a parent; he was a mentor, a guide, and a beacon of light who shaped me into the person I am today.

 

A Man of Faith and Compassion

My father’s love for God and people was evident in everything he did. He taught me the power of prayer, not just as a ritual but as a heartfelt conversation with the Divine. His faith was not just preached but practiced. I remember countless times standing beside him, learning to pray for our family, our church elders, and even for strangers. This practice instilled in me a deep sense of faith and trust in something greater than myself.


Teaching Through Actions

One of the most profound lessons my father taught me was the importance of caring for the elderly and the less fortunate. He would often take me along when visiting nursing homes or hospitals and the homes of the mothers of our church. Through these experiences, I learned that true compassion means taking action to make a difference in others' lives. His example taught me to value every individual and to understand the impact of kindness and generosity.


Unconditional Love and Forgiveness

My father’s love was unconditional. Even when I made mistakes, he never withheld his affection or support. I recall times when his disappointment was clear, but instead of reprimand, he chose to guide me gently back onto the right path. He restored me with his words and actions, demonstrating what it means to be forgiven and loved despite flaws. This unconditional love was pivotal in building my self-esteem and teaching me the importance of self-worth.


The Role of a Good Father

A good father does more than provide; he nurtures, guides, and supports. He helps his children build a strong moral compass and teaches them to stand tall in the face of adversity. My father was a living example of this. His life was a testament to the power of love, faith, and resilience. Oh and he taught me how to laugh and have fun, in which he would do all the time because he was a jokester at heart.

 

I understand that what I had is not everyone's story.

 

Changing the Narrative

For those who have never experienced having a good father, know that you can still find and create that sense of identity and self-worth. Surround yourself with positive influences, seek out mentors, and remember that you are deserving of love and kindness. (If you are a father or aspire to be one, strive to embody the qualities of compassion, faith, and unconditional love. It is never too late to change the narrative and become the father figure that nurtures and supports.)

 

To those who feel the absence of a good father, I empathize deeply with your experience. Know that your worth is not diminished by this absence. Seek out communities and relationships that uplift and support you. The love and identity my father gave me are not exclusive; they are universal truths that can be found and cultivated in various aspects of life.

 

In honoring my father’s legacy, I hope to inspire others to understand the true role of a father. It is a role that shapes identities, builds self-esteem, and fosters unwavering faith. Let us strive to be the change we wish to see, and in doing so, create a world where every child knows the love and guidance of a good father.


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