An Open Letter to Young Fathers

Even though it has been nearly 20 years since the birth of our three children, I can remember the anxiety that I felt when they were born. All parents share those feelings of self-doubt about being able to provide emotionally and financially whether it is Warren Buffett or Chance the Rapper. New parents are draped in worry.

However, the self-doubt slowly diminishes over the years. Your confidence increases with each individual success until you feel that you can handle this “parenting thing”. Only to find out years later when your children are adults that you still don’t have all the answers. As parents, we are constantly learning. As people, we are constantly learning. The goal in life is to learn from our mistakes. When we can learn from our own mistakes, and help others learn from their mistakes, it creates a safe and prosperous community. And a prosperous community is the foundation of the Invest In Fathers campaign.

Recently, my parish pastor and confidant asked me, “Why fatherhood? What happened in my own life that drives me to help other fathers?” I’ve been in the fatherhood programming game for ten years plus, and I have learned that the story is similar to many founders of other fatherhood organizations. The lack of having a father in my own life through my childhood lights the fire under my skillet. I understand the socio-economic factors of fathers not being in the home, the impact on their children, and subsequently the effects on the larger society. Nonetheless, some may call my reasoning selfish, which wouldn’t be the first time I was called selfish nor the last. After all is said and done, I’m a 45-year-old husband and father of three who just wants his daddy. Funny, huh? Any moment of self-realization allows you to understand your motivations. Cherish it! Own it! Own your actions! Own your future!

So what motivates you to become a better man? The Invest In Fathers campaign wants you to reach your goals by helping you improve yourself. Everyone needs help sometimes. The Fathers for the Future Foundation, the Office of Cook County Commissioner Richard R. Boykin, the Office of U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis, Be Strong Families, Fathers Who Care, Real Men Cook, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, DCFS, Illinois Fatherhood Alliance, Black United Fund of Illinois, and many organizations share in our vision to help you, help yourself.

We want to see you at the Free Fathers Resource Fair and Dads Cafe on July 16th from 9 am to 3 pm at the Marillac Social Center located at 2859 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois. This Fathers Resource Fair will have several employers including the Chicago Cook Workforce Development Partnership. The Marillac computer lab will also be open to submit online job applications and/or work on your resume. There will be four workshops: Dads Café, Navigating Child Support Workshop, Wellness & Healthy Eating, and Employment Skills. Depending on the number of attending Latino fathers, bilingual instructors will be available.

It is time that society supports and nourishes our young men. When you invest in a father, you invest in the family, you invest in the community, and finally, you invest in the future.