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PREMIERS MARCH 1ST

In the United States of America, nearly 73% of African-Americans are born to single mothers. These mothers should be applauded for loving their children, and empathy is extended for those mothers who are rearing their children on their own. In my case, I am blessed to have a father in my life who has been married to my mother for over fifty years. My father and mother reared five children and they instilled the values of faith, discipline and hard work. My father was instrumental in establishing God as the foundation of our family unit. He constantly reminded us that our future depended on our relationship with God and that our identity rests in Him. He reminded his children who they could become if they allowed their faith to guide them. As a result, all five of his children are believers in Christ and have graduated from universities with either a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree. By his example, we grew up believing that life pursuits were unlimited. Although he was and still is a man that rarely expresses his love verbally, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all know where his heart lies. Throughout his life, his actions demonstrated that he would provide for us, and his words made it clear that he wanted what was best for us. My father had a vision for his family. He was born in the 1930s, and he experienced tough times in our nation, especially for African-Americans. He grew up in poverty and during the decades of racial segregation. However, he did not allow his experiences to negatively shape him or his love for people. He taught us to love all of God’s creations and to protect our reputations with lives of integrity. Is my father perfect? No, he is not; but he taught us to lean on the perfect God who extends grace to imperfect beings. He taught us to love as God loves. He taught us to embrace the opportunities God provides and not waste a day on trivial matters. He taught us to have confidence in the pursuit of our dreams because of the God that resides in us. Because of my father’s example, I am able to father my children and love my wife. I am able to build relationships with people from different backgrounds. I am able to see past skin, social, economic or religious borders and enter an area of unification among the hearts. My wife and children are receiving an extended version of my father. It is through his teachings that I will become a better version of him. It is with hope that my son will one day become a better version of me. It is because of the foundation set by my father that our family was able to remain strong even in difficult times. It was not his own might that kept us in tact, but we remained strong because of his faith. My father is a blessed man, but it is not because of his children’s education or individual accomplishments. He is blessed because God found favor in him to give him wisdom worth passing on to his children. Because he was unselfish with the gift of wisdom, he now leaves a treasure of cognitive fortitude and spiritual discipline that outweighs silver and gold. My father has imparted a mindset within his family unit that is built to last. He has established a foundation that cannot be cracked. It is sturdy enough to support generations to come. I love you Dad, and thank you for being a true father.

Myron Guillory is the associate pastor at Our Savior's Church Midtown Campus in Lafayette, LA . He is the author of the book, Racelift: A Procedure to Die For. You can learn more about Myron on Facebook (@myronguilloryVT), Twitter (@myronguillory) or his website at www.myronguillory.com.

As a father of two young adults, a 20 year old daughter and a 19 year old son, I've seen the incredible value in time with your family while they're young. A long time ago I remember hearing that kids don't spell love based on things that you can give them, kids spell love as TIME. I was a young father. Married one year after graduating from college. Still a kid myself trying to navigate the world of adulting. I had a lot of dreams and aspirations. One dream in particular was to have a beautiful family. I met my wife in college, yes, I married my college sweetheart and we have been married for 22 years! Within one year of our marriage we were expecting our first child. I recall hearing from my friends that my life was over. It was at this time that I remembered how my father always demonstrated his love and care for us by being present. I was planning on pursuing my desire for working in the entertainment industry at the same time that I was newly married and expecing our first child. It was at this time that I made the decision to this dream on hold to be a present father. I believed that if my other dream was meant to be that one day it would come back but I had the incredible opportunity to be a present father . I chose my wife and children. I was the dad who attended the donuts with dads at the school. I was present at parent day at the school with my kids. I coached the little league teams. I went on the field trips. I helped with the homework. I was at the recitals and games, even to the point of getting into trouble at my job for being present for my family. That's how passionate I am about my family and my calling. Over the years, I've seen a close bond develop between my son and my daughter. I firmly believe it's because I realized that my presence makes just as big an impact in my son and daughter's lives as the income I can bring home from work. I am happy to share that after 20 years of sacrificing my personal dream of working in the entertainment industry that it has come back to me. I'm grateful to God for honoring me for prioritizing the needs of my family and my role as a father. The presence of a man in the house is more powerful than any corporate bonus, house, car, or trip that we can ever give our children. Be encouraged that as we honor our commitments as fathers and love our children unconditionally that God will bless our families and we will create a heritage the doesn't rust or is prone to corruption!

Rodney Damon Collins is an American Actor, Speaker, and Author who has been married for 22 years. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Liberty University and has traveled to Monrovia, Liberia to build schools in addition to his time in Ecuador. You can find his shows on several networks including streamming platforms on Amazon Prime Video. He plans to use his platform to continue to touch the lives of the youth of the world and drawing them to a closer relationship with God.

God created Dad's to be the head of the household and to lead their families by example, and my Daddy certainly did that for me and my four siblings. The positive impact he had on my life, and their's, is so great that words cannot possible do it justice. My Daddy was a humble, Christian man, who never desired for himself material possessions. He was a selfless man with a great sense of humor who worked hard for his family, and demonstrated his love for us daily. He was present in our lives, and his presence was one that offered a feeling of love, strength and security to our entire family. He taught me many life lessons that will remain with me throughout my entire life, and he did so with few words. Whenever he corrected me he did so in a calm voice and along with his correction, he offered an explanation as to why what I had done was wrong. The last thing he would say to me after each and every correction was "Daddy loves you." My Daddy had a strong love for God, and he gave God the praise and the glory for all things good. He did so without hesitation. My Daddy went home to be with the Lord in 2014 leaving me with no doubt that he loved me, with many Godly life lessons, and with a sense of self-worth that he instilled in me by ensuring that I knew he believed in me. We live in a world where many Dad's are not present for their children, and where many that are present fail to see the importance of their role in the family. I can tell you firsthand, that having a Godly, loving, Daddy provides a child with a sense of security and protection, a knowing that they are loved, supported, and believed in always, and so much more. If you have been blessed by God with children, I encourage you to be the best possible Daddy to those children that you can be knowing that you are impacting their lives in many positive ways, and that all you teach them and show them by example will be appreciated, respected, and will never be forgotten. I was blessed that God gave me the earthly Daddy that he did, and I will never forget how much he loved me, and all that he taught me. I can honestly say that the love, guidance, and direction my Daddy gave me is something I am so grateful for. Remember always that your role as a Daddy is extremely important and that being present in your children's lives sharing wisdom, love, and correction with them has a lasting impact that is absolutely priceless! God bless loving Daddy's everywhere.

Darlene Patton blog can be accessed at gospelfromthegrove.blogspot.com/