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.