Father’s Day 2016

This has been an extraordinary year, filled with both good and bad.  We said goodbye to Muhammed Ali, who gave us 74 years of the greatest!  Ali, Stevie Wonder, Mandela, and my father have been my guiding lights.  I was blessed to meet the first three briefly in my journey.  Ali and Stevie always treated me with the greatest kindness, which enabled and encouraged me to believe the good things said about them and the outstanding things they accomplished.  Mandela made an extraordinary gesture by acknowledging and greeting me during a major procession when he was being celebrated during his first visit to Los Angeles after being freed in South Africa.  That said something to me about him as well as inspired and encouraged my self-worth.  Gestures make all the difference in who we are and what we mean to other people and society.  Knowing how to accept and interpret gestures makes your relationships more meaningful and satisfying.

My father has made countless gestures to me and my brother and sister in our lives.  They have meant so much to me!  They have given me joy, strength, and encouragement to accomplish.  That’s what fathers and mothers do!  It is important that we do our best to let them know how important those gestures are to us.
Last week, we saw the first female presidential nominee from a major political party (which happens to be my party).  I am proud and blessed to have witnessed it.  She’s not perfect and I don’t agree with everything she’s done or espoused, but she is so overwhelmingly the best choice for our country.  What she will be able to accomplish will be of benefit to so many more people than the alternative choice.  She is a good friend, a loyal wife, a doting daughter, a good mother, and she is becoming a great grandmother.  These things will help her to become a great president!  Donald Trump is a formidable man but the President needs to be for the people, for the majority of the people. Hillary will be much better!!

I want to acknowledge the loss of life in Orlando.  This is a country where you should be safe, proud, and able to be who you are and express what you like.  It’s unfortunate that so many of my gay brothers and sisters lost their lives or were injured by doing that.  My prayers go out to them and their families and friends.  Ultimately, memories are what we have to satisfy our feelings of loss and help us to reach our best destiny.

This Father’s Day, remember that we all have fathers and mothers given to us by God and we should try our best to remember them, their love, and their sacrifices and be the best people we can be!

Much love always,

Father’s Day – What a Great Day!

My father, who became 80 this year, has been wonderful to me. He’s inspired, motivated, and secured me my whole life and I’ve been blessed to have him as my father. From the beginning, he has also given comfort and backing to my mom, who also provides such great support and security to me.

Fatherhood isn’t something that I’ve been able to experience in my life, but it’s something I was able to recognize and seek out in my friends’ fathers. Most of my friends have either had some similar influences from their fathers that I’ve had or have become the kind of father that I’m recognizing. It’s a struggle to strive for and maintain that type of consistency and excellence if you don’t have the example to live with or to learn from. I’m so happy to continue to have that. I see in my brother and my good friends (including my nurses, many of whom are single mothers) the kind of people that raise the kind of children that make a difference. I’ve been blessed to be a godfather and uncle and a friend toward a number of young people that have given me the kind of support and love that I try to give my father. I’m so thankful for that.

I’ve got a nephew that’s graduating from high school and going to college this year, and I’ve been friends with a number of other young people that have gone on to college in recent years. I pray I’ll be able to continue to share the insights and support that my father has given me. I hope to continue to be the friend and brother to my friends and brothers and give them the kind of support and advice that my father has always provided me. Those of you that I’m speaking to that are similarly blessed to have (or be) the kind of father or father figure that I’m talking about, reach out to your loved ones on this special day. Give thanks to God for providing the kind of resources necessary to have that special type of relationship. Give thanks and show appreciation and love to those people that have made your life better and more complete.

Father’s Day at the Spa

My message about Father’s day is going to be centered around my relationship with my father.  My dad is so important to me and my family.  I’m sure you guys realize how important my mom is to me.   She’s included in all of my messages, for very good reasons.  She is the star in my life.  That’s primarily because of my father.  He’s always taught his children to revere our mother.  There’s something to be said about someone who encourages you to appreciate someone else.  When I say “encourage,” that’s similar to “demand.”  Those of you who know my dad know what I mean.  My dad loved his mother and adored his daughter, and he loves my mother.  Of course, I was named after my father and I’m the oldest son.  My father is a force in my life, one that is ongoing, relentless, and totally dependable.  He will be 80 and he’s still going strong and sticking to his principles and making it happen.  My dad has taught me about strength, acceptance, and adaptability.  These lessons have given me a good life.

My father and mother have been examples and role models my whole life.  I’ll be 55 on July 2.  Some familiar with my lifelong condition would say I’m living on borrowed time.  I’ve been taught to believe/know that it’s by the grace of God that I’m still here with my family and friends.  Like my father, I’m an integral part of the lives of my family and friends.  African American men don’t typically live to be viable in their 80s.  My father and three of my uncles are still formidable.  It’s a legacy that my brother and I share.  My father has no problems speaking his mind.  Throughout his life, he’s been an example to all of us.  My father’s a worker.  He works through good and bad times.  It keeps him straight and proud.  He could live another lifestyle and he has my mom to encourage that.  But he’s comfortable and he shines in his domain and routine.  There’s something to be said for that.  But he doesn’t say it, he shows it.

Because of my dad, I think I’ve been attracted to and I’ve attracted a number of friends who’ve had strong fathers and loving mothers and who live to be worthy of that blessing.  They want to be good fathers and representative friends and community members.  I cherish my father for that.  I share with my friends the love toward their fathers.  There’s no escaping the blessing of the kind of man you can become when you have the kind of father you can relate to, look up to, and depend upon.  I’m thankful to be in their company and I live to reinforce those principles and encourage those practices because that’s what it’s about, doing the work and reaping the rewards of the kind of people you encourage and create.

Right now, I’m in the hospital for Father’s Day weekend.  I call it the “spa.”  I’ve got good nurses and doctors that have cared for me for about 7 years.  I’m still on a ventilator and I use a foley catheter to regulate my urine.  These things are foreign bodies that introduce me to bacteria every day.  Every now and then, I need to have a round of antibiotics to control the infections they create.  It’s a routine I’ve had to accept to stay alive.  I am alive and I am living to share and contribute to the lives of all of you.  My life is a testament to the grace of God and the love of family and friends, starting and continuing with the love of my father and mother and extending through the grace of all of you.

Take time to show affection and appreciation for your fathers.  Acknowledge the kind of person you’re trying to be because of their example.  Once again, on July 2, I’ll be turning 55 and the plan is for me to enjoy the blessing of seeing my father and mother and being with the people I love.  I love all of you!

Father’s Day 2012

Happy Father’s Day.  Once again, my favorite time of the year: Mother’s Day, graduation, my nephew’s birthday, the California primary, and Father’s Day.  I’m so blessed to have such a stellar father in my life.  He defies all the stereotypical perceptions of what an African American father should be in so many ways.  But he’s always been that way.  He’s charted his own course through a variety of life circumstances.  Adaptability, consistency, and determination are tendencies and talents that’s he combined to live an accomplished life.  It takes that type of person to inspire, encourage, and promote fatherhood and manhood to all the people that he’s encountered.  I’m blessed to have him and my brother as examples of fatherhood, brotherhood, and friendship.  I look around me and see that having them in my life has enabled me to attract similar people in my friends and associations.  Most of my considerable number of acquaintances are good fathers and have had good influences in their lives.

I think it’s important that you express appreciation to the fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends in your life that have provided comfort, support, and inspiration to you.  This greeting goes out to my considerable influences and comrades.  Thank you for your example and your encouragement.  It inspires and motivates me to see you with your families and activities in your community.  Times like this call for comfort, support, encouragement, and enthusiasm from the men and women that mean the most to us in our lives.  Those efforts should be acknowledged and encouraged.

Thank you Dad for providing me a frame of reference and a means to advise good fatherhood.  I love you all.

Our country will be looking for a father figure of sorts in November.  I’m hoping that you will look kindly on our current President, another dedicated father.  Let’s give him four more years and a chance to complete his mission and get our country moving in a better direction.