I am one of those guys Earl mentioned in his last blog post about Un-Father's Day. While my relationship with my dad was pretty good, we never really connected at a deep level because we really didn't know how to communicate our feelings to each other. He died unexpectedly one night, so I didn't get a last chance to have that important conversation, or even to say goodbye for that matter. I know he loved me and was proud of me; we just never put those feelings into words. I guess that's why, for me, working with young guys is so important. I want them to know they are really cared about.
I'm involved with a chapter of the Boys to Men Mentoring Network here in Virginia (BTMVA). In our group, I'd say most of the young men don't have a father present in their lives, and many of the boys never even knew their dads. In the picture below you'll see seven boys who are now J-Men, Journeymen graduates of our Rite of Passage Weekend on their graduation from 8th grade. Not one of them is connected with his father. The guys are from the projects, but they are kids lucky enough to go to a school, get a free education and at least a chance to succeed.
. . . at least he's had a chance to speak to his father
and tell him he loves him.
and tell him he loves him.
Unfortunately, Robert is getting shipped off to live with his aunt and uncle for the summer, and he will likely be there until he turns 18. In reality, it' a better place for him to live rather than just roaming the streets bored. But his dad is dying and it's unlikely he'll be able to be with him when he dies. My heart aches for him. It's like my situation, but at least he's had a chance to speak to his father and tell him he loves him.
I really encourage more men to get involved. If you want some ideas about what you can do, give Earl a shout, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply look around! I'm pretty sure without looking too hard you can find an organization supporting fatherless boys in your community. Like our Boys to Men organization, they will very much appreciate your time. I guarantee the young guys will love it too, and you'll be a better man as a result.
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