With Father’s Day quickly approaching, I wanted to write you a love letter. You were my first love, my rock, and the epitome of what it means to be a protector and a provider. Your love & presence created space for me to flourish into the best version of myself. I have so many fond childhood memories of the time you & I spent together, Daddy. I have never known a time when you were not available for me; you have been a soft place for me to land at my lowest moments. Daddy, when I think of you and what you mean to me, I think of your strength, your steadfastness, your consistency, your perseverance, your kindness, your ambition, and your ever-present calmness. It’s hard not to get emotional when I think of you because you have shown me how to love, with your words and your actions. I am deeply grateful for your presence in my life. Your love is one of the main ingredients in the recipe that is me. I will be forever grateful that I got to be (and still am) your little girl.
In good times, bad times, and all the times in between, my father has been my constant. He has taught me everything I know about entrepreneurship, servant leadership, and creating opportunities for others to win. He taught me to be a woman of integrity and to allow nothing to stop me from pursuing my dreams. He has shown me what it means to love your children unconditionally by doing so with me and my siblings. My dad always led with love, even when my choices and behavior did not reflect the standards he upheld for me.
I’ll never forget the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach on the day that I had to tell my parents I was close to flunking out of school. It was near the end of my freshmen year at Hampton University. I was having lots of fun on the social scene and barely dedicating any time to my studies. Who cared about a philosophy exam when there was a step show or party to go to that night?! I certainly did not! As far as I was concerned, that philosophy exam was simply trying to get in the way of my good time, and I was not going to let it. Everything was fine and good until midterm grades were released. As soon as I saw mine, I knew that my good times were about to come to a screeching halt.
My grades had me stressed and embarrassed. While I loved to have fun, I did not want to bring shame to my family. My parents had worked so hard to pay for my tuition. Seeing my poor grades was the rude awakening I needed to get my priorities straight. Even in my questionable decision making, my father was loving and understanding. He didn’t judge me or speak harshly to me. He corrected me while providing me with the support I needed to get back on track with my studies. This is just one of dozens of examples of my father loving me when I didn’t love myself.
My father has given me his unyielding and unwavering love and presence throughout my entire life. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams. He showed me the value of hard work by being a successful entrepreneur. He demonstrated the importance of philanthropy with his generous and giving spirit. There has never been a time when I could not count on him to be there for me with a kind word, sound advice—even financial support.
He was at the hospital for the birth of each of my children. He was the first person I saw when I came out of heart surgery. He has attended every business opening and event that I have had, purchased more than 100 copies of every book I’ve written, and has financially supported every business venture I have conceived. He’s been a pillar in my family, my life, and in the lives of my husband and my children. My heart is overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all that my father has done for me. I know my siblings agree with me when I say that we are beyond blessed to have him.
Black Fatherhood is so important. On this coming Father’s Day—and every day—let’s celebrate the amazing fathers in our lives. Let’s commit to being more intentional about thanking them, encouraging them, and communicating to them just how much they mean to us.
Who are the wonderful Black fathers and/or father figures in your life? I hope that reading my love letter to my daddy has inspired you to write a love letter to yours. Take some time to write down how much he means to you. Tell him all the ways that he has impacted your life.
How has your father’s love shaped who you are today? Write him a letter, Sis, and let him know.Leave a Comment