by Brittany Holst —
My Father’s Day salute starts with a stick shift (manual transmission) and after I bought my first car.
I learned to drive an automatic-transmission car in high school. Later, while in college studying communication, I decided to treat myself to something different – the experience of driving a “stick.” So I bought a car with one, with no idea of how to drive it.
Hmm! Why did I do that?
This is where fatherhood comes in.
For young boys, “Dad” is their first hero and for young girls, “Dad” is their first love. My father, Wayne, has always been an active part of my life. He took took me to a shopping center parking lot to teach me how to drive my “stick”.
I remember crying and telling him that I had made a mistake. I didn’t want the car anymore because I didn’t think I would ever figure out how to drive it.
Terrified, I stalled the car in the middle of an intersection. My Dad patiently encouraged me to keep trying. The next day, equipped with the knowledge and encouragement he provided, along with driving lessons from my Uncle Milton, I was driving my “stick shift” like a pro!
These days when I look at my husband, Zain, I can feel the love he has for our daughter, Niah. It warms my heart to see him interacting with her in the loving and caring way that he does.
A huge smile comes to my face when she runs to him with her arms extended to embrace him as he walks through the door after a long day at work. Watching them, it’s hard to tell which one is happier to see the other.
The relationship between father and child is cherished, creating lifelong memories. Attorney Tannera George-Gibson, daughter of the late Tanner M. George Sr., shares a case in point.
“My dad was one of a kind. He taught me the importance of being proud of who I am, my blackness, and being committed to serving my community.”
George, who died three years ago at 78, was a “community father.” In 2012, he published a book titled “The Inner City Progress Initiative© (ICPI),” described by the publisher as “a comprehensive plan that is designed to help inner city residents achieve social and economic progress.” The “About the Author” segment paints this picture:
“Tanner M. George, Sr. has long anguished over the lack of economics in the inner Cities of America. From teen pregnancy to gangs, AIDS, gun proliferation and no jobs, the absence of economics has played a dominant role in creating and perpetuating the dire state of millions of persons who reside in American Cities. Tanner is convinced that inner City residents desperately want to see their neighborhoods and communities make progress.
“According to Tanner George, the ‘inner City man’ is both the culprit and the victim in the sad saga that is played out daily. This is where Tanner has concentrated much of the ‘Inner City Progress Initiative’s’ effort. He feels that if the man is whole, many inner Cities’ problems will be waylaid and repaired by dad, husband, breadwinner, and community contributor.”
Growing up, George-Gibson remembers her DAD saying, “family is all that really matters in this world.” She and her eight siblings maintain that value and pass it on to their own children.
“And, at the end of the day, he taught us that you should always be able to laugh at yourself – never taking yourself too seriously,” she said.
“And that no matter what happens, in the midst of it all, you always have to smile.”
Today, fathers, we celebrate you for all your positives!
Thank you for being role models, grill masters and the teachers of bike riding, car driving and life lessons.
Thank you for teaching sons to be men and showing daughters how they should be treated by men and what love feels like.
Thanks for being pillars of strength, patience and wisdom.
Whether you are an adoptive dad, a biological dad, stepdad, godfather or an uncle who looks at a child as your own, you are an important factor in the child’s life.
Happy Father’s Day and thanks for being the source of the joy I/we get out of it!
(Brittany Jackson was part of the first corps of iTeen reporters for The New Tri-State Defender. Now as Brittany Holst, her iMom column is a periodic look at motherhood through millennial eyes.)