Darnell Williams, aka Gifted Barber, pens open letter on how he values fatherhood

Darnell Williams and his daughter (Courtesy)
Darnell Williams and his daughter (Courtesy)

The ability to father a child is special because, unfortunately, every man isn’t capable of reproduction. Being in my 40s, I now see that having children is a blessing. In my younger years, I wasn’t aware of the vast amount of couples who experience infertility and have difficulties trying to start families. When you are a youngin’, your mindset is that kids come a dime a dozen but when you speak with a friend as an adult who can’t have a child, it’s a hard reality check and makes you extremely grateful for your blessing from God.

My mission as a father is to be a master character builder. I think if my daughter’s character is solid, she will have the ability to survive independently and be successful in this cold world we live in. Some of the components of strong character from my point of view are spirituality, morals, values, self-esteem, education, honor, goals, charity, consciousness, dreams, personality, compassion, culture, versatility and a sense of humor. As a father, I also try to instill the leadership qualities that will enable my daughter to be a thinker and a problem solver.

Reading to your child forms an unbreakable bond between a father and his child. The way your child looks at you and is comforted by the sound of your voice is an indescribable feeling. Also, it’s your child’s introduction to reading and you would hope it sparks a connection to reading that lasts a lifetime … good luck with that!

The trust thing with a child is a hard battle. I think you establish trust with being nurturing, dependable and objective but somewhere in the growing process, a child seems to think that you were never their age and you have completely no idea what you are talking about. It takes a couple of “I told you so” moments for it to resonate with children that “oh maybe my parents do know what they are talking about.” As far as communication is concerned, I think that it’s gender tilted. What I mean by that is girls tend to share the small things with their moms. Fathers do the heavy lifting.

I am the encourager in the education process. Always encouraging my daughter to do her best and never give up. Also, letting her know it’s OK to ask for help if there is something that she doesn’t understand. I continuously stress the importance of a solid education and where it can take her in life. It’s key to stay actively involved in school activities to provide parental visibility at her school. I participate in some homework activities but my wife handles the bulk of that. I’m not too keen with this new math that they are teaching and not to mention my wife is the smartest woman I know!

I’ve learned that patience is everything! My daughter taught me that patience was not my best quality but I’ve listened and worked on it. Listening to your child opens up their communication skills and allows them to feel comfortable expressing themselves.

My best memory of my father is simply always being there. I have a lot of memories that I could go on forever talking about but the most important memory is having my dad in my life, my entire life. I’m 45 years old and we still talk on the phone, watch games, drink beer and signify … boy do we signify! Growing up in a household with both parents is crucial to your development as a child. It introduces you to love, family, commitment and sacrifice. My parents are still together, 58 years going strong, and my father still treats my mom like his girlfriend, so of course I still treat my wife like my girlfriend. When your father is present inside the home, there is no need to look outside for a role model. He’s right in the other room.

Being a father is the greatest joy a man can have. A huge responsibility, but well worth it.

The only things I didn’t get from my father were due to me not listening. He provided me with all of the tools of life, now what I decided to do with them were completely up to me.

When I hug my child, I feel at peace. It’s the best feeling in the world holding my gift from God.

I teach my child that anything is possible. She can accomplish anything she wants to if she puts her mind to it and gives it her best shot and consistent prayer. Having a strong, degreed black woman as a mother and a black woman in the White House as first lady are excellent motivators. Not to mention the Misty Copelands and Serena Williams being out front in theater and sports. Seeing is believing. I also teach her to be a leader and dance to the beat of her own drum. You define you.

When I see my child, everything that is wrong becomes alright for that moment. It’s like I’m looking at my angel on earth.

Fathers should be respected, loving, present, supportive and diligent. I don’t want my daughter to have any worries because she knows her daddy has her back no matter what.

I want my child to say, “My father may not have been the best but he gave our family his best and I love him dearly. He set the bar for how I expect to be treated by a man and what I expect from men.”

Darnell Williams
“Gifted Barber”

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