Robert Hughes talks fatherhood and how his children inspire him

Robert Hughes and his children - Photo courtesy of family
Robert Hughes and his children (Photo courtesy of the Hughes family)

Fathers are critical to the healthy development of children. A vast majority of the violence that has taken place in urban areas across America is a result of the lack of guidance and the presence of a father. A father represents strength, stability and love. The absence of these traits in the life of a young Black man can prove to be fatal. 

Father’s Day is upon us and we are taking time to talk to the men who have stood up and done what is necessary to raise their children. We asked a few questions and the common theme is love. Love moves mountains. We honor and respect fathers who are engaged and active in their children’s lives. 

We spoke to Robert Hughes about being a father. He explained his mission as a father and how he tries to guide his children.

Describe what makes being a father special.
It gives me the experience of unconditional love. I have little people that I can mold and mentor. They are the best parts of yourself.

What is a father’s mission?
There’s no simple mission. I think we all want to guide kids to be better versions of ourselves. I fight against that model because I want them to be individuals but aware of their reflection on their family and their responsibility to a greater good.

What would you share with a new father about reading to his child?
Reading time is bonding time. Kids will associate you with learning and it will set a foundation for reading later in life.

How have you established trust with your children?
I have always told my kids that I will always take care of them and that I will never lie to them. There have been very adult and real-life things that they have needed explanation for over the years. I had to give it to them honestly even when it hurt. I am direct, fair as possible and don’t judge. And for me it’s less about punishment and more about being honest with me so that I can help them.

How do you play a role in the education of your children?
I seek out ways to keep them engaged in school but also make sure they’re taught or exposed to things that aren’t taught in schools.

Describe the best moment that allowed you to push forward because of something your child did or said.
My son, who was 3 or 4 at the time, quoted a line from a movie that he saw recently that basically said that the past is over and it’s the only thing that could keep you from being happy tomorrow. He was spot-on for my personal problems at the time. It’s like he saw my soul.

What have you learned about yourself because of your children?
I’ve learned that our time here on Earth is limited. The years are flying by with them right before my eyes and we have to enjoy each other.

What is your best memory of your father?
I don’t have a best memory but I remember the times when I felt like a priority the most.

Finish the sentences:

Being a father is 
The hardest job without any training. But if you truly love them, your endless effort to improve as a father is all you need to succeed at it

Give whatever you did not get from your father because 
You should know what it’s like to miss those things.

When I hug my child I feel 
I feel a sense of pride, gratitude and occasionally a fear for their well-being as they grow older.

I teach my child 
Everything I can almost anytime I can. They know that I’ll unload all kinds of info on them when they show interest in something.

When I see my child my 
I see versions of myself at their ages.

Fathers should 
Recognize that “being there” is not an option and being selfless more times than not is how it’s likely to be

I want my children to say my father 
As adults they should hopefully say that he’s a good man that tried and he raised me to stay [a]wake. He is a creative spirit that was all dad at first but he’s now one of my best friends.

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