Marvin Sapp talks about fatherhood, being an empty nester, and new show on OWN

Marvin Sapp talks about fatherhood, being an empty nester, and new show on OWN
Marvin Sapp (Photo courtesy of OWN)

Gospel singer, songwriter, father and pastor Marvin Sapp is a Grammy-nominated artist from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has released many gospel favorites including, “Best in Me” and “Never Would Have Made It.”

Sapp discussed his journey in fatherhood with rolling out. 

What would you say you’ve learned about yourself and in life by being called “dad”?

You know, I think what I’ve learned most importantly, about being a father in general, is that being a dad is not a sprint, but it’s a marathon. What [fathers] tend to fail to understand is that it is extremely important that we are not just financially present, but that we’re physically present as well. And that’s what this show is all about. “They Call Me Dad” is coming on OWN Sept. 14.

What more can you tell readers about the show?

It’s about four men who have taken on the responsibility of trying to impact and ensure that our children are productive. It’s us making sure that we are giving them what they need in order to succeed in every area and avenue of their lives.

What would you tell young men who are embarking upon fatherhood?

I would tell them the most important thing that they need to understand, don’t just be there financially, but be present physically. And then not only that, but for men who may have issues with a baby mama, or baby mamas who may have issues with the fathers of their children, to get to a space where we’re willing to lay down and let go for the benefit of the child. I think that once we get to that place, the rest of our children’s days will be the best of their days.

How did you manage your career and parenting young children?

Trying to figure out how to manage traveling, pastoring, I was still yet at the top of my career musically. I was still writing multiplatinum songs. And at the same time, I had to figure out how in the world was I going to learn how to do a little girl’s hair. I’ve learned over the 11 years that God really won’t put more on you than you can bear. Now, no matter how many times I sing it, no matter how many times I stood up and had to preach it, living it is a whole ‘nother animal. So, I realized that God knew that he had already put in me what I needed to get through this situation.

Now, they’re 27, 24, and 22. I’m an empty nester. My son is doing extremely well as an executive at Amazon. My daughter’s in her master’s program. The other one is finishing her second bachelor’s. You look back over your life and you say, “OK, God, I didn’t see, I didn’t know, nor did I understand.” Now I realize that the songwriter was right, that there are some situations that happen in your life that make you stronger, wiser and better.

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