Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Fatherhood Project

From the time we began intentionally walking toward urban American poverty, aside from all of the faith issues it raised in me, I've also spent a lot of time thinking about two specific things: Education, and Fathers.

I see babies who will grow into fathers and fathers who have barely left childhood. We sit here at center-stage, the vicious cycle of abandonment-suffering-lack of knowledge-parenthood-abandonment-suffering swirling over our heads and right under our noses. When a boy never learns what a father is, how can he possibly hope to do better? When a boy learns to hate his dad, to never trust him, how can he chart a different course with his own children? And how can a young mother hold realistic expectations for the father of her children, when her own caused her untold pain?

I'd wager none of us here had perfect dads. My relationship with my dad has been frustrating at times, complicated in patches. We've struggled to find common ground and shared interests. But there has never been a day when I was unsure of my status with him - fully loved. My childhood is rooted in both my parents, my Dad grounded us, he ground us still. Despite his own weaknesses and regardless of our own, he etched our names across his heart, he still keeps his promises.

It hurts to admit I've taken that for granted at times.

Now, I look at the lives around me and ask the question, though I know the answer - how would things be different for them if they had what I have?

We're simple beings, defaulting most often to the thing we know best. In some cases, this happens to be the ideal. We're lucky enough to have predictable patterns to trace. We know a little about self-sacrifice and providing. It became part of our fabric when we weren't even looking.

Others struggle against a fate they didn't ask for. Some manage to learn what matters in spite of all they lacked - an education holding greater capacity to change the world than any Ivy League degree.

It's a complex reality, one worthy of our sincere thought and attention.
There's got to be a better way.

My friend Corby Tyson just produced a pilot show for Rainn "Dwight Shrute" Wilson's production company, Soulpancake.

It's titled The Fatherhood Project and it will pierce you and make you nostalgic and possibly weepy. It might break your heart. It might leave you feeling hopeful, or ready for change.

If this pilot episode gets enough views, they'll put additional episodes into production following the same Fatherhood theme. This is the power of media at its best.

Have a watch. And please, share on facebook and twitter so this story can continue.

ps - Happy Birthday, Papa. I love you and appreciate all the ways you keep on trying and working for our family. Also, the hooded rainbow shirt you bought me for Christmas when I was a little girl will always be my favorite, because you picked it just for me.