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.


  1. Beautiful! My hubs had a rough relationship with his father, then none at all, and now slowly he's working to restore as much as possible with his father. Even though he's 28 years old, he still wishes he had a daddy. All the time people wonder out loud how he "turned out" the way he did with such a rough childhood, and he replies "Jesus." We pray constantly that our boys see their earthy Daddy and are fulfilled, while missing their other biological fathers, all yearning for the day they get to meet their heavenly Father. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. There is really not many things I love more than a good Daddy. Mine, like yours, is the absolute best. I pray for my babies that don't have a daddy in their life every day. I pray for them because I know that they think prison is normal. I pray because they think they can never grow up to be a good one. They think the good ones are the ones that buy the kids cool clothes and sneakers. It's so hard to help them understand. Being a Daddy is a huge responsibility.

  3. hi shannan... i found myself crying... i'm not even sure why... i have a good relationship with my dad... but this series that they're trying to put together... it needs to happen... i hope that there are more episodes... it's full of learning experiences and HOPE and i love that... thanks for sharing...

    1. I agree - this needs to happen! Sharing it on twitter or facebook and getting as many views as possible is a great way to help. Thanks so much!

  4. In "Fight Club" the Tyler Durden character says:

    "Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?"

    This really made an impact on me. One that has carried through to how I raise my own children. I wish I were a more perfect father, the Platonic ideal instead of the shadow on the cave wall. But I do my best; I enter into my children's worlds and I am present with them. Except when I don't and when I am not.

    I am sure that one day they will have to come to terms with my failings. It seems that all children, especially boys have to deal with that. I just hope that we have enough of a relationship that I can help them through it and apologize when needed.

    1. AMEN to all of this.
      Thanks for sharing that quote. I think you and Cory have discussed it before but I love being reminded.

    2. Thanks for the reminder. I did and didn't have the idyllic childhood. I had alcoholic parents who found the Lord. Enough said in areas that leave scars and areas where my dad did try to be a better dad. We had camping trips, holidays and birthdays. They may not be on the grand scale but he did try. I remember the Christmas I got a curling iron. My dad picked it out and wrapped it just for me. That was my best Christmas ever and now with me and my sister fighting cancer he has been the rock. Showed up for every appointment, held our hands and lets us know he is praying for us. A change from God for sure and for that I am truly thankful this holiday season.

  5. I loved the honesty and it must have been tough! Hope they get to make more!

    On a totally different note, The Insanity of God is only $0.99 on kindle today!!!! (If you have one......)

  6. Ha. I subscribed to SoulPancake through e-mail after watching his KidPresident videos, which I found after searching for the Stella Sisters (from the show Nashville). He interviewed them in one. Funny how Nashville, SoulPancake and you are all linked for me now. I will be sure to watch your friends' video and forward it on.

  7. So thankful for the tribute to your PAPA. Thankful to see this picture.

  8. Wow. That video was spot on. We do our best with the resources we have. Everyday we wake up with the determination to do better. What a lovely viewing on this Thanksgiving weekend. It brought back lovely memories of my Dad whom I miss so very much.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your amazing article about father. i'm also father and i know what father responsibility. i have two childen and some times and feel trid during perform my responsibility. but i must say amazing article.
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