Commentary by Alexander Hamilton
It all starts with Dad. You may not realize the level of support. I know a lot of people in the community are hurting and don’t have family that will step up to the plate and help them get out of less than desirable situations. Now it is time to take responsibility for your own life. It is time to live above the line, above the line of shifting the blame on the “man,” shifting the blame on our circumstances and even shifting the blame to society. Don’t get me wrong there are contributing factors from each of these situations that will influence outcomes that happen in our lives. However, a wise young woman once told me that even though it is not our fault, it is our responsibility to change our lives and our destiny.
Part of not shifting the blame is to know where your resources lie. You see, even though you have a family by blood, they may not be actively involved in your life. Not having family in your life can be detrimental to your future. Yet, I want you to entertain the thought that the family that you need is right in your own back yard.
You see, your key to your future all starts with dad. There are “dads” in the community who- though they are not related by blood- still have the potential to be your family. Not a replacement but they are can be a fill in. I will use myself as an example. There is a reason that people call me “DAD.” I support people by being that voice of reason in their life. I can help with looking options logically and practically. I will also be their biggest cheerleader. You see, their success is my success- when they win I win. Why? Because I treat these people looking for help as my child – not by blood but by the fact that I want to be in their life and help them succeed.
You see, I need people to change their thinking on some things. In order for them to succeed in life, they will need to look at the possibility of having more than one parent. I want to give them practical advice that they can take with them throughout life. There are also other “dads” in the community that people can turn to for help and support. The journey of a thousands miles begins with one small step.
For instance, Jim Schlecht is a grassroots community services “DAD” who helps people get into housing or helps with identification or access to health care. So you would call on him when you are in need of those types of services or when I can’t help you with short or long term housing solutions.
Art McCoy is another “DAD.” He is your community advocate to help when someone you love or care about is killed. He works with families to help them remember loved ones and help families find ways to stop the senseless violence that happens in our community.
Lastly, there are community leaders who have taken the initiative to reach out to fathers who need help maintaining relationships with their children. Absent Fatherhood is at an all time high in our community. Yet, few men know that there are people in the community who have taken the first step towards making sure that fathers are able to have that role that they have been given. So, if you don’t have a father who was active in your life, it is okay. There are organizations that will help you acquire the skills you need to become successful as a father and ultimately as a man. Celebrate your fatherhood or the men in your life that are available to you to mentor and help you grow.
You do have the resources you need. You just need to be able to do the foot work to get to the people who can you take the next step. You can contact me through the Street Chronicle.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle August 2013 Cleveland, Ohio