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22 People Share The Invaluable Lessons Their Dad Has Taught Them

Happy Father’s Day!

06/17/2016 05:30 pm ET | Updated 2 hours ago
Taryn Finley Black Voices Associate Editor, The Huffington Post

A loving father is there to comfort, to encourage and to help instill wisdom that will guide his child on his or her journey in life. Though his love is appreciated year-round, Father’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate him.

This Father’s Day, HuffPost Black Voices asked readers to tell us what lessons they’ve learned from their dad or father figure. Take notes from these 23 awesome daddy lessons and tell us what you’ve learned from your dad in the comments below.

Some submissions have been edited for grammar, punctuation and brevity.

  • “Whether it is learning something new, or learning a new way of doing something old, we both are always willing to try it.”
    Courtesy of Michael Bradford
“My Father is Ronnie Bradford, Sr. It’s not just the lessons he has taught me, but the lessons we teach other every time we talk. Whether it is learning something new, or learning a new way of doing something old, we both are always willing to try it. When it comes to doing things together, like moving, we don’t have to have a discussion about it. We don’t have to explain how we are going to do anything together.” - Michael Bradford on his father Ronnie Bradford, Sr.
  • “He is still a fighter.”
    Courtesy of David Moore
“My father, David Moore, Sr. has ever been an inspiration to us all. His twin sister died in childbirth and he barely survived, and he has had respiratory issues his entire life. He is still a fighter. His dietary and exercise practices have been exemplary. But two more things are at least as — if not more — important. First, he inspired his nine children when he attended UC Santa Barbara, the same university as some of his kids, but a decade after I graduated! He earned his B.S. as a grandfather. Additionally, he insists on being my mother’s primary caregiver. They have been married for 62 years. Everything he does seems to inform the way his offspring live.” - David Moore, Jr. on his father David Moore, Sr.
  • “One important lesson my father taught me was to draw a moral line in the sand and never cross it.”
    Courtesy of Tuere Rodriguez
“One important lesson my father taught me was to draw a moral line in the sand and never cross it. That lesson has taken me a long way in my life and my career. That, and how to make a great breakfast! Lol! I truly admire the man he has become!” - Tuere Rodriguez on her father, John Michael Rodriguez
  • “Be humbled to see your mistakes, admit them, and wise enough to correct them.”
    Courtesy of Nina Babel
“He continues to be my rock and soul, even in spirit. One of the biggest #DaddyLessons from my father gave was when I was in college. Like any other freshman, I partied myself into academic probation. I anxiously looked up to see my grades posted at the end of the semester. I was in shock after the first grade, second...last one. My father came home and found me with my hair cut short and in a yoga pose ohhmmmmm’g to myself. He asked me what [was] wrong. I just handed him my college transcript, and waited with baited breath for him to go ballistic. He didn’t. I don’t know why I even thought he would. My father never raised his voice. He said, ‘Nina, you’re 19 years old. It’s not the end of the world. You have a whole life ahead of you. Learn from it and apply the lessons to your future.’ He gave me the confidence that can overcome any adversity even at the hand of my own doing. Failure is an option. Be humbled to see your mistakes, admit them, and wise enough to correct them. Forgot the mistakes and remember this lesson. I’ve been applying them ever since.” - Nina Babel on her father, Sylbert Babel
  • “Daddy taught me to believe in myself, know that I could do ANYTHING that I set out to do despite the odds of being an African American, a woman and not from a rich family.”
    Courtesy of Sharon D. Allison-Ottey
“On June 22, 2015, my life was forever changed and I am still currently fighting through this devastation... I now face my first Father’s Day without...the greatest man that there ever was, my daddy! Daddy taught me to believe in myself, know that I could do ANYTHING that I set out to do despite the odds of being an African American, a woman and not from a rich family— none of that mattered! When faced with racism and sexism, he didn’t coddle me. He simply said, ‘Prove them wrong!’ and that spurned me on with a drive that still pushes me today. He taught me that I was of extreme value all wrapped up in his profound belief in a power greater than himself of any human— his unyielding faith in God which he taught us must be our foundation. My daddy taught all through his example, words and deeds that LOVE never fails and that if we hold fast to our love for our God, our family and ourselves that we WIN each and every time!” - Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, on her father Thomas Edward Allison
  • “It is the things that come from me that count more then the things that come to me.”
    Courtesy of Alicia Wallace
“My Dad used to get dressed in the morning and look at himself in a full length mirror and say ‘it don’t get no better than this!’ to encourage himself for the day and acknowledge that he ‘looks better than Denzel Washington.’ I get my confidence from him, from watching that and from knowing that I am loved. I am confident enough to verbalize and actualize the blessings I have in life. That’s priceless. Lesson from my dad: ‘It is the things that come from me that count more then the things that come to me.’” - Maya Wallace on her father, Harvey Wallace
  • “My father taught me being unapologetically YOU was the best way to impact the world around you.”
    Courtesy of Jarad Davis
“I’ve observed my father achieve many great things in his life. To ascend to the level of executive in a predominately white corporate world without the traditional credentials was motivating. To be front and center as he pastored a church to heights people doubted he could was awe inspiring. But my respect for my father truly catapulted when I found out he wasn’t Superman. When he was transparent enough to share his flaws and his fears with me is when I learned the truly valuable lessons about life. His vulnerability didn’t make me feel good about my own flaws and fears, but it did let me know I was not alone. My father taught me being unapologetically YOU was the best way to impact the world around you.” Jarad Davis on his father, Pastor Carl Davis
  • “He’s taught me to aspire to greatness.”
    Courtesy of Zeba Blay
“My father, Kabral Blay-Amihere, has taught me so many lessons in my life, but the biggest one is the lesson of believing in yourself. Although I was raised by my mother, all my life my father has stood as a beacon and a reminder of the possibilities of life. He’s taught me to aspire to greatness. He studied at Harvard and the London School of Economics, become the president of the Ghana Institute of Journalism at just 28, and even served as Ghana’s Ambassador to both Sierra Leone and Cote d’ Ivoire. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve also always been afraid that people would not think I’m ‘good enough.’ ‘Don’t worry about that,’ my father once told me. ‘If you think you’re good enough, that is all that matters.’ My dad is a constant reminder to me that whatever my dreams or aspirations are, I can achieve them, no matter the circumstances in my life. I know I can because he did.” - Zeba Blay on her father, Kabral Blay-Amihere
  • “He wanted me to understand the importance of be timely with responsibilities.”
    Courtesy of Shawnta Barnes
“My dad raised three girls and he wanted us to be independent women. When I was ten, he would have me open the bills, write the checks, and balance his checkbook. He would check my work for accuracy before I placed the checks inside of the envelopes. He wanted me to understand the importance of being timely with responsibilities. He also wanted us to understand the rewards of sacrifice and saving for the future. Because my dad worked seven days a week and saved money, I did not bring any debt with me when I married my husband. My father wanted my sisters and I to be able to survive in this world as proud black women whether we decided to get married or not. Because of his continued dedication and devotion, we know we can always depend on him even as adults.” - Shawnta Barnes on her father, James Stockton
  • “He made sure I knew that black was and always will be beautiful.”
    Courtesy of Brittany King
“Growing up, my dad made sure I knew that I could be whoever I wanted to be as long as I worked hard for it. He never stifled my creativity or imagination (he spent a lot of Saturdays at my pretend tea parties). He made sure I knew that black was and always will be beautiful. He celebrated my mother, her blackness; treated her like a queen. He instilled in me to never allow myself to be a product of my situation. He came from a poor, single parent household, was a first generation college graduate and went back to get is MBA while still providing for his family. Through his actions alone he has shown me what it means to be a man, a Christian and a hard worker. He’s taught me to respect all, not just those who you think will help you get ahead in life. He’s given me a lot of tough love, and I hated him for it at the time, but it has made me so much stronger. I’m so blessed to have such a strong man in my life, cheering me on, always. I love you so much, Dad.” - Brittany King on her dad, Rod King
  • “If there’s one thing he ever taught me, it’s that if it could get worse it’s already better.”
    Courtesy of Tziah McNair
“Who is my dad? He is a pastor, a husband, a hard worker, a musician and a leader. He is all these things, yet so much more. He’s a father of four children. No one could ever possibly compare to him. If there’s one thing he ever taught me, it’s that if it could get worse, it’s already better. And when things feel like they couldn’t get any worse, he makes it better. That’s why, I wish my father. C. Colier McNair, the best Father’s Day ever❤️��������” - Tziah McNair on her father, C. Colier McNair
  • “[He] always taught us to stay true to ourselves and not to change who we were just to fit in.”
    Courtesy of Jenae Green
“We could go on and on with all the lessons our father, Geoff Green, has taught us but our greatest lesson was watching him lead by example. He would take jobs and promotions that led to moves that forced us out of our comfort zones to provide a better life for our family but always taught us to stay true to ourselves and not to change who we were just to fit in. In these times he emphasized how important it was that the four of us stick together no matter what. He instilled adventure in us, encouraged us to get involved in sports and made traveling a priority to exemplify living life to the fullest. He would physically stand outside in challenging weather to show us never be afraid to face any storms that come our way. Our dad taught us a lot of things but the best thing was having him in our lives to show us what it means to be a real man and father. He is our real life superhero. We love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day.” - “The Green Kids” on their father, Geoff Green
  • “[H]e taught me to love myself.”
    Courtesy of Jessica Davis
“My dads name is Paul Davis, and he taught me to love myself. He gave me a book called ‘In Praise of Black Women’ that celebrates ancient African queens throughout history. I grew up in a community, neighborhood and school where my family was one of only a few families of color, and black beauty wasn’t acknowledged. My dad never wanted me to lose sight of my beauty, so he would read the book with me to make sure that I knew I was black and beautiful.” - Jessica Davis on her father, Paul Davis
  • “He was equipping me with the knowledge and confidence to start my own path and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
    Courtesy of Jamelia Thomas
“There’s three things my pops doesn’t play with: education, money and boys. I grew up with a strict father. Just like any other Black father but being an only child and a girl, daddy spoiled me well, but not too much. My pops has always been in my life — whether he was helping me with homework, supporting band concerts and basketball games, and just teaching me about life. I started school early and my dad didn’t want me to get behind, so every day after school he would make me work out of these educational workbooks so that I would be ahead of the curriculum. He only wanted the best for me. He would say, as long as I was trying my best that’s all he could ask for. His most notable quote was to be a leader and not a follower. He wasn’t raising me to follow what everyone else was doing. He was equipping me with the knowledge and confidence to start my own path and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I owe a lot to my pops and I’m forever grateful to have such a great father in my life. Thank you.” - Jamelia Thomas on her father, Melvin Thomas, Jr.
  • “[Y]ou’ve always taught me that I have more than what it takes to reach my goals.”
    Courtesy of Taryn Finley
“Wow. I’m sitting here thinking about how supportive you’ve been and continue to be and I just keep thinking about how blessed I am to have a daddy like you. From learning how to ride a bike to pledging Delta to going to grad school, you’ve always taught me that I have more than what it takes to reach my goals. Every step of the way, you’ve believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I could go on and on about everything you’ve instilled in me — and continue to — but there truly aren’t enough words in this world that would do you justice. Your patience, love and wisdom has helped me become the woman I am. But no matter how old I get, I promise to always be ‘daddy’s big baby.’ I love you, daddy! Happy Father’s Day!” - Taryn Finley on her father, Richard Finley
  • “He has always taught me shoot for the stars and to never give up.”
    Courtesy of Brittany Crowley
“Robert Farris is the best example of a Father I could ever ask for. He loves me unconditionally and taught me how to remain strong in the face of adversity. My Father should not be the man he is. Statistics say he should be locked up or an addict.  He was an addict and he, by the grace of God, is sober and has been for several years. He taught me that as a black woman, I have to be mindful of the choices I make. And that those choices have a direct impact on the future God has for me and my family. Because my father took time to invest in me and my life, I am married, with two children and on my way to law school. He has always taught me to shoot for the stars and to never give up. Most importantly he showed me to never allow my mistakes to define me. My first best friend. My daddy.” - Brittany Crowley on her father, Robert Farris
  • “He reminds me daily that I have a duty to be happy and healthy.”
    Courtesy of Bana Tesfagiorgis
“Hidget – that means ‘forgiveness’ in Tigrinya. This is probably the most important lesson my father has taught me. Anger and resentment that is built up inside of you will make you become someone you don’t recognize, ultimately affecting your mental and spiritual well-being. He reminds me daily that I have a duty to be happy and healthy. Other people’s wrongdoings should not be a burden I carry with me. When I forgive, I recognize that we are all human; we all make mistakes. What’s important is the lessons we learn when someone has hurt or disappointed us. And just as I forgive, I will also seek someone else’s forgiveness because I, too, am flawed... and that’s such a humbling reminder.” - Bana Tesfagiorgis on her father, Teklai Tesfagiorgis
  • “He never let me forget that my voice matters in this world, and I have a responsibility to use it for purposes greater than myself.”
    Courtesy of Anna Francois
“My father instilled sage wisdom that has been passed down through Black families for generations, including “a closed mouth don’t get fed”. He never let me forget that my voice matters in this world, and I have a responsibility to use it for purposes greater than myself. As a woman of color, that had made all the difference.” - Anna Francois on her father, Donald Childs
  • “Life is all about the choices and decisions YOU make.”
    Courtesy of LaToya Brooks
“My dad is a super proud, hard working man, and the most important lesson he’s given me is ‘Life is all about the choices and decisions YOU make.’ That never really made sense to me until I found myself in some hairy situations. I know I’ve always been the wild child and rebel; but I do appreciate all of his advice, him sharing his life lessons with me, and the jewels of wisdom he has bestowed upon me. So, Happy Father’s Day to the greatest father ever, my Pop... Love you.” - LaToya Brooks on her father, June Brooks
  • “My father provided an excellent daily example of what it means to be responsible, all while going above and beyond to help others in our immediate family and community.”
    Courtesy of Kenneth L. Johnson
“My father Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr., provided me with many lessons in my lifetime, but I believe the life lesson that continues to bare fruit are the [ones] of ‘responsibility and sharing.’ My father provided an excellent daily example of what it means to be responsible, all while going above and beyond to help others in our immediate family and community of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. This may seem like a very trivial lesson in the ‘big picture of life,’ but I promise you, the principles associated with responsibility for yourself, family and community have guided me everyday since I left my parent’s home at 17 to attend The University of Maryland. All of my subsequent accomplishments have been a direct result of the lesson of responsibility and for that I say… Thanks Dad!” - Kenneth L. Johnson on his father, father Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr.
  • “He always found time no matter how tired he was.”
    Tonia Nwachuku
“My father, Dr. Victor Nwachuku, is a great dad. One of my earliest memories of him was when he would come in from a long shift at the hospital, he would take me and my brother into the backyard and play soccer with us or help us put together a kite... He always found time no matter how tired he was...” - Tonia Nwachuku on her father, Victor Nwachuku
  • “He’s always taught me to work hard and dream big.”
    Courtesy of Brianna Baker
“This is my dad, Anthony Baker, and I at my first daddy daughter dance. He’s always been such a great example of a leader. He worked as a special education teacher at the elementary school I went to and everyone loved him. Now he works as an assistant principal at a middle school. He’s always taught me to work hard and dream big. A few years ago, he went back to school to get his masters degree and now he’s working on his doctorate all while holding down a full time job. He’s my inspiration.” - Brianna Baker on her father, Anthony Baker

  Yeah...I'm putting this here.  Somethin wrong?  He a father too.  And despite everyone's else disappointment in him?  I STILL love him.    Cuz why?  I ain't a follower.  Have my OWN mind.  He's brilliant to me and that's ALL that matters in my world.   


How Obama’s Presidency Has Been A Victory For Working Parents

The 44th president’s legacy will include his strong advocacy for families.

06/19/2016 08:02 am ET
Mollie Reilly Deputy Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
President Barack Obama, pictured here with his daughters, has pushed for policies like paid parental leave. 

As President Barack Obama approaches the end of his second term, there’s been much discussion of what his legacy will be. While much of that debate focuses on his foreign policy or his sweeping domestic policies, such as the Affordable Care Act, there’s another area where the 44th president has left a significant mark: making life easier for millions of working parents.

“His administration has spent a lot of time and energy explaining why family-friendly policies are good for business, and providing a platform for employers to share their own views on the topic,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Those policies have included expanding paid parental leave and sick time, emphasizing gender equality in parenting and reducing some of the costs associated with having children. (There have also been some misses — family policy advocates pointed to the administration’s continued deportation raids targeting mothers and children as a major disappointment.) 

“This administration has focused in on those issues in ways that previous administrations did not,” says Heather Boushey, the executive director and chief economist of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, noting that’s been driven in part by the Obama administration’s ideology and in part by the economic conditions over the last decade. 

Here are some of the ways Obama’s presidency has benefited parents:

He’s emphasized giving new mothers and fathers the time off they need.

“We are a nation that, on the one hand, both encourages and preaches about the importance of being good parents to your children,” says Ellen Bravo of Family Values @ Work, an advocacy group that pushes for paid sick and family leave. “And yet for millions Americans, doing exactly that will cost them their financial security.” 

Obama has pushed to make it possible for parents to be both engaged with their children and financially secure, signing an executive action granting federal workers six weeks of paid leave after a child is born. He’s also urged Congress and state legislatures to expand paid leave, and emphasized the issue in his 2015 State of the Union address. The Labor Department, meanwhile, has given grants to states exploring the benefits of granting more workers paid leave.

This emphasis appears to have had some trickle-down effects. Cities like New York, San Francisco and Austin have moved forward on their own to grant workers paid family leave. The issue also became an important one on the campaign trail throughout the primary season. And while just 12 percent of Americans currently have access to paid parental leave, there seems to be a shift in some sectors: Tech companies in particular have started offering generous paid leave programs, in part to retain talented workers.

Many studies tout the benefits of family leave for parents and children alike. Children whose parents are granted paid parental leave are more likely to be immunized. Women are also more likely to breastfeed longer if given more paid time off, which in turn can help prevent asthma, infections and other health problems. A 2011 study found that increasing paid maternity and paternity leave could even reduce the infant mortality rate by 10 percent. Fathers who are given paternity leave are more likely to take an active role in parenting later on, which can help with children’s development.

Parents also see significant health benefits: A 2015 study published in Social Science & Medicine found women who are given paid maternity leave with full benefits are 16.2 percent less likely to become depressed than women without paid leave. Another studyfound that women who have paid maternity leave are significantly less likely to experience depression later in life.

Allowing new parents time off to bond with their child also benefits the companies they work for. Research shows that individuals given paid maternity leave are more likely to return to work at the same company, reducing costs associated with employee turnover. Women who take paid leave are also more likely to work more hours andremain in the workforce longer.

“That can save firms significant money,” says Boushey.

But it’s not just new parents that need time with their kids.

Obama has also required federal contractors to provide paid sick days to their employees, which parents can use to care for children or other loved ones in need. He’s also emphasized these policies at the state and municipal level: Currently, five states and 26 cities have paid sick time policies in place.

“The progress we have seen in recent years is hugely important, not just because of those who have been helped, but also because we now have an irrefutable body of evidence demonstrating that paid sick days policies work well for employers as well as workers,” said Ness, pointing to research showing how paid sick time has little impact on profitability and in some cases has boosted productivity among workers.

The American Medical Association has also endorsed paid sick leave, arguing that by giving individuals time off to care for themselves or their children, they are reducing the risk of transmitting diseases or viruses to others or prolonging illness.

“Paid sick leave keeps our homes, offices and communities healthier while ensuring the family’s economic security,” the organization said.

Obama has emphasized the importance of fatherhood throughout his presidency.

He’s embraced the role of “dad-in-chief.”

Barack Obama has been ‘dad-in-chief’ in a way we haven’t seen before in the White House,” said Bravo. “He talks openly about the need for fathers to be engaged, but also that women are disproportionately affected by the lack of [family-friendly] policies.” 

Obama regularly talks about his relationship with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, and the importance of his role as a father. Bravo argues that by doing so, Obama has made parenthood an issue of national importance. She pointed specifically to Obama sharing how his daughters had reshaped his views on marriage equality.

“That’s a great model in a father,” she said.

His emphasis on fatherhood — which Obama has said stems from his own childhood with an absent dad — could have a concrete impact on kids if emulated. Studies show that children with engaged fathers have higher cognitive ability and stronger literacy skills. Children with engaged parents are also likelier to be healthy and have less emotional distress. And by emphasizing equality in parenting, Obama is making strides for women as well. 

“His gender-neutral approach to family-friendly policies is also tremendously positive because it underscores that, for families and communities to thrive, we must recognize that caregiving is not just a women’s issue,” said Ness.

He’s addressed rising income inequality. 

Obama’s answers to the country’s worsening economic inequality — the Affordable Care Act, pushing for a higher minimum wage, proposing tax credits for child care expenses — could have a significant impact on working families.

“This is an era in which the kinds of benefits that families get make all the difference for economic security,” said Boushey. 

Research shows that low wages have a major impact on families, and women of color are disproportionately affected. Raising the federal minimum wage, as Obama has proposed, would increase the salaries of millions of low-wage workers — most of whom are women

As for the ACA, a 2014 Brookings Institution study found that Obamacare will ease income inequality over time by boosting the average income of the country’s lowest earners. Another study by the Urban Institute found that the law will help close the coverage gap between white people and people of color.

Ness also pointed to provisions of Obamacare, like contraception coverage and requiring employers to give nursing mothers time to pump at work, as being huge milestones for parents, arguing that these policies are “essential to women’s ability to participate and succeed in the workforce.”

Last edited by Kocolicious

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