In honor of FATHERS day I want to repost the letter I wrote to my first-born daughter way back in the 70″s. Some thing magical happened when I first held her in my arms. I can not explain it. I don’t know what happened but that 18-year-old boy from the south Bronx was changed for ever. I was shaking and emotional. She was the most AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL thing I had ever seen. I can still smell her. I can’t explain how great that baby smell is if you have never had a child but trust me it is wonderous! And you will NEVER forget it. I remember staring at her for hours and then I felt myself tingling and knowing that I was changing some how I can’t explain it, I just knew something was happening. I held her close to me so I could whisper in her ear and that’s when I told her. “I DEDICATE MY LIFE TO YOU.” And so began my journey to becoming a FATHER. And over the next couple of years I came to understand what being a father was and i put a pen to paper and this is the letter I wrote.
Father… What is a father? For me it is who I am, what I am, what I want to be, what I need to be. It is the responsibility I live for. I will not apologize for being a father, for being the adult when the situation calls for it. I will make the decision I belive is the right one as your father, not as your friend. I will love you unconditionally. I will protect you till my last breath. I will respect you and demand you respect me. I will financially support you. I will emotionally encourage you to dream to believe in the greatness that is inside you. I will push you to be the best you can be, what you want to be , not who I want or think you should be. I will accept your individuality, your life style choices, I will never judge you. I will just love and support you. I will educate you-not because I am more intelligent than you, but because I am more experienced than you, because I have already made the mistakes and learned from them and I want to share them with you to help you avoid repeating them. This I swear to you! This I promise! I dedicated my life to you the day you were born. You will always be my first and only priority. I will never raise my hand to you. I will never abandon you. Because I AM A FATHER.
If you are a young man thinking about becoming a FATHER or already are a FATHER I encourage you to read my letter a few times and see if any of it can help you in your journey into FATHERHOOD. I do not claim it to be anything other than how I feel so please don’t take it as me preaching or saying that this is definitive. I just know that this is how I have lived my life. I have accomplished much in my life. From becoming a u.s.marine, to staying married for almost 40 years, to my many career accomplishments but nothing even comes close to being a good FATHER!