A Tale of Three Fathers

While many young men do not have Fathers, Father Figures or upstanding role models to look up to, themselves… I am fortunate enough to have three.

5 min readDec 1, 2021
(Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash)

My mother did a fantastic job raising me. I’d like to believe she did an awesome job in providing me with solid foundations, consistent affirmations and support on my journey to manhood. However, there is a limit to what or how much she can further teach me in navigating this tricky world as a young black man. Where she meets a dead-end, she always says something along the lines of, “My boy, there’s only so much I can teach you — but how to be a great man, I cannot. That’s why your Father is so important”.

As a Dad, trying to raise two strong black girls, I constantly ask myself:

  1. “How can I improve as a man for both my partner and children?”
  2. “What have my Fathers said or done in influencing the building of my character?”

Residing in a country where a majority of my peers do not have Fathers/Father figures or have (really) shitty ones instead presents a host of societal problems for the boy-child (in terms of their personal development) and the community in some instances. So, to have three fathers is truly an understated blessing. How and why do I have three fathers? Let me explain…

  • Dad-Dad/Pops/Papa: The truest epitome of a Father. As an ever-present, actively daddy-ing and intellectually engaging figure, my growth as a young Dad and man is being moulded and guided by him daily and is truly the man I aspire to be. Personal bias aside, he’s the most brilliant man I’ve ever met because you know something positive has shifted in you after your first interaction with him. He's an ever-rational visionary, constantly inspiring, supporting and validating my own ambitions, through his extraordinary experiences and thought-processes to make something like going to the moon, sound like a Saturday morning DIY project. Never one to bullshit or to pussyfoot about, it’s in his honesty and most importantly, his vested interest in my wellbeing, that his guidance is so vital to my personal development, my children’s upbringing and building a strong family unit;
  • Step-dad: Raised me for most of my formative years and installed the kind of disciplined upbringing needed for young men to be able to successfully integrate and operate in all social settings. Above all, creating the perfect environment for me to grow throughout my boyish phases, supporting any of my interests; most importantly being rugby and camping. He first instilled the importance of athletism and being competitive. Although we had a difficult relationship, he loves me dearly as his own son and raised me into the gentleman I am today, of which I am eternally grateful;
  • My partner’s Father: Truly the sweetest man I have ever met. As a man who works with his hands, his teachings go further than actually constructing or maintaining buildings, it’s in his everyday anecdotes that lies vital knowledge, lessons and feedback that I draw teachings from. Being heavily family-focused from his early 20s, his is one of many examples I’d like to somewhat recreate for my own family unit. The proof of his greatness is demonstrated in his daughter which I am honoured to experience as a best friend, perfect partner and outstanding mother. Should one be exposed to him, I can guarantee you’ll walk out better than when you first met — even if it was for a minute!

Beyond the preservation of your family’s legacy, your role as a man in society is extremely important, especially in this ever-changing world where the understanding of our gender roles in family and community, is constantly changing. The value of having a reliable Father to assist in guiding you in this world and helping you make sense of it, cannot be understated because society demands that we adjust to this constant state of flux. How? By relying on the teachings of their Fathers, sharing their personal experiences and demonstrating their love for us as Sons to keep us on the course.

(Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

Ah yes, back to my three Fathers…

Each one has contributed a special element to my Being. It is because of these varied backgrounds, approaches to parenting and life perspectives, it has been beneficial in the contribution to shaping how I see and interact with society — while actively trying to better my family and community. One such positive contribution would be to raise my kids to leave this world better than the way they found it — in whichever form that may take. So, why would their contributions matter? I guess it goes back to my first question: “How can I improve as a man for both my partner and children?”

By extracting the wisdom I need from each Father, I believe that it could be a beneficial factor to drive me to my penultimate goal of working towards being a better man daily, for my family and community than I was the day(s) before — improving incrementally, but improving nonetheless. To achieve this, I believe that young men should rather be active listeners, learners, open and receptive to constructive feedback/critique; all enabled by having a teachable spirit. By acknowledging that (1) you don’t know everything and (2) admit you need assistance or support in your journey, you’re already setting yourself apart from 90%+ men currently. We can only be better through the guidance we receive from our Fathers and in turn, take our place to pay it forward to the incoming generation of young men because we really need it. Now, more than ever.

Fathers come in many forms, for some. But an active, reliable and invested Father is vital for our children, family and society. And it’s because of this overriding benefit that I mention that your Father doesn’t have to be paternal, taking the shape of a Father Figure instead. As a result, it’s important to glean as much as you can from these men in order to continually mould you into an upstanding gentleman, for yourself and others. It is my hope that if enough of us young men are able to follow this trajectory, it would create a domino effect, visible in the health of our households and communities.

Even as a 29-year-old Dad of two, I still feel totally out of depth and, at most times, don’t know what the hell I’m doing. As a result, I am eternally grateful to have these men in life, who willingly give of themselves to empower and invest in me. I truly wish this for many of my peers…and if you didn't, I hope you take it upon yourself to fill this pivotal role because you’re needed and wanted, young man.




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