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Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): What was and has been your experience with fatherhood as a son? What was your impression by the example of your father of what it means to be a man and father?
John Guess (JG): I think my experiences have not stop happening. I learn something new from my father every day, in every way. What I mean by that is that there are different roles a father plays; a father to the community, one who steps in the life of the kids that don’t have father figures. He volunteers himself for civic duty via speaking at schools, mentoring, etc. He was never just a dad to me and my sisters. As a loving father, he was never shy on displays of affection, nor did he spare the rod in discipline. However, in each act he was caring. He loved us up and he corrected us, it showed that he really cared.
Lastly, the father who serves. There is a scripture in the Bible whose ending sentences says, “As for me and my house I will serve the Lord”. My father definitely gave us a religious foundation. He always let us know that we are not here merely because of our own scholastic achievements or perceived power. We are here, because they prayed and those before them prayed for us to be successful. He always use to say you might have been born in the 80’s but.. the preparation for you began in 50’s 60’s and 70’s.
EM: You currently do not have children, but what ideas do you have in mind about the kind of father you want to be? What do you want to take from your experience with your own father, and what ideas would you like to implement that you didn’t experience?
JG: I think I will be a good father. I think for the most part the lessons I will take from my father is that you are always evolving as a parent. I am sure parenting my oldest sibling was a lot different than being a parent to me. I will show affection and always provide words of affirmation, let them hit their heads on wall for the experience, be a good listener and give them religious foundation. I think one more thing I will borrow from him is to never short change the experiences. I would take my children to other countries, learn culture differences, etc.
EM: What do you have to say to those who see Black men as irresponsible and incapable of being good fathers?
JG: I say they are misled by television and rely too heavily on statistics that only represent a portion of our community.
EM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
JG: Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there especially my father. All of what I am and will do in this lifetime is based on you planting the seed and tending to it to make sure it grows into what it is supposed to become.
EM: Yes sir, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on Fatherhood! May God bless you as you prepare to be the best father!