Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): As a single father how are you able to still raise your daughter with balance?
Ramel Werner (RW): The balance comes from having and maintaining a healthy relationship with her mother. No matter how we feel about each from time to time, Ryann loves and needs both of us.
EM: What has been some of the most challenging aspects of being a single father raising a girl? What has been some of the most rewarding aspects?
RW: Sometimes I have a hard time handling the over-sensitive nature she has, and I feel like I’m not adequately helping her with things she gets upset over. The most rewarding aspect would be the absolute worship in her eyes when she sees me. As soon as I pick her up from school or walk into a room, all I hear is Daddy, Daddy!! No matter what kind of day I have had, that brightens my day 10 fold.
EM: What are a few things she has taught you, especially as it relates to the nature of the female, that you appreciate?
RW: Ryann has taught me that no matter what insecurities I may have about myself, I am perfect in her eyes… That it is important to laugh… That prayer is a part of every single day. Every moment… To slow down and listen… To never give up… That spending time with them is more important than the perfect home… To not take life for granted… That her heart is more important than stuff… That being a father is a gift… To love. Deeply… That family is ultimate of importance… and the only perfect thing in this world is her smile.
EM: How important is it for you to be the example of the husband you hope she will have one day? What, if any, did you have to change about yourself? What values, advice and standards are you teaching her?
RW: When someone says “oh, your child looks like you”, you hope your child inherited your best features. But when someone says “oh, your child is doing this just like you”, you hope your child is not misbehaving in any way from your bad examples as a father.
One of the most important things I needed to change was my concept of success. There were many a times in my younger days, I was quick to quit something that wasn’t necessarily in my immediate reach. When Ryann was born I noticed a pattern when she would get upset easily. She would give up on the task at hand and move on to something else. I started telling her whenever she was faced with adversity and wanting to give up that “Werner’s don’t quit.” I now know one of the many reasons God blessed me with Ryann was for me to remember that saying as well.
EM: During certain transitions in her life that are women-specific, what support system do you have in place?
RW: I rely heavily on my mom and sister for support. I also have a network of women, family members and others who can translate some of what’s happening in my daughters life.
EM: How do you approach the idea of dating as a single father? Dos and Donts, requirements of the woman you’re dating, the opinion/feelings of your daughter, etc.
RW: Easy. I don’t date. My main objective at this time is Ryann 1st and the relationship of her mother and I 2nd. It takes a good team work to raise your child right. I feel it’s important for me not to focus on attraction to other women until we’ve exhausted all possibilities of becoming one big happy unconditional family.
EM: What is your response to those who speak critically of single fathers raising girls? What are your thoughts of single mothers raising boys?
RW: In all due respect to those who speak this nonsense… Are mothers and fathers different in how they raise children? You betcha. But so what! When these discussions arise, they should never, ever be about the parents. They must always be about the little ones who give us their trust that we’ll behave like responsible adults, and so, bring grace into their lives.
EM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
RW: My daughter Ryann has opened my eyes to the beautiful struggle fathers face in giving their lives to their children. It isn’t comfortable, and often times it flat out hurts, but raising a daughter builds depth of character that can only be understood by others who have traveled a similar path.
I thank God He saw fit to make me a father..
Ramel Werner is a proud father, motivator, educator and encourager. The desires he speaks of start with an alarm clock waking him up every morning and his goals toward them are what get him out of bed.
Follow Ramel on Twitter @ItsRamel and visit him online at www.ItsRamel.com