A Fatherless Child at Christmas Time – The Glass is Half-Full…

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Not that long ago I thought about the last time that I ever saw my father.  Maybe the partial irony in that statement is that the last time that I saw my father was the first time that I saw my father.  I think that the thought arose because it was around the month of November when I was about 8 years old.  Prior to that time there wasn’t really much talk in my family about my father.  Some may see this as a bad thing, but for me (even as a little fella) it was as if I was the Immaculate Conception.  There was my Mom (who had me a month before her 18th birthday), Grandma, my aunt and myself – we were a team.

Some people may think “oh, how tragic that you didn’t know your father before the age of 8” or “its, such a shame that men abandon their responsibilities” or the other comments that may be said in regards to a father-less situation.  In reflecting upon those times, I think that it’s a blessing that I was born into a family that showed support, guidance and love and I cannot remember a time EVER that anyone in my family (Mom included) ever had a bad thing to say about my father or his absence in my life.  I think that the “matter of fact” nature that it had back then has really helped me not harbor any resentment or ill-will toward not knowing my father or having a relationship with him.

Back to that last/first time that I saw him, it was a cold night in Chicago and he picked me up from karate class and was introduced to me as “your father.”  I’ve had the same demeanor all my life, so even then I was like “hey, nice to meet you.”  No big smiles, no tears, no jumping up and down took place.  The amount of care and compassion that I received in my home, sans a father, never lead me to feel that I was not cared for fully.  We took a trip to Burger King and later while at my Mom’s house he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Anybody over the age of 30 can remember having a Sears or JC Penney catalog with all of your favorite toys circled in the catalog.  I pulled out my catalog and we made a list.  I eventually went to bed and that was the last memory that I have of my father.

For some, this may be a sad story, in my case, I to this day feel that it is not possible to miss what you never had unless you choose too.  Although it may have been the makings of a sad story, it’s a story of triumph to me.  I feel that I have matured through the years by being a very masculine, yet caring and secure person by the guidance of my immediate family and the various extended family, mentors, coaches and other people who have had a strong influence in me being the person that I am today.

I am sharing this story because during the holidays there are many people that spend far too much time focusing on what they don’t have as opposed to being grateful and cherishing the things (material and non-material) that they do have in their lives.  Also, there are many women who are raising boys/young men on their own and they are wondering can they do “enough” to raise their child to be a man.  In many instances, it still does take a village to raise a child, but in short the answer is “yes, you do have what it takes.”

I invite all of us to be more conscious of the words that we share with people in all aspects of our lives.  The loving nature and quite frankly, the respect that my family showed my father (although he wasn’t present) is something that has rubbed off on me to make me calm in the face of adversity and see the glass as half-full while many others may view the glass as half-empty (or just empty.)  The strength and communication that they’ve shared with me over the years has helped me show gratitude for what I do have as opposed to bemoaning or begrudging what I don’t have.

Energy is transferred among us, especially when it comes from a parent to a child. As we go into a new decade, don’t let disappointments and situations of the past hold you back like dead weight and stop you from accomplishing your life’s purpose.  Many people feel like they should be able to say whatever they feel, but the thing that distinguishes us from animals is the ability to think before we speak.  Moving forward into 2010 let’s move in a positive, uplifting manner that encourages others to be the best that they can be while exhibiting grace, character and maturity in the process.  Our families need us, our communities need us to walk as the example of what it is we would like to see the world become.

I share my Christmas story of being a fatherless child to say that there is an opportunity in every perceived threat.  There is potential strength in every perceived weakness.  Now more than any other time, we can’t look to anyone other than ourselves to create the social and emotional climate that we want to see in the world.  Let’s treat others as we would want to be treated, forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past and look to make a better life not just for us, but for all that we come in contact with.

Spread love this holiday and challenge yourself to be a better person to others in the future where possible.  Also, allow yourself to forgive those who may have hurt you in a way either known or unknown to them.  This is your time and it will be what you make of it.

This is by no means meant to absolve absentee fathers in any regard.  Nor is it meant to invalidate the feelings that men or women have regarding anything missing or removed from their life.  What it is meant to do is share that your happiness/fulfillment or disappointment/anguish in life will be a direct result of where you channel your thoughts, feelings and energy.  As I’ve shared in earlier blogs, the “Strangest Secret” is 6 words – “man becomes what he thinks about.”   If you think about being abandoned, a victim or “wronged”, you will be.  If you think about being loved, fulfilled and “whole” those things in turn will come your way.

I invite you to turn as many of the half-empty glasses in your life to half-full, you will soon find that they are totally full and there is little else to worry about.

Much love, Happy Holidays, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

Additional information

“The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale – http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

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19 Responses to “A Fatherless Child at Christmas Time – The Glass is Half-Full…”

  1. Thank you for this wonderful perspective Vince. I have long felt that we place to much blame on father’s not being in the home as an excuse for foolishness in our community.

    I hope more people can transform their thinking and be clear that who you are today is a result of the decisions you make now not because of what happened in the past!

    Happy Holiday

  2. Louis Lane Says:

    Thanks VA for sharing this story. Life is a beautiful thing and this story is a reminder to all of us that regardless of what is thrown our way, we really do have the choice and power to let it be a negative or a positive. In the end its those situations and experiences that lend a hand in making us who we are. I see and feel your heart with this one.

  3. Lisa Hearon Says:

    Hey Vince,
    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom during this holiday season. I appreciate your thoughts and your heart and pray that God will continue to open many doors for you to continue to bless us with your nuggets of virtue, character, nobility, and all things righteous, just, and lovely in His sight. I thought I was doing a pretty good job raising my boys in light of our situation, but I can and will do better. You are an inspiration to me and many others and I am even more confident that as long as I continue to draw on the strength and grace the God provides for me, I will be as successful raising my boys as your mother was in raising you.

    You are truly a gem in our generation. God bless you…

  4. My fav part: there is an opportunity in every perceived threat. There is potential strength in every perceived weakness. Now more than any other time, we can’t look to anyone other than ourselves to create the social and emotional climate that we want to see in the world. Let’s treat others as we would want to be treated, forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past and look to make a better life not just for us, but for all that we come in contact with.

    I’m all for it and on it, V!! Thank you for this.

  5. Vince,

    This warmed my heart, your Mom is awesome! The majority of my employees are single moms, they never complain, but they work their butts off for their children. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for single moms. I was raised in a two parent family, but a lot of my girlfriends shared my Dad, he was father to the fatherless and still is.

  6. Good job Vince. Well said. We should all strive to be a blessing to others as opposed to being the anchor that pulls others down with our negativity. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  7. Chontei Driver Says:

    That was truely an encouraging story against the odds. Many consistently blame their lack ofs as their continued excuse to remain stignate. Lack of a supportive father/mother/role model, money, stability, guidance, or any other reason they can come up with to NOT mature. If you allow your past hurts, or negative situations to remain in your present, it will rob you of a FRUITFUL future. Looking at the glass 1/2 full, and seeing the good within the bad is GREAT. Everything happens for a reason, including the bad. It makes us stronger.

    You did not lack anything from not having your paternal father around. You have ALWAYS had your heavenly father watching over you, along with your mom, and family. They did an EXCELLENT job my friend.

    Thanks for sharing. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU & YOURS. Be Blessed, and continue to BE a Blessings to others…CYD

  8. Milo Edwards Says:

    I love this Vince and yes feel it’s sad to me not to have your father around. I was blessed with my fathers presence, guidance and strength throughout my life until his passing 4 years and 3 days ago.

    I do agree with you, how can you miss what you’ve never had and surely throughout your life you had positive loving people around you. Your mom, grandma and aunt did a great job.

    The men that coached you in school and happened upon you in daily life, surely had a positive influence and shared some knowledge with you a young man needs to hear.

    I had my toy’s circled in that Sears catalog too!

    I’m with you Vince, be grateful and love what you have moving forward.

    As you stated, “If you think about being abandoned, a victim or “wronged”, you will be. If you think about being loved, fulfilled and “whole” those things in turn will come your way.”

    “I invite you to turn as many of the half-empty glasses in your life to half-full, you will soon find that they are totally full and there is little else to worry about.”

    Thanks Vince

  9. ONCE AGAIN HE DOES IT. GETTIN ME ALL EMO AND THAT. THATS WHY IM THERE FOR MY 2 KIDS. THEY ARE MY UNDERSTANDING THAT CAME FROM WISDOM. THANKS VA

  10. Well, where do I begin, I am so overwhelmed with pride. What a Christmas gift to me and when your grandmother and aunt read your blog, what a gift it will be for them too. This is a testament to our beliefs and our love for you. Thank you for writing and sharing your “grown up” version of your feelings. We are truly proud and pleased with “how you turned out” 🙂 and as you shared in the blog, women can raise “men” and we are very happy that you proved that to be true.

    Love you forever, Mom

  11. Vince, thank you for sharing your perspective with growing up without a father. My mother’s father abandoned her and my uncle as children and started another family while my grandmother strugged to raise 3 children. I would often ask my mother was she angry, did she wish to have a relationship with him or to know her half siblings and she said no. That her life was complete and she had been blessed. She reached out to her father for the first time when my uncle returned from Viet Nam to let him know Uncle Del was trying to reach him. My uncle changed from Viet Nam more than anything wanted to have his father in his life. He made the decision to have the relationship my mother did not.

    You are whole and complete. You are blessed and loved by a family that was strengthen by its weakest bond.

    Continued blessings Kimmie

  12. Andrea Horton Says:

    Vince,
    You never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing. It’s wild to me that even as a child you could exhibit such grace in light of those circumstances. Your parents (mom, grandma) and other influences did a great job hun. God always knows exactly what he’s doing and exactly what we need.

    Thank you for your positivity and for the reminder to be thankful for all those things we have. Although most people know of the principle that what you put out, you will get back, it is great to be reminded that when you exude positivity, positive things will come to you. The Bible does say, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”(Prov. 23:7) I am going to practice seeing the good in myself and others, and thinking positive thoughts in 2010.

    Thank you!

  13. thx for sharing ur life experience and helping me realize…I have more than enough!

  14. Cheryl Smith Says:

    This blog hits home for me in a few ways. Thank you for your insight. I especially appreciate you sharing how your family’s respect for your absent father had a positive impact vs. what could have been a negative one. I have always known you to be a pragmatic and positive person… the ladies in your life are truly angels if you are a reflection of them.

    My favorite line here is… “If you think about being loved, fulfilled and “whole” those things in turn will come your way.” Keep shining VA, you are a true blessing.

  15. Angeline Griffith Says:

    Thank you for sharing. This blog totally caught me off guard. It is perfect in every since of the word.

  16. Thank you for sharing that story, I have held on to some issues with my own father that are over and now unimportant. In the grand scheme of things your story has made me reflect on things I need to let go of, and things I should be thankful for. But Sometimes I can’t help but to wonder what my fathers side of the story in some situations would be…

  17. VA when you are surrounded by a loving & strong environment your an example of what happens at it’s best…….. that’s what matters most…….

    By you being who you are…… sharing your thoughts and perspective to help others see the glass full than empty

    I am humbled & blessed to know you … See More

    great job Mom : )

  18. Saundra Partlow Says:

    Good job babyboy! Auntie Sam

  19. Angela Hubbard Says:

    “Fatherless Child” Superbly written, half full or empty we all should relish in the future of our youth. Love make the world a happy place and you had abundance. You need to do motvational speaking ,let know where to show up for the lesson.

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