Much thanks to all of you who shared your feedback about the true meaning of fatherhood. My dad gave all four sermons at All Saints’, the church I was baptized in and grew up going to. He sent me a complete copy of his speech, which I will post as a link as soon as I’ve figured out how. (if you would like to read it now, you can click here to download it).

From all accounts, his sermon was a huge success, and I wish I could have been there to see it. Here’s an excerpt from his sermon that I found especially telling:

How many women in the congregation believe, and have actually voiced the opinion that “all man bad”, or “the only good man is a dead one” or even “if I had known better I would have gotten a dog instead”. These statements are really self-fulfilling prophecies and the more you say them, the more you will believe them. If you condition children into believing them, then they will have very low expectations from men in general and their fathers in particular. For your information, therefore, I wish to state categorically that, not all men are bad. They may not be perfect but thank God we still have a few good men around who have been making a positive impact on the lives of their children.”

His sermon is eleven pages long, but a lot of it is done in point form, and my dad is quite the entertainer so I’m sure it was funny and went by quick. I also love how he ended the sermon, with a quote from one of you readers:

I have seen good children emerge from bad homes and bad children emerge from good homes. The point though, is that there are no substitutes for teaching children the right things. I will leave you now with one last comment from a reader, who wrote on my daughter’s web-site:

“my father was the most gentle and compassionate human being I have ever met. He was a constant source of light and encouragement in my life. He accepted me as I was and never tried to turn me into something I wasn’t. He made me feel like I was the most special person in the world. Because of him, I know how a man should treat a woman and that violence and verbal abuse are totally unacceptable.”

If only all our children could say that about us. Reach out to your children today, hug them and tell them how much you love and cherish them. God bless you all and my best wishes to all fathers today and always.

Awww. I love my daddy. He wants me to thank all of you on his behalf. So thank you, everyone!



Niki says:
June 18, 2007, 9:55 am
What an inspiring sermon! Congratualtions to your father and a big "you welcome" to him as well. Your parents are a beautiful couple--I see where you get your beauty (inner and outer) from!
Tiana says:
June 18, 2007, 10:47 am
Great post Bella. This was so beautiful and inspiring and your father is amazing! I have to send this to every woman I know who continues to verbally berate men. Especially some of our mothers who have been filling in for some absent fathers. I often wonder, if your expectations were/are obviously so low, why complain once you welcome(d) that man who embodies those very characteristics you loath into your life? We have a lot of work to do to continue the restoration of our communities and families. I really believe sites like yours contribute to fostering the self- love it requires to attract a quality mate to share your life with. Since I have fallen in love with my whole self, my relationship has further blossomed to a level I never imagined. I know it is because I value and love myself completely- both inside and out. We have to love ourselves first ladies before we will attract a man who will adore us for who we are.
star says:
June 18, 2007, 10:59 am
Bella, I read your father's sermon and it was truly touching to say the least. In reading his sermon, I noticed that he included 2 lines I submitted and I nearly passed out...l-o-l. It touched me to know that your father, took the time to read the entry's that were submitted. Some of his sermon made me tear up a made me wonder, if given the chance again....what values would my father have instilled in me or if he would have showed how much he loved/cared for me? I was a little down yesterday, so I called my uncle and wished him a H.F.D.....he didn't respond the way I wanted him to, but I had to remember he was not my father. Be blessed and keep up the good work...go Bella!!!!!!!
BellaLatte says:
June 18, 2007, 1:22 pm
"my father was the most gentle and compassionate human being I have ever met. He was a constant source of light and encouragement in my life. He accepted me as I was and never tried to turn me into something I wasn’t. He made me feel like I was the most special person in the world. Because of him, I know how a man should treat a woman and that violence and verbal abuse are totally unacceptable.” Thanks for writing that Star and thanks Bella for posting it. This is exactly the way I feel about my father, even though it's been several years since he passed on it still feels like a recent loss - I still miss him tremendously!
star says:
June 18, 2007, 1:55 pm
Hi BellaLatte, thanks for the complement...I'm sure the person who wrote it is "glowing". However, I am not that person the lines I submitted were... " Girls, need their father’s because this will be the first relationship she will have with a male. I believe that’s one reason so many women choose the wrong men…either the father wasn’t in the home or he wasn’t a good role model if he was there." The lines were shorten, I'm sure for time (smile). Bella's father, got the point I was trying to make. I'm truly glad that you had such a wonderful bond w/your father. Please, don't think I'm being a "smarty pants"...just didn't want to take credit for someone else's work.... Be Blessed!
AmiJane says:
June 18, 2007, 2:04 pm
Hey Afrobella, I wear a natural fro all the time using Miss Jessies products. But, I wanted to know if you could tell me how to accomplish the afro Lenny Kravitz use to have with the spikey cone look. Macy Gray has a simular look as well. Any info you have would be great!!! Thanks!:)
jerseybred says:
June 18, 2007, 2:18 pm
Oh Bella, you and your family are blessed. Thank your father for allowing us to be a part of his sermon. I love everything that was said but my two favorite lines are: 1. "Let them see and know that home is safe" -a positive homelife is shelter from everything anyone can throw at you on the outside 2. "Tell them that adulthood is inevitable but growing up is optional" -CLASSIC
JUstMYwOrD says:
June 18, 2007, 2:36 pm
Hey there bellas! Tianna- You made a very good point about what mothers often do to promote the negative images of fathers and men in general that some embrace without interrogation. I am a relatively new single mother of three wonderful daughters and although I have come to loose respect for my ex husband, because of his infidelity and lack of presence in my children's lives, I find it is a very difficult balancing act between teaching my children to respect their father, and teaching them to respect themselves and know what they are worth. Sometimes it feels like such a contradicition and I pray to God for the strength and the clarity to instill the right things in my daughters, so that they know how to love themselves and what they should expect from a man---doing that without degrading their dad even indirectly is no easy task. They naturally pine away for their father's attention, become emotional and teary when they look through a photo album, hear a song or see a comercial that reminds them of him. If we're on a family outting enjoying ourselves, the day is always dampered by their sadness because their own father is not there. It's hard for me to watch this play out, because while I want to and have to be there to console them, I also know they deserve more than a present in the mail, or an occassional phone call. They deserve more than seeing him twice a year. I often become infuriated with him, it takes everything in me not to go off on him, because I feel he is causing us to live with a double standard that I have not created, nor do I wish to promote. I've learned my lesson with arguing with him in the past, conveying your feelings or crying out to someone are only constructive if the other party actaully gives a care. In my case we were married 7.5 years and have known each other 11...anything I expect of him or feel about our relationship has been more than discussed at this point...I've had to come to the painful realization, despite his empty promises and assurances that he really does care about us-- that he just doesn't care enough. I wasted so much time in thinking that if I just kept pouring my love into him, he'd find reason enough to love us for what we were worth. I couldn't accept who he was, and I blamed myself for years. It has taken me a long time to except the truth, and it still hurts to talk about it, so I understand how hard it must be for my girls. These are the emotions I battle within, but thankfully my own father, has picked up the slack that my ex has left us with. My father takes my girls to church, to the mall, to parks, picks them up from school, reads them stories, plays with them, teaches them values, shows them knew things, tells them how talented and smart and pretty they are--he does all the things for them, that he did with me as a kid--he's the reason I believe that men are not dogs, and that a real man see's his family as a gift from God and gives his life for them. I didn't always appreciate my father though, partially because I went through the typical rebellious teenager stage but also because I had a mother who was bitter about their split. She tried to keep us from seeing him and constantly told us how much of a dead beat he was. She never respected the kind of man that my father is. It's funny how people can say the same things but truly speak a different language. Both my parents believed in love and wanted success, but they had very different ideas as to how to achieve it. Those differences drove them apart, because as one tried to respect the other, the other only had respect for themselves. My dad fought for custody of us because he wanted us to know who he was outside of the poison my mother was feeding us, and finally won custody when I was 10 years old. He gave up a lot to raise us by himself, but he never even regreted his decision for a second. Still I found it hard to honor both him and my mother, since they stood for such different values. My children don't seem to appreciate him as much as I feel they should (and I hope they will come around the way I did), mainly because their appreciation for their grandfather is overshadowed by the pain and resentment that stems from their own dad not being there. Sometimes they take that pain out on me and my dad, sometimes they assume their father doesn't call because I've done something to run him off, that hurts more than I can say, but I wait patiently for them to learn who their mother is, and rest on my hopes that they will mature and be able to see love and sacrifice for what it truly is and is not.
JUstMYwOrD says:
June 18, 2007, 2:52 pm
Oh and another thing, Afrobella-- I can see why your such a beautiful well rounded person, you were given a wonderful foundation. Star- Very touched by your words, sometimes we think that those who are in a position to help us fill a void will do so, and it's somewhat disappointing when they don't. I've found in my life that my blessings usually come from directions that I least expected, and where one person can't meet a need, God always provides another who can. The waiting time in between is where God himself proves to me that He is the essence of my satisfcation and completion. I hope God continues to provide for you the same.
BellaLatte says:
June 18, 2007, 2:55 pm
Hey Star (the un-smartypants! heh heh), Not a problem....I guess I read through the piece too quickly and misunderstood. Well to whoever wrote it, thank you, thank you!!!!
jerseybred says:
June 18, 2007, 2:56 pm
@ JUstMYwOrD "but I wait patiently for them to learn who their mother is" don't worry, they always do-it will just take some time. Life can only get better for you and yours. Stay Blessed!
tysha says:
June 18, 2007, 2:59 pm
God Bless you Bella and your family. The love your parents have for one another shines through you for others. Thank you for the J. Blossom fun pack, it arrived today. My daughter had a blossoming smile on her face when she got it. Her eyes locked in on the packaging and mostly the image of the cute litte brown girl on it. She looked as though it was a revelation to her because she never seen anything like it. It smelled yummy. We both thank you.
star says:
June 18, 2007, 3:39 pm
Bella, let me say a special "thank you" for creating this truly have wonderful people who visit your site and make other's feel there is hope :) JUstMYwOrd, thank you for your words of encouragement and I hope all the pain that is in me...will come to pass. I've longed for my father a many days and wished that I had what my cousins have in my uncle (their father). Now, my child is w/o her father..this was no choice of mine...he made the choice and now we have to live w/his decision. Like you, I try not to paint a negative picture of him because I want her to have a bond w/him....but she's getting older and she no longer asks about him like she use to....she's coming into her own now and she will paint the picture of him the way she views it...not me. Again, thank you for telling your story and reaching out (you probably didn't would touch someone's life today). Be Blessed and Best WISHES:)
Mrs518 says:
June 18, 2007, 4:15 pm
Its so nice hear that people have such wonderful relationships wtih their fathers, My father isn't a very nice guy and its hard to cope sometimes. But its encouraging to hear that there are some daddy's girls out there.
JUstMYwOrD says:
June 18, 2007, 4:26 pm
Star- Same to you. Be encouraged, as long as you have faith in God's faithfulness, the storm always passes over. Jerseybred- Thanks for your words of encouragement. I know it takes time, I'm learning how to hold out for what the future has in store.
Mezzo_Soprano says:
June 18, 2007, 11:27 pm
I just read your father's sermon and I was so touched by it. I truly enjoyed each and every word. I too am thankful for the tremendous contribution from my father. He is my stepfather; however, he is the only father I have ever known. I haven't met my biological father but the father I had growing up was awesome and I love him dearly. I am ever so thankful that he is a part of my life even after he and my mother divorced. Even after my mother passed away, I am truly thankful. You all be blessed!!
willikat says:
June 19, 2007, 10:33 am
what a great sermon. i am not a religious person really, but there was a lot in there for anyone of any faith. i have seen the results of not having a good dad around (although i have a great one) and it is time for men to step up and be good dads. there are some out there, but i think it' s safe to say there aren't enough. and ... part of that responsibility goes to the women. don't sleep with men who don't respect you and don't love you. don't have children before you're 110 percent sure this i sa person that you want guiding your child. i know sometimes things go wrong after the birth (sometimes long after), but loving adn respecting yourself will attract a man who will do the same. your dad has so many points that so many men need to hear.
JUstMYwOrD says:
June 19, 2007, 12:09 pm
willikat- I read your comments and I agree. You're absolutely right about the responsibility that we have as women, but I think that responsibilites are taught by example, not word, so although women should bee 110% sure that they are having a child with someone who they want guiding them, sometimes women are so blinded by their want for love and their desire to fill a void, responsibilities and values aren't exactly at the forefront of their mind. That doesn't make it right, but it's a reality that needs to be addressed with appropriate care. It's almost like we presume sometimes that because a guy makes us feel good or beautiful or special at the moment, that that is all that matters about him. I think we assume he'll fit every other role accordingly because of how he makes us feel. That is foolish, but I fell into that trap so I can say it now with an understanding of both sides. That kind of thinking plays a large part into how we end up with not so great partners, and although we are responsible for that, we are creatures of habit and conditioning. One's own worth has to be a reality--there are many blinding factors that diminish people's self image and worth, IMO you can't ignore that when you give advice about choosing spouses and parenting. Most people aren't starting from a clean slate, they've got baggage from family problems, etc that affect the way they value themselves. It doesn't mean people should be complacent about keeping things that way, but you can't begin to fix a problem without acknowledging how it became a problem in the first place. Respect for oneself has to be modeled, and disrespect has to be unlearned.
designdiva says:
June 20, 2007, 9:35 pm
Bella, You are so lucky and blessed to have a wonderful father in your life. JustMyWord, Your post was very touching and I have mad respect for your honesty and courang. I wish you the best, and to stay strong girl.


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