One of the most impactful days of my life was the day my son was born. I state this not for the typical reason being that you birth a new life, but it was impactful because it made me aware of how clueless I was about what it means to be a father. I remember having the thought “what next?” as I’m looking at my newborn son.

The early years of his life were tiresome, yet rewarding. They were only tiresome because I was working overnight shifts, watching him during the day and getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep. Despite this situation, I still feel blessed to be put in the position to raise my son intimately on a daily basis. He drank milk like a fish drinks water and was always laughing and smiling at me whenever I made faces or tickled him relentlessly.

It was during those early months that I began to understand how important I am to him for his development and, in order for him to be successful, I needed to be successful as well.

The times that I struggled personally, my son was my strength to always keep going. The times that I was depressed, I knew it could not last long because I had to keep moving towards the next objective for him. I was not afraid of failing per se; I was afraid of teaching my son that failing is enough to stop you in life.

In my opinion, one of the most essential purposes in life is finding a way to sacrifice yourself for someone or something greater than you. For example, one of the reasons people find religion to be fulfilling is because it puts them in a position to sacrifice themselves for a greater being, God. Children are also fulfilling because it puts us in a position to sacrifice our selfish wants for the desires for our procreation.

The times when I acted selfishly, I would notice that it did not lead to a positive experience for my son. However, the times that I made decisions with my son in mind, we both benefited.

As my son grew older, I saw the imprint that I made on him. His calmness under pressure. His humility when he could be braggadocios. His care for others when he could be selfish. His desire to continually grow into a better version of himself. With love, sacrifice, failure and success, my son has become what I always wanted for him to become, which is a better version than myself.

When I wrote my book “Black Victim To Black Victor”, my son was a huge reason why I even wanted to write a book. I wanted to leave something behind for him to always remember me by because one day I won’t be here. I wanted to comprise my thoughts, failures and life lessons into text format so he could understand his father more than other children have the chance to. Lastly, I wanted my son to be proud of his father.

On September 17th 2021, I got married to the love of my life and right beside me was the only person I ever considered to be my best man, my son, Daniel. It meant everything to me to have him stand beside me on such a special occasion, in a house of God and tell me “I’m proud of you, Dad”.

Today, October 1st, is my son’s 16th birthday. 16 years ago, I was blessed with his existence in my life and blessed with having him push me to be a greater man than without. I promised myself that I would never repeat the mistake of my father by having my son wonder if his father loves him and I went well beyond this promise.

If my son reads this, I am proud of you and will always be proud of you. You’re edging near adulthood and you’re going to be presented with multiple life challenges. You’re going to make mistakes and there are going to be multiple times when you won’t know what to do and that’s okay. Always remember, as long as I’m alive, I am a phone call away. You can ask me anything without judgement as long as you are honest with me.

No matter what you go through, you will make it to where you need to be. You are my best man because I know one day you will be a better man than me. I love you and Happy Birthday.

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