Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009- My Song of Praise to Mark A. Moxley

Happy Father's Day!!
Father's Day puts me in such a predicament every year, so this year I have abandoned my regular gift/card combo, in order to try something a little different.

The attached video is President Obama giving a speech at a church on the south side of Chicago last year on Father's Day. We all know that I am an Obama fan, but today, for this blog entry, that is neither here nor there. I am more impressed with what President Obama has to SAY in this video. He received a ton of push back, from the Black community in particular, for things that they inferred from this speech, not things that were actually said. Below is my opinion on Father's Day and the involvement of today's dad.

Obama starts off his speech by saying that MORE THAN 50% of Black children growing up today are missing out on the dynamics of having a father at home. Those children are more likely to end up in prison, become teen parents, have behavioral problems or drop out of school. More than half. We should be stunned by that statistic. We, as a community, should be concerned that more than half of our children might not be productive members of society... more than half. Even with that knowledge, Obama says that we have to take some responsibility. "Past injustices are real- but cannot be used as an excuse." I completely agree. I agree with the concept that the change we need will come from us. One day, the women in our community will let it be known that they won't stand to be "baby mamas". Young men will begin to understand that populating the neighborhood with children that they don't take care of is not a sign of street cred. Young couples who participate in sexual activity will care enough about themselves to practice safe sex and not bring millions of unwanted babies into the world each year. The results will be beautiful- one day. Until then, President Obama and I have to look to the men who are already the example of what a great dad is. For the President, it was his father-in-law and for me, it is my dad, Mark A. Moxley.

I was in the lucky half... I grew up with a dad that cared about what I did and who my friends were. He took the time to be a part of my life. He was always around and always let me know that he cared and for that I will be eternally grateful. Obama says that there are 4 things that men should impart on their children: 1. Responsibility for your actions (and the ones you love), 2. Setting the expectation of excellence, 3. Value of empathy and 4. Faith and hope. Jeez- I think he was talking about my dad specifically!! :)

My dad has met all of these requirements! He had tons of little sayings when I was growing up- little catch phrases that at the time made me roll my eyes, but now I look back and understand exactly how true they are. He used to tell my sister and I that the Bible says, if you don't work, you don't eat. Now, when you are 16 you don't want to hear that, but when you are 31 and feeling a little depressed about being on an "unpaid vacation" (aka unemployed) sometimes it is just the thing you need to kick your butt into gear on your job search!! I don't think I would ask- unless I was in dire straits, but that phrase also lets you know that you are responsible for your own destiny, your own bills, your own craziness! As far as being responsible for those that you love, dad (and mom) always say that my sister and I should get along better because we are all that each other has. I must admit, I still like hearing that little phrase (but I am working on it!) Like President Obama's father-in-law, my dad gave me the best example of responsibility- he went to work every day! He woke up early (still does) and gave 110% at work and clearly expects that I will do the same thing- which leads me to #2.

A standard of excellence. Was my dad demanding? ABSOLUTELY- he still is. And those demands that my parents placed on me have (gladly) made me the person that I am today. Until irritated, I give 110% at everything that I do (dad keeps telling me to be humble!) It was not hard to get the message because my dad practiced what he preached every day. Every morning I saw a partnership at our house, mom and dad getting ready for work; dad cooking breakfast on Sunday mornings; doing laundry; taking us to school- whatever needed m=to be done, both my parents participated in our lives completely. My dad used to have Wednesdays off and would spend half the school day with me and half the school day with my sister... talk about embarrassing, right? But no other kid could say that her dad cared as much as mine; no other girls could convince me that their dad was as involved as mine and that is what I take away from Wednesdays with dad. He knew when I was acting up, my teachers knew who he was, and for such a big guy he was super quiet- he could sneak up on you JUST when you were about to do something ridiculous... but it kept me in line! :)

Empathy. The ability to feel for your fellow man. Until a couple years ago, our family used to go to St. Stephens Community House and volunteer around Thanksgiving time. Always active in the church, again, my dad led by example, making sure that we understood that money isn't everything and it didn't make you better than your neighbors.

Finally, faith and hope. What does life mean to you? :) My dad tells me constantly that life is not about me. The type of life that I lead should be beneficial for not just me. I should help, I should do my part, with my friends, families, even my enemies to do the best that I can to do what my dad did for me- be the best example to others of what I want to see in this crazy world!

So, I thank my dad, today and every day, for being the best dad ever, making me do the best that I can every day and allowing me to be opinionated and sometimes rude, and a tomboy and a girly girl and whatever I wanted to be-even if he didn't agree!
To all my readers... my dad is better than your dad!! :) LOL

Happy Father's Dad, daddy- love you!! :)


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