The Measure of a Man

By: K. Denise Richardson

Whether we like to admit it or not, we are shaped by the role men play in our lives. And by men, I don’t just mean fathers (although they play a significant role) but spouses, lovers, relatives, and friends.

Personally, I have been blessed to have a great grouping of positive male role models in my life: My uncles, my grandfather, my godfathers, mentors, and friends. Growing up and seeing these men and they way that they treat women have given me a guideline on what I, as a woman, should expect. And I will not settle for anything less. At this point in my life, I can gladly say that I don’t have to, let’s just hope he keeps it up 😉

I had a conversation with my BFF yesterday. She has dated every type of man under the sun. Finally, she has met a guy who is consistent, driven, thoughtful, respectful, and attractive. There is nothing more a girl could ask for. I am EXTREMELY happy for her. There is nothing like seeing someone you love happy, and she is ELATED! This, my friends, is the measure of a man. One who still believes in chivalry and believes that his word is his bond. SO MANY MEN (and women) have fallen off the bandwagon in this regard. Great people should surround themselves with great people. She deserves this guy and it couldn’t have come at a better time! Such a breath of fresh air.

Now, in the Spirit of Father’s Day, I thought it only right to include a blurb about the man who helped spawn greatness, my namesake and father.  I’ve had many “daddy” conversations with my best friends. Of the 5 of us, only 2 grew up in the house with their fathers, but it wasn’t all peaches and berries for one of them. We all have different situations, so we share our perspectives to the issue of how it has shaped us as women.

My parents were married when I was conceived but later divorced before my teenage years. I didn’t think I was really affected by this or that I had the proverbial “Daddy Issues,” but as an adult, I’ve realized that a lot of how I react to people have to do with those situations. My parents got back together for a while and decided that it really wasn’t going to work so permanently split up while I was in middle school. My relationship with my father deteriorated for many years before we even really spoke or saw each other again. I still had a relationship with him, a very strained one, but a relationship nonetheless. My mom was open to talk about anything. I could ask any question that came to mind; I just had to be open and comfortable enough to receive the response. Her idea was, she would rather me come to her before the problem and have an uncomfortable conversation rather than have a lifetime of uncomfortable results. We are inseparable to this day. But I digress. Once I approached high school my dad tried to become more active in my life, but he was inconsistent. I think it was more of a competitive thing and he felt he had to prove something to me over my mom. There was clearly no comparison. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed the gifts and the money that sent me to Australia, Switzerland, and Paris but it was my Mom sitting in the long meetings about international safety, packing, and language skills with me. Money can never be more valuable than time. Since then, my father has remarried and has a daughter who is now 6. I love her to pieces and she looks so much like me it’s scary. She calls me often and we talk about the latest doll or game that has come out. It’s a funny feeling. He has been the most important person in her life. It is so beautiful to see how much of a role model he is to her. When I was younger I was resentful, because in my mind I wondered where was this guy when I was growing up? Where was this guy when I graduated from high school?

As a woman, I have come to a conclusion. He is a great person; he just let things in his life affect his actions.  He was trying to forgive himself, and he never blamed anyone else for his mishaps. I prayed about it and looked at him as a whole and not the sum of his parts. Since then I have forgiven him and I can no longer let that destroy our relationship or the relationship I will have with the man I marry. My father attended my college graduation and I was very happy for him to be there. He didn’t try to take credit for the work my mom put in raising me. He was just simply there to say I’m proud of you, and I’m showing you that. We now talk every week, and our relationship is very strong. So with that said ….Happy Father’s Day Kerry. I love you.

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