Fathers. There are so many different ways to describe dads – biological, adoptive, stepfather, grandfather, absent father. The one thing that all fathers have in common is their responsibility for another person. My dad died of alcoholism when I was in high school. He gave me life but did little to guide me through it. My father was actually my stepdad, Jim. He came into my life also when I was in high school and quietly, in many ways without me even knowing it, guided me through life until his passing 5 years ago. Fathers don’t wear badges announcing who they are but they know it. I believe most fathers are like Jim – they know they have a responsibility for guiding another person and they try their best to live up to that obligation. Some are better at it than others. Some were given lots of guidance from their own fathers or other male role models. Some don’t have the tools and think they have to struggle to figure it out on their own.
One things is for certain, there are many fathers, all kinds of fathers, being helped at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. As I’ve gotten to know some of our fathers over the years, the one common theme I hear consistently is their desire to get their own lives back on track so they can fulfill their responsibility to their children. Now that’s a good dad in my opinion. They just need some support, to know that others care about them and are rooting for them, and that it’s ok to seek help for yourself now in order to be able to help others later. I often wonder if my own biological father could have turned things around with a bit more support. While I’ll never know the answer to that question, I do know that we have hundreds of men, fathers, experiencing homelessness who want and need our support.
My desire every day at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is that we provide as much support as needed to each man while, in return, he takes responsibility for his own life today. By doing so these dads can raise their own games as fathers in the near future. We have many dads doing a great job. I remember a young dad not too long ago who would get up before daylight to leave the shelter and walk his child to elementary school. After school he walked her to the library to do homework before walking her to his mother’s house where she stayed at night. He’d then walk back to the shelter after dark. That’s a dad I admire and one we have to support. We also have to support our fathers who struggle with how to be responsible for their children, who want to be better parents, who are motivated to do the right thing.
So, this Father’s Day please say a prayer for the fathers staying at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and consider participating in our Father’s Day Wallet Drive. Your donation of a new or gently used wallet is an easy, yet impactful, way of showing our men that others care about them and are supporting them as they move beyond one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. Your financial gift will go towards providing support for our men. To learn more about how to get involved please visit our website www.MensShelterofCharlotte.org.
Happy Father’s Day!