I remember growing up in Farmville, Virginia during the 50's and 60's. Our family was a typical Black family living in the Jim Crow South. Life was far from the American dream that was the ideal of mainstream America. Black fathers struggled to gain respect and dignity. We had to rely on strong family values to get us through the challenges of post World War II America. Leading us through this period was my father.
These were difficult days for Black families living in the South. As children, we didn't know we were poor and struggling because our parents protected us from worst of what they were going through. The values we held dear were taught to us by our father and mother. Our family was a happy family -- under the circumstances.
There I am to the left of my father with my brothers, my mother and sister. As I grew older and reflected on those childhood days, my father taught us boys about the responsibilities of manhood. All of the important lessons in life I learned from my father. The most important lessons are these:
- A man's word is his bond. In the end, people will know you by how well you keep your commitments.
- Honesty is the best policy. The trust that is built between people is built on honesty. Nothing destroys trust faster than a lie.
- Always give an honest day's work for a day's pay. You may not be paid all you want, but your value is determined by the work you do, not what you are paid.
- A good education is the ticket to success. My father didn't go to college, but he wanted his children to get a better education than he had.
- The responsibility as head of your family is the most important responsibility you have as a man. No sacrifice is too great for your wife and children.
As we approach Father's Day, I remember these lessons and strive always to live up to these expectations set for me by my father. To all the fathers in our online community, I wish you the very best on this day that is set aside to honor our role in our families.
Happy Father's Day!
Roger Madison, CEO
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