By Kodey Toney
My Father In Me
When I was a kid I, like any other child, had many ideas about what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a baseball player. Living in Kansas City I really wanted to play catcher for the Kansas City Royals. I wanted to be a police officer. I can remember at my eighth grade graduation in fact that I announced I wanted to be a DEA agent. There were many other professions that I toyed around with in my imagination. Many other adventures I wanted to take.
However, never once did I think to myself, “I want to be a dad.” A father was the last thing on my mind. I don’t think that is programmed into our heads as men like it is to women. When they are born one of the first things they are given is usually a baby doll. They are taught how to love, take care of others, and even how to change them and feed them.
Men are left to find other outlets for their paternal tutelage. They have to search the people around them; the men in their lives.
It hits me as I write this on Father’s Day that I had many of these people in my life, and I am blessed to say that.
When Konner was diagnosed it was tough to find information from a father’s perspective. This is part of the reason that I started this column. I wanted to share some of my stories from a father’s point of view. As I’ve gone along I’ve wondered why anyone would listen to me. I wondered if I had any information that anyone would want to read. So then, and I still have this question, I wondered if I was a good enough father. I’m not perfect, and I’ve said that many times before. I know you don’t have to be, and I know that there are many other father’s who have better patience and communication skills than I do. I try really hard though.
I attribute this to the men who have been in my life. I had a grandfather who raised four children by himself with a very limited budget. What he did have was plenty of love and hard work. I had another grandfather who raised six children, again on a limited budget, and worked very hard. He has also, along with my grandmother, raised a grandchild, and continues to raise two great-grandchildren.
Then of course was my father who worked very hard to give our family everything that we’ve ever needed, and even managed to throw in a lot of things we just wanted.
They all taught me that you have to give love and you have to work hard to keep a family going and to be a good father. More importantly each one of these men were great dads. They say there is difference between a father and a dad, and I firmly believe that. That extra sacrifice, extra dedication, and that hard work make you a great father, but it is that love that makes you a great dad.