2019 - 2020 On Fathering LLC

  • Dedan K. Bruner

Clinton

Married

Father of 1

Maryland

I love my Pops. It’s hard not to love a man who taught me how to ride a bike, patch a hole in the wall (that my brothers and I created) and built a basketball court in our backyard. He worked hard to provide for our family. However, a trade-off was him not making it to a single practice and only a handful of games during my high school and collegiate athletic career. At the time, it was frustrating and difficult for me to reconcile because, in my eyes, my father was a titan, both literally and figuratively. As I grew older, I realized that between his age (he’s 12 years older than my mom) and the demanding nature of his job (USPS Manager), there just weren’t enough hours in the day to be all things, to all people, all the time.


I’ve been enamored with Superman since I was kid. I even adopted it as a nickname when I played sports in high school. As a small business owner, husband and father, I try to be a hero to everyone every day. Sometimes, I fall short and must remind myself that I’m only human. However, when I see my son’s smile when he wakes up, or hear his laughter when I’m chasing him around our house, it makes the long days and short nights worth it. I’ve realized my idea of being a hero, and his idea of being a hero, are worlds apart and that, often times, being there is enough for him.


My advice to expecting, new and current fathers: 1. Learn the lessons of your childhood and apply them to your parenting; and 2. Accept that even when you fall short, you will always be your child’s hero if you prioritize their wellbeing. I tell my son I love him every day so he will know what love looks and feels like from a masculine figure. I’ve been to every doctor’s appointment, often stay home with him when he’s sick and sing to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night. He doesn’t care about my salary (yet), he only cares that I’m there. So no matter how great or challenging the week may have been, no matter how busy my calendar may be, I also make time for him.