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  • Writer's pictureDedan K. Bruner



Father of 3

Washington, D.C.

I became a father to my daughter Jasani in my early twenties while attending graduate school. The moment I met my daughter, the gravity of being responsible for another person truly hit me. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed the first time I was home alone with her as an infant. I had never been around a small baby before and had no clue with to do with her. Eventually, my role as daddy became more natural and I had an amazing first year bonding with my daughter.

Unfortunately the college town we were in didn’t have many job opportunities so I moved to Washington, D.C. while my daughter’s mother relocated to a different city. To be candid, I was not prepared for how lonely it would feel to put miles of distance between me and my child. To this day, it is not easy being separated from her but I do my best to be as present for her as possible.

Years later, I got married and have since had 2 more children. I am humbled to watch my daughter Jordan and son Josiah Jr. grow up on the daily basis. I am extremely proud of the experiences I am able to provide them and really focus on ensuring that they are confident, assertive and happy children. Growing up in a small town in Florida, my childhood was very different from the way my children are being raised in such a big city but we make it work by being more intentional about making sure they get a sense of community. Still, nothing makes me happier as a dad than having all 3 of my kids together, so I look forward to the summers when my oldest can come be with our family. At 9 years old, I know there may come a day where she is "too cool" to want to hang with her daddy so I take in all in now.

I don’t have too many tips on being a father because every child is so different and you have to do what works for them individually. I guess the first tip is be flexible enough to listen to your children and learn their personalities because parenting isn’t one size fits all. For those fathers who do have to go the custody agreement route, do the best by your child, regardless of the situation. No one prepared me for the stress that can come from having a custody agreement and at times it has been an extremely hard adjustment. As my oldest daughter grows, I hope she will always see that even though I’m not perfect, I consistently give my best effort. My last piece of advice is to focus on experiences and not things. I love to travel and make memories with our children. Financially it can be tough to take big trips so we focus on utilizing the amazing resources a big city has to offer. 

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