Sunday, August 1, 2010
There is a guy who inspires me somehow when he writes. I don’t fully get it. You think if you’re writing books about self-discovery and experiencing life you can’t possibly continue to have the same fresh, honest, raw, ignorant and learning posture while writing but somehow he does that. You would think that with more knowledge and writing he would start writing more authoritative books, but this guy is both humble and honest. I love him. His name is Donald Miller. He’s written 5 books. He had 1 re-released (his first book but no one knew about the first publishing of it, so it seems more like his 3rd book, but chronologically it’s his first) called “Through Painted Deserts.” Now he currently has two other books re-released right now, “Searching for God Knows What” and “Father Fiction.” When you have 3 out of 5 books re-released that means you‘re either really good. . . . . . Or really bad. Ha ha!
“Searching for God Knows What” was considered his best book by both Donald and me before his 5th book (“Million Miles in a Thousand Years”). I haven’t read it yet so we’ll see how I feel. But I’m currently reading “Father Fiction.”
Hmmmm. . . .
I saw Donald speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver while I was in South Africa in 2008, and I didn’t understand how he was asked by Obama to do that, but he apparently started some mentoring project that helps lots of young kids who don’t have fathers. Donald was one of those kids. And writing this book, “Father Fiction,” was a way to work through some of his fatherless issues.
I sometimes wonder if it’s better to have no father than to have a poor father or bad fathering. I wonder if you can do negative damage which might be worse than the absence of good construction. I don’t know. But, for boys, there seems to be something that is learned by the presence of a father. Something seems to be transferred whether good or bad. And the question is how do you transfer the good stuff for kids who don’t have fathers.
Don’s first father was Dr. Huxtable on the Cosby Show. Don loved that family so much he thought “Black people have it perfect.” This would make many Black people in America laugh. It made me laugh, but I loved how this young Texas kid had a positive image of Black people at so young and age with so pioneering a show.
One thing I’ve seen is that people will find fathers wherever they can. And sometimes you don’t know that you are a father. It’s sometimes thrust upon you whether you choose it or not. The tough part about fathering is learning how to both encourage and build up while being honest and truthful at the same time. You see “in life, you are pretty much going to do the things that make you feel good about your self, make you feel important and on purpose, and walk away from the things that make you feel like a loser.” So if you make a kid feel like a loser she or he probably won’t gravitate towards you. I see it in my own life. I stay away from places, things, and people that make me feel like a loser. Otherwise, I start believing it if I hear it enough. Then I start asking myself “Is it true? Am I a loser?” I look in the mirror pinching my cheeks, examining myself, asking “Is this what a loser looks like?” “I knew losers were short, but I’m not THAT short.”
Fathers are important. . . . For both sons and daughters, girls and boys. It’s something I can’t get away from, true if I know it or not. In South Africa, there is a lack of black male role models and I had many people asking me formally or informally to be their mentor. But I even had a girl ask me to be her life coach. I sometimes wonder what people see. But even if you don’t see it in yourself, even if you don’t accept a fathering position, people are watching and learning. So I live in that funny tension between both fathering and being fathered and wanting to father even better than I was fathered. I supposed I shouldn’t think about standards, but it’s quite natural.
The Mentoring Project - http://www.thementoringproject.org/