Father—a child’s first hero, a key universal figure for us all. A father’s impact is both profound and lasting. Good or bad, our experience with our fathers helps shape our lives. Good fathers lie at the foundation of the success of future generations. For those who have known the love of a father, nothing is comparable.
Neither does anything compare to the pain of those who have suffered fatherlessness. There is hope to be found, within these pages, both in the lasting impact of the men who chose to be a vital presence in the lives of their children, and in the remarkable resilience of those once fatherless children who found life, success, and reconciliation, despite their father’s absence.
Inspired by John W. Fountain’s essay for National Public Radio’s This I Believe series, Dear Dad is a compilation of true narratives written by some of the nation’s finest journalists and writers, assembled for this project by Fountain, himself an award-winning journalist who has been a national correspondent for the New York Times. Men and women from various walks of life and generations, they are black, white, and Hispanic. A good number of them have written for a number of the world’s best-known news organizations—the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Time magazine, and others.
All of them write herein about the impact of fathers or fatherlessness upon their own lives at a time when a national initiative and even President Barack Obama have sounded the clarion call for responsible fatherhood amid a continuing crisis of paternal absenteeism. But there are no victims in this collective psalm, only victors.
“Difficult” does not begin to express the nature of fatherlessness, and it becomes clear as the reader progresses through this volume that for those who must grapple with the situation, it becomes necessary to incorporate and somehow turn this misfortune into some kind of wisdom—a different endeavor for each of the contributors to the book. The general reader will be captivated, and encouraged, by the stories herein.
This is a book you can’t put down. The quality of the writing, and the contemplation that led to it, is top-notch. In some ways, this is a how-to manual: How to overcome. How to succeed. How to live on. How to be a better father. How to forgive our fathers, even how to love, remember, and honor our fathers. Dear Dad is for everyone who has a father, for everyone who has lost one, loved one, or longed for one, for everyone who happens to be one, and for everyone who longs to be a better one.