Before I filmed this video, I wondered how easy it was going to be. A year had passed since I had re-established a relationship with my father and I was doing great. All I really wanted to do was film a simple PSA about WeNeedOurFathers, but something different happened. It was the first time I had ever spoken about my fatherhood problems publicly, let alone in front of a camera. Once my words started coming out, I felt tears fall down my face. They weren’t tears of sadness or embarrassment, but tears of happiness and relief. I say this because I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Releasing this video was the best thing I have ever done. Not only did it make me feel relieved, it made me more confident, which allowed me to be able to speak in front of audiences. It has also enabled me to help other fathers and children to rebuild their relationships.
The responses I receive from this video often surprise me. I’ve been contacted by men who share their experiences about breaking down and needing to speak to their children. Children have also contacted me, asking for help with establishing relationships with their fathers.
Today, I challenge you to become part of the solution. If you are a father who isn’t actively fathering your child, or a mother who is preventing your child’s father from being a dad, please make this right. Put everything else aside and make your child’s well-being a priority. You can mentor youth, too. Specifically address the issues that arise from not having a father.
The most important thing I teach children is forgiveness. I tell them they need to learn to forgive their father – not for his sake, but for their own. That’s the only way they will ever be able to move on and be successful.
The two critical things that helped me in my healing process, and what I coach others on in my Father Relationship Restoration program, was realizing I wasn’t alone and that this wasn’t my fault. I also needed to realize that I had to forgive my father so I could be free.
Helping youth understand these two steps opens the door to healing, good conversations, and actions that will produce change. Remember, fathers – your children need you.
[Below: Watch Kasai Guthrie in the We Need Our Fathers Campaign Trailer…]