Happy Father’s Day, fathers! Last year, we took a look at some of the ways that male role models can impact the lives of young ones. This year, we had the honor of working with a student who has said it better than any of the studies we have read.
In ReadThenWrite, students work with volunteer coaches, reading and writing about a particular topic over the course of several weeks. At the end, they come away with a polished piece of writing, which is published in a book and celebrated at a launch party and author reading at the Open Books store.
Tyra, a 10th grader, read her story about losing and gaining a male role model. Her piece is called “My Other Father.” Tyra starts her story by telling of all of the male role models she has lost. Her father was shot in 2007. Months before, an uncle passed away, and shortly after her father’s shooting, two more uncles, her mother’s only brothers, passed as well.
She writes: “When my dad died, I looked for a male role model. I kept being rejected, so I just said, ‘Forget them.’ I went looking for big brothers, but was rejected again, so one day, my cousin asked if I had talked to my uncle Dewayne.
Tyra and Dewayne form a great relationship. She goes to visit him in Minnesota, where he lives. She writes: “I was like the daughter he never had, and he was like the male I always wanted to look up to. When I was down there for the summer I thought I was in love! It was like my daddy had come back to life! I was able to look up to my uncle because he was like another father and I respected him.”
Tyra was not allowed to go visit Dewayne unless she stayed on top of her grades. He held her to this, and she held up her grades. Forming a relationship with Dewayne also pushed Tyra to try again with her stepfather, whom she had written off years ago.
Now, she writes: “I have a father in heaven, a father at home, and a father in Minnesota. My dream has come true. It’s easy to have a mother because I have a lot of women in my family, and I know a lot of women. But it’s hard to find male role models. Luckily, I found two more. My uncle and stepdad stepped up to do my father’s job, since he was busy helping God…
“I respect these men for taking on the role of having me as a daughter, mainly because there aren’t many men who would take on that extra responsibility. That’s why I love and appreciate them, because they changed my perspective about men. I thought all men would look past girls who needed a male role model, or forget that females need role models to balance life. I thank my step dad and my other male role models for stepping up and doing what I always wanted them to do - to be my other father.“
Gentlemen, there are countless students like Tyra who can benefit greatly from having a male role model, and Open Books would be thrilled to introduce you to some of them. Are you ready to get involved? Sign up now and learn how you can make a difference.