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My Third Fatherís Day -- a Time to Reflect on Family and Express Gratitude

Black America Web.com, Commentary , Thomas Joyner Jr. Posted: Jun 15, 2008

Though my daughter recently celebrated her second birthday, this Sunday will mark my third Fatherís Day.

As Nature would have it, Griffen Joyner was born a few days before Fatherís Day í06. Since the entire notion of fatherhood was still brand new to me at the time, and we hadnít been at home for too long, that first Fatherís Day was spent with me learning the ďbaby ropes," like the art of burping and how to change a girlís diaper. Fatherís Day í07, however, was special as Griffen had the opportunity to spend it with three generations of Joyner fathers. That was my grandfatherís last Fatherís Day, so dinner -- after watching Tiger win one of those tournaments -- was an extra special occasion, highlighted by Griffenís coos, smiles and laughs.

As for the Father's Day coming this Sunday, I canít call it as of yet, except to say that itíll be extremely hot here in Dallas, so our options may be limited. But Iím sure that it will be meaningful nonetheless.

Griffen is a wonderful daughter and simply put, it is because she has a wonderful mother. Itís not lost on me, as a husband or a father, the time and effort that it has taken to develop Griffen into the polite and charming two-year-old that she is. She sings, she dances, sheís respectful to others, and she recognizes Oprah and Obama from a mile away. My wife, Toy, is the exact type of mother that every dad would want for their child.

For me, Fatherís Day is a day for appreciation and reflection. Words canít effectively express how appreciative I am for the strong father and role model that 8 million listeners know as Tom Joyner. My brother Oscar and I call have always just known him as Dad -- and I often wonder what heís done with all of the ties and bottles of cologne that weíve given him over the years. As a son and as H. L. Joynerís grandson, I have so much to be thankful for on this Fatherís Day.

Itís also a day for assessment and evaluation. Am I doing all that I can to prepare Griffen for the challenges and obstacles that life will lay in her path? Am I providing her with the love and support that she needs from her father? I trust that I am -- and that makes this Fatherís Day more special, in addition to the quality time that my father, my child and I will spend together.

So on the occasion of my third Fatherís Day, Iím thankful for my father. And Iím recommitting myself as a father to my own child as a way to honor him, his father and all of our forefathers. My baby daughter -- and her future daughter -- deserves no less.

Thomas Joyner Jr. is the CEO of the Tom Joyner Foundation.

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