A Father's Journey
A Father's Journey
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
On this Father’s Day, I am counting my blessings. I am the father of three healthy, happy, beautiful children. My wife and I have raised them to be kind and caring and accepting of others. We have told them they can love who they want, and that they can be who they want. We have taught them to have compassion, to help those less fortunate, and to stick up for those who can’t stick up for themselves. My kids, and I believe their generation as a whole, are more accepting of people who are different than they are, more supportive, more active in advocacy. I believed that I was doing my part as a father.
On May 25, 2020, that changed. I saw the perspective of another father whose family lived a very different reality than our own. I saw the terrible video of George Floyd’s murder, and I saw our country respond with outrage, anger, and fear. In that instant, I knew that I hadn’t done enough. There is more that I need to do. There is more that I want to do.
For the first time, I saw clearly that, as a father, I have never had to worry that my daughter or two sons would leave the house and die at the hands, or under the knee, of a police officer. I have never worried that they would be shot while jogging, for wearing a hoodie, or for sitting quietly in their home. I have never worried they would be killed for the color of their skin or who they chose to love.
I have never had to talk with my children about how to interact with the police. And I have never had to talk with them about their race and the institutions and systems of racism in America. In short, as a white father, I have never taught my children to see through the eyes of black children.
These past weeks have opened my eyes to a reality that I have never needed to know. To a fear and anxiety that I have never needed to experience. To a pain that no father should need to feel.
These past weeks have led me to take a first step on a long voyage of discovery. On a journey towards seeing the world through the eyes of the black community, and to help my children to do the same.
That journey starts with listening. Listening to voices from the black community. Listening to words that are uncomfortable to hear. Listening to aspects of life and of our society that I have never experienced. I want to live in a world, and for my children to live in a world, where every person, regardless of race, feels the freedom to walk out of their front door, or sit comfortably in their own home, and be supported, be protected…be safe.
My hope is that George Floyd and so, so many others, have not died in vain, but have helped to open our collective eyes. To teach us: Do better. Know better, then do better.
On this Father’s Day, may we all see the world more clearly, and do our part to change it to what we want it to be. May we all see the world with new eyes. For my children. For your children. For our collective world.
Happy Father’s Day.
Senior Vice President of Strategy and Growth