A very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
I am so blessed to have had several father figures in my life and the lives of my two sons. I salute you all.
Some of you know my story — how my mom left an abusive marriage when I was only 5, and my brother Adam was 2 — and we moved to Miami seeking a better life for us. I have shared with you some of the hardships we had as my mother and her dear friend schemed to get us out of rural Williston, Florida, during the height of World War II: Mom standing in the aisle of the bus holding my brother until a kind soldier gave her a seat, while I sat sleeping on our suitcase leaning my head on her thigh.
The Lord was with us and has been with us ever since.
I am so thankful that our mom never sought to make us angry at our father. And because of that, we were able to develop a relationship with him that lasted until his death at 86 in 1997. And while he never could say “I’m sorry” we knew that he was. It was apparent on one of the last Father’s Days that we saw him.
My brother, who lives in Melbourne, and I took our children to Eatonville, where our father lived with his wife Susie, to take them out to dinner. Throughout the dinner, Dad kept his head down so we wouldn’t see the tears in his eyes. l was so touched. And we understood. Over the years, I have thought about that day and the spirit of humility that Dad showed.
Today, I am thinking about the many other men who, I am sure, would love to have such a moment with their estranged children. To you I say, “Just do it.” Set aside your egos and rekindle (and in some cases, kindle for the first time) the light of love for your children. Trust me, it won’t hurt and you will be the better man for it.
It isn’t always easy to say, “I am sorry” or “forgive me” when we have done something to hurt someone else. But at such times, we must learn to swallow our pride and just do the right thing. I have lived long enough to know that to forgive and to ask for forgiveness is, in the words of my late friend and colleague Charlie Whited, like giving your soul a bath. It just makes you feel better.
As I write this, my mind goes back to those men who were father figures to me: the late James Wanza, who was my homeroom teacher when I was in high school at Booker T. Washington Junior/Senior High School during the 1950s; my spiritual father, Bishop Walter H. Richardson, who not only looked out for my soul for more than 55 years, but who also has guided me through many secular situations; Richard Janero, who first made me believe in myself as a writer when I was a student at the then-Miami Dade Community College North Campus; and the late, great Fred Shaw, who encouraged me to study journalism when there were no black journalists at the Miami Herald. He told me that “things are going to change and you need to be ready for the change.”
To all of you, I say a heartfelt “Thank you!”
Fireside discussion at Miami Baha’i Center
You are invited to a fireside discussion on the Life and Importance of Husayn Ali Nuri Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Baha’i Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy, Suite 209.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah in 1817. His birthday will be celebrated worldwide in October, according to the center.
During his lifetime, Baha’u’llah wrote many books and letters to friends and followers across the Middle East, addressing not only timeless theological and philosophical questions such as the nature of God, justice and the purpose of life, but also the questions that have occupied modern minds like how to attain world peace, what motivates human nature, and does God still care for humanity.
At the event, the discussion will involve examining Baha’u’llah’s birth and upbringing in Tehran, Iran, and in the lands of Mazindaran in the north of Iran, his subsequent acceptance of the faith of the Bab, a herald of the Baha’i Faith, just as John the Baptist heralded the coming of Jesus, resulting in his banishment to various cities of the Ottoman Empire.
The event is open to the community and light refreshments will be served following the discussion. Call 305-915-7247 or visit MiamiBahai.org for more information.
In addition, the center will host a community devotional gathering at 10:30 a.m. June 25. There is never an admission charge or a solicitation of funds at these events.
‘Hello Summer’ family picnic
Ahavaat Olam, a synagogue in Kendall that embraces all Jews and interfaith families, will have a “Hello Summer” family picnic to welcome in the summer season at 4 p.m. June 24 on the grounds of the temple and Killian Pines United Methodist Church, 10755 SW 112th St.
The picnic is open to the joint congregations as well as the general public and will feature a water balloon toss and other fun picnic games. The food will include hamburgers, hot dogs with all the fixings, beans and coleslaw and watermelon for dessert. There will also be ice tea, lemonade and water. Other desserts can be brought by guest for themselves and for sharing.
Bring your own blankets or beach chairs. There will be a donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
‘The Merry Widow’ in concert
The Alhambra Orchestra will present a concert version of Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” in two performances, 10 a.m. June 22 in the Ponce de Leon Middle School Auditorium, 5801 Augusto St. in Coral Gables; and 4 p.m. June 25 in the auditorium of Temple Beth, 5950 N. Kendall Dr. in Pinecrest.
The operetta will be sung in English by members of Riuniti Opera, and the Alhambra Orchestra and will be conducted by Daniel Andal. The one-hour, just-for-kids performances are for all ages and are a great way to introduce children to the opera. The performances are free. Call 305-668-9260 or 305-606-8759 for more information.
Thought-provoking message to be ‘unleashed’
The Universal Truth Center for Better Living at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens invites the community to its Youth Sunday services at 9:45 a.m. Sunday.
During the service, the center’s youth Akil Cole and Jonathan Tagoe will deliver the lesson, “The Thought Connection,” as a part of the series “Healing Unleashed.” Cole and Tagoe will refer to the scripture, Philippians chapter 4 and verse 8, to bring to the congregation a motivating and thought-provoking message, which is designed to guide parishioners on how to experience wholeness in their physical bodies, relationships and their finances, according to a news release.
All graduates, from kindergarten to grad school will be recognized during the service.
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