Series Code: AFH
Program Code: AFH000025A
00:01 A good father takes time to play.
00:05 He has strong integrity.
00:08 He is someone that is truly dedicated.
00:12 He is not afraid to show his love.
00:15 He is a caring provider.
00:19 And he is a kind spiritual leader.
00:23 These are just a few ways to describe a father's heart.
00:33 Hi and welcome to A Father's Heart.
00:34 I'm your host Xavier.
00:36 And today, we're going to be discussing
00:38 how to restore deadbeat fathers.
00:40 What does that even look like?
00:41 Who is that and how is it defined?
00:43 And with me to talk about that are my two good friends,
00:45 Paul and Denry.
00:47 How are you guys today?
00:48 Great. Great to be here again, man.
00:50 Can't complain. Can't complain.
00:51 So deadbeat fathers,
00:54 how is that defined
00:56 and how do you restore something
00:59 that sounds so negative?
01:01 The thing is a good that you acts, let's define it first
01:05 'cause there are so much interpretations
01:07 of what a deadbeat father is.
01:09 The word view mostly is the person
01:11 that's not financing a child or necessarily not there.
01:17 But a deadbeat father can be there physically,
01:22 but just still absent in a child's life.
01:24 So basically, my interpretation of what a deadbeat father
01:27 is you're not involved,
01:29 actively involved in the growth
01:32 and the development of your child,
01:34 whether emotional, physical,
01:36 your idea, you don't care, there is no communication,
01:39 just like you can't talk to the dead,
01:41 you can't talk to your father.
01:44 You know, that's my interpretation.
01:45 I think that's a great definition.
01:47 My years working with the courts,
01:49 we actually made a great effort to not use the term.
01:54 So in my communication with the friend of the court
01:57 and being involved in custody,
02:01 you know, cases, and this kind of stuff,
02:03 the labeling was a problem
02:05 because there are many fathers
02:07 who are placed under the label
02:10 that are not really guilty of the definition.
02:14 So for example,
02:16 as it pertains to child payment...
02:20 Sorry, I forgot the term.
02:22 But basically...
02:23 Yeah, when you owe money for child support
02:26 and you could owe money for child support for,
02:31 you know, more than one reason.
02:32 This is not always a direct neglect.
02:35 And there are fathers
02:36 who are making a conscious effort
02:38 to meet that need,
02:39 and handle arrears, and owe payments,
02:42 and so on, and so forth,
02:43 and they are involved in their children's lives
02:46 as the financial, you know, glitch or set back.
02:52 And they are not fairly receiving that label.
02:57 So this definition I think is a good one,
03:00 and it's very important that we identify
03:02 those who are deadbeat
03:04 as those who are not making contributions to their child's,
03:08 not just financial welfare, but on cognitive development.
03:13 Now you could be at home and still be a deadbeat.
03:16 Exactly. I believe that.
03:17 You know, your only involvement is financially,
03:20 your child wants to go see the world,
03:22 you know, go ahead and pay for that,
03:24 that kind of relationship compared to,
03:26 "Hey, let's get involved.
03:28 Let's get involved."
03:29 I'm glad you mentioned the court
03:32 because I was labeled as a deadbeat dad.
03:36 You know, and I refused
03:38 to be like that in the sense of...
03:40 I fought back the court's system.
03:43 I said, "I'm going to show you what a deadbeat dad I am.
03:44 I'm going to go tooth and nail with you guys
03:47 till you see how involved I am in my daughter's life.
03:50 You know, that's the key
03:52 because I've been part of groups
03:54 and I'm still part of groups for fatherless homes,
03:57 meaning that, now that the dads aren't there,
04:00 but the kids are going through parental alienation.
04:03 You know, kids are being kept from the fathers
04:05 for whatever reason, it could be the courts,
04:06 it could be the moms, whatever the reason maybe.
04:09 And these fathers, I remember recently,
04:14 as of last year 23...
04:17 Excuse me, 23 fathers committed suicide
04:21 because they couldn't see their kids.
04:22 And they were all called deadbeat dads.
04:24 Mercy. You know what I mean?
04:27 What society looks at father's
04:29 that aren't able to pay child support
04:32 for whatever reason, maybe it's a system issue.
04:34 You know, fathers are crumbling left and right
04:38 because they're being called deadbeat dads even though
04:41 that's not their real title,
04:43 it's a system issue.
04:44 And I think, I'm glad you made it clear
04:46 because deadbeat fathers...
04:49 I agree, there are ones that really don't care,
04:52 the ones that chose not to want to be there
04:56 even when odds are against them
05:00 'cause the odds were against me.
05:02 The odds were against me
05:03 and my daughter was a few months old.
05:07 But I fought.
05:08 I cried, and I cried, and I literally cried,
05:11 not like this metaphorical weeping.
05:14 You know, I cried...
05:15 You will.
05:16 I was agonizing over that.
05:19 And I said, "God, help me.
05:21 I'm fighting this.
05:22 Take all my money, I don't care."
05:25 You know, because I have built a good relationship
05:29 with the case investigator, with the court, everybody,
05:33 they know my name
05:35 like to the point where now if I switch a job,
05:37 I don't even have to write anything into the court,
05:40 the case investigator will call,
05:41 "Hey, Xavier, how are you doing?"
05:43 "How are you doing?"
05:44 "Yeah, here's the number, here's the name."
05:46 "Okay, don't worry about writing anything else
05:47 I'll switch it for you."
05:48 I don't lift a finger.
05:50 And that's what God does
05:51 when you are truly not a deadbeat father.
05:54 He goes ahead and changes
05:56 everybody else's minds around you.
05:57 But have you experienced deadbeat...
06:00 Have you dealt with any deadbeat fathers?
06:02 The real, you know,
06:03 what we just talked about the ones
06:04 that did not want to be there.
06:06 Have you dealt with them?
06:07 I have dealt with many. You wanna go first?
06:08 You go first.
06:10 I have dealt with many.
06:11 And from our own conversations and our sharing,
06:13 I think we're kind of both in some sense experienced that.
06:21 If we should talk about that first off.
06:24 So I met my dad at about age 15...
06:26 I mean, I was on date.
06:28 Oh, mercy.
06:29 I met my dad at about age 15.
06:31 I shared before.
06:34 My father was present in my life as a toddler.
06:38 But I don't really have a memory
06:41 of a father-son type relationship
06:44 because we went to live with my grandma,
06:47 and my mom migrated to the US, and they were after...
06:51 My grandma raised me, not my father.
06:53 So I met my father at 15 in Brooklyn.
06:56 And at that time,
06:57 I was very much running the streets
07:00 and gang violence and all that stuff.
07:04 And I remember telling my father
07:05 when I met him
07:07 because he needed to stay at our residence,
07:09 our apartment for about two months
07:12 in transition of getting his own place.
07:13 And my mom was courteous enough to let him know that.
07:17 "So you haven't been in these children's lives,
07:20 you can't just walk in here.
07:22 So at least give me time to talk to them."
07:24 And we had a little family meeting,
07:26 and my mom was basically acts as,
07:27 you know, "Your dad wants to stay here for two months.
07:29 How do you guys feel about that?"
07:31 I was like, "I don't care, man."
07:32 So then when I met him, I told him, I said,
07:34 "Look, if she wants you to stay here,
07:37 personally, I don't know if I will let you,
07:38 but this is her place, so.
07:40 And if she wants too, man,
07:42 you know, I don't care, it's all right,
07:43 just don't touch my mom," you know?
07:45 And I also told him,
07:47 "I hope you're not coming here now to try to be like a father
07:50 and give me a bunch of rules and all of that
07:52 'cause I'm already a man."
07:53 That's what I said to my dad.
07:57 It's important to understand,
07:59 there maybe someone watching this program
08:03 who has been guilty of not being present
08:06 in their child's life.
08:07 It is never too late to start and to be a parent.
08:12 Children are extremely forgiving.
08:15 Children are extremely forgiving.
08:17 Yes, there are some, who I guess,
08:19 never get over the hurt and pain.
08:21 But I had to use the comparison
08:24 they are almost sometimes like the love cohesion
08:27 between a pet and a person, dogs especially.
08:32 You can show them a bunch of neglect,
08:35 but once you start treating them with love again,
08:38 they will try to bond that relationship.
08:41 Children are somewhat the same,
08:42 especially when it pertains to father.
08:44 So I want that viewer to understand,
08:47 it's never too late to pray and get yourself involved.
08:52 I mean, as terrible as it looks.
08:54 I'll give you a short memory reference.
08:59 I am about 15,
09:02 in the street with my friends,
09:04 and my dad call to me at some point,
09:07 well, I came up into the apartment.
09:09 He said, "Hey, son, do me a favor, man.
09:11 Run down over to the botique out there
09:15 and I need a New York Post, and two cans of tuna fish,
09:19 and something else.
09:21 You know, if can you get these things?"
09:22 And I said, "Yeah."
09:23 He gives me like $10 or whatever.
09:25 And I take off.
09:26 I pretty much forgot about my dad's requests.
09:29 I was hanging with my friends, doing what I usually do.
09:32 And then I remembered at some point
09:34 that I promised to get him this stuff.
09:36 So I run to the store, I get the stuff.
09:38 And it's like on my way back,
09:41 a neighborhood conflict erupts, gang fight.
09:45 So now I'm more concerned about getting a knife,
09:49 or a pistol, or whatever and joining my friends
09:51 and dealing with this,
09:53 whoever is trying to intrude our territory or whatever.
09:55 We were just getting ready to have it out.
09:57 And that's where my mind is.
10:00 But I remember, I got his stuff.
10:01 I run up stairs, get up to the top,
10:03 you know, 5th floor or whatever,
10:04 where we were living,
10:06 bust the door open, went up to my father and said,
10:08 "Hey, here is the newspaper."
10:09 I throw his newspaper down on the table.
10:11 "I put your tuna fish on the table
10:13 and here's your change."
10:14 And just plopped the change, tucked my hand in my pocket,
10:16 pull out of whatever money and coins,
10:18 plopped it in his hand, started to run back for them.
10:21 My father said, "Hey, hey, hey, Hold on.
10:22 Hold on, man. Wait. Wait. Hold on. Hold on.
10:24 Come here. Come here."
10:26 And I thought he was calling me back to tell me,
10:28 "My change is short 50 cents.
10:30 Where is my money?"
10:32 You know, I thought he was calling me
10:33 for some ridiculous nonsense.
10:35 My father says, "This is mine, the quarter.
10:38 This is mine, dollar, two dollars.
10:40 This is mine, 10 cents.
10:42 This is yours."
10:43 And he holds up ganja spliff.
10:46 You guys will say, a joint, is that right?
10:48 He holds up a joint and says, "That's yours."
10:52 So immediately, of course, I tried...
10:54 You know, my mind...
10:56 "Your what?
10:57 Where you got that from?
10:58 That ain't even," you know?
11:00 But then he cut me off.
11:02 He disarmed me.
11:04 All he said was in a very calm tone
11:06 while I was trying to say it's not mine.
11:08 He says, "Son, look, listen, it's your business.
11:12 I'm not trying to tell you
11:13 what to do and what not to do in that sense,
11:15 but you mess around with that stuff too much,
11:18 it's going to hurt you."
11:19 He gave it to me.
11:20 That was it, turned around and continued watching
11:22 whatever TV program he was watching.
11:24 I put it in my pocket, and went back out,
11:26 and got involved with whatever violence
11:28 I was waiting to get involved.
11:29 But I mean I remember that.
11:31 And I think it was a good effort
11:34 on his part
11:35 to demonstrate parenting to the ability
11:37 that he knew in spite of being absent
11:41 from my life for all those years.
11:44 Mercy, man.
11:46 So did yours call you son?
11:47 He called you son?
11:49 Yeah. Yeah.
11:50 He called me son. Most times, he called me boy.
11:51 Unfortunately, I never got that.
11:54 And I never got that.
11:56 This is very, very touching
11:58 because, you know, last time we did this,
12:01 you know, my father was alive and we spoke about,
12:05 you know, him contacting me,
12:07 you know, calling me,
12:09 and, you know, me trying to reach out to him,
12:11 but at times, it would made me upset
12:14 because the only conversation was about money.
12:17 So he became my dependent, you know?
12:21 Here I am trying to take care of my wife,
12:23 my three children,
12:24 and I also have another child which is my father now.
12:27 And so...
12:29 Yeah. Yeah.
12:30 You know, which I didn't mind, but I was looking for more.
12:34 You know, I wanted more.
12:36 I wanted to have some conversation.
12:37 I really wanted to know who he was as a father,
12:40 you know, what did he do as a child,
12:42 what did he do as a teenager, blah, blah, blah, and so forth.
12:45 The only thing I know about my father
12:47 is he love women,
12:49 and he love alcohol, and once in a while he smoke.
12:52 That's the only thing.
12:55 And then unfortunately,
12:56 between the time last time we talked,
12:59 last year or whatever, and now my father's deceased.
13:05 And what makes it painful is that,
13:09 you know, I stopped answering his calls.
13:14 I stopped answering calls.
13:16 I know we're talking about restoration here.
13:19 But instead of me trying to reach out
13:24 and trying to restore something,
13:26 I stopped answering his call
13:28 because I always saw his calls
13:30 as he needed something from me.
13:32 Was he sick?
13:33 Yeah, he was sick.
13:34 And I had a conversation with my mother,
13:36 and she basically...
13:37 You know, I was very upset with my mother,
13:39 about this point because she was like,
13:40 she got involved and she said, "Stop doing that,
13:42 you know, he has never given you a dime in your life,
13:45 you know, whatever, just stop, you know, stop doing it."
13:48 And I guess being a good son,
13:50 I tried to listen to my mom.
13:52 And I stopped, you know, supporting my dad.
13:56 And then six to eight months later,
14:01 my dad dies.
14:02 But what makes it worse
14:03 is the month prior was my birthday.
14:06 And on my birthday,
14:07 the last voicemail I heard of my dad.
14:12 He called me and he said,
14:15 "I don't understand why you're ignoring my calls,
14:17 you know, I just want to call you
14:19 and tell you happy birthday."
14:20 That's the last time I heard voice of my dad.
14:26 Next thing I know he's dying.
14:29 I got that call and then they said,
14:31 "Hey, he's going to be on dialysis..."
14:33 Three days later,
14:35 I got a call on my anniversary that my dad is dead.
14:40 I mean, I didn't think
14:42 I had emotions pertaining to my dad.
14:45 I didn't.
14:47 I didn't think. I mean, he didn't raise me.
14:50 Was he involved?
14:53 Could I go see him when I went to Jamaica,
14:55 whatever the case may be?
14:57 Can I speak to him on the phone, on a call?
14:59 But like I said,
15:01 it was very, very simple conversation,
15:04 "Can I have some money," or something of that nature.
15:07 And when my dad died,
15:11 our way to Jamaica,
15:13 my wife and I driving, I was irritated.
15:17 And then I had almost
15:18 pulled over to the side of the road
15:21 and I started bawling, I started weeping.
15:24 I started crying.
15:27 And I'm shocked because I'm like, "Hold on,
15:29 I don't know this guy for real."
15:31 I really don't know him.
15:33 I was crying for two parts.
15:35 I wanted to get to know him and I felt guilty.
15:39 I thought I was the deadbeat son.
15:42 I felt like a deadbeat son.
15:44 I feel guilty for my dad's death.
15:47 I felt to the point of "I killed my dad"
15:50 because I could have helped him.
15:53 All he was asking was for help. Mercy.
15:55 And because I was angry with him
15:57 for not being my father, right,
15:59 reaching out to me...
16:02 At least, he is reaching out to me.
16:04 At least, he is reaching out to me.
16:06 So if I can just talk to sons, deadbeat sons,
16:11 those who do not want to get involved in their father's life
16:14 because you're in your 40s or your 30s
16:16 or whatever the case may be,
16:18 I mean let's think about how Christ took his time
16:21 and waited on us.
16:23 Be involved, give them a chance.
16:25 I mean they may not be able to play with you,
16:27 basketball or whatever,
16:28 just hear them out, give them a chance.
16:30 We're all humans.
16:31 So if I can just appeal to sons and even daughters,
16:36 give your fathers a chance
16:37 no matter how late it is in their life.
16:40 Absolutely. Absolutely.
16:41 I can say quickly too.
16:44 The population...
16:46 Interacting with that population
16:48 through the court system,
16:49 I heard a lot of their stories.
16:51 And there were those who were clearly negligent
16:55 and they didn't care,
16:57 you know, they were very insensitive
17:00 relative to their whole predicament.
17:01 And there were those who were guilty
17:03 but were guilty with fair explanation.
17:08 Even for some of us who had a prior marriage,
17:13 you know, not all marriage relationships
17:16 are a wife comfortable with the husband's interaction
17:22 with a child that was born before their marriage.
17:25 Some wives are even upset enough
17:28 that they will not allow husband to have much contact,
17:33 you know, very limited.
17:35 And the end result of that is the appearance
17:39 or the outcome for the child
17:41 is that you are a deadbeat dad
17:43 while you were at home on your knees crying,
17:45 praying, pleading,
17:47 you know, and then there is the reverse
17:49 where you may have a spouse or you may be by yourself
17:52 and there is no restriction on your side,
17:55 but the mother of that child
17:58 who is not in the home with you,
17:59 she says, "You're going to give me child support
18:02 till he reach 23
18:03 or you ain't going to never see him."
18:05 You know, whatever.
18:06 I don't care what the court says this, you know?
18:07 And she will find a story every time.
18:10 We hear some fantastic stories.
18:12 They will keep coming up with stories to make the court
18:15 not force proper supervision or interaction.
18:19 Some people just learn ways
18:20 to get away with things, you know?
18:22 So there is always two sides to it.
18:24 And yes, I concur 100%.
18:28 Give your father a chance.
18:31 If you were that person, if you were that son,
18:34 if you were that daughter,
18:35 and you have a father that was not in your life
18:38 or has not been,
18:40 and he is now making that effort
18:42 or even if it is that you are reaching out to him,
18:45 make the effort, give him the chance.
18:48 It's important.
18:49 I mean, it truly is.
18:52 How do you restore...
18:55 I don't even know how to word it.
18:58 How do you restore these fathers?
19:02 How do you even begin because you have on one hand,
19:05 you have the ones that are,
19:06 as we talked about today, deadbeat fathers.
19:09 They don't want to do anything to do with their kids
19:11 just because they don't.
19:12 Then you have the other ones that do and are trying,
19:16 but all the odds are stacked against them.
19:19 And those are the ones that are committing suicide.
19:23 So how do you merge the two?
19:26 How do you begin to work
19:27 with both populations of fathers?
19:29 So I had another father and that was my stepfather.
19:34 And the first 10 years or so,
19:37 it was misery for me
19:39 because here I am, nine years old,
19:43 he comes into our life, into my life,
19:46 basically forced to call him daddy.
19:49 This is new to him also.
19:51 So we didn't get along
19:53 for the first 10 years, really didn't.
19:54 I mean we had some face to face,
19:56 we just didn't get along.
19:58 I saw him as a neglectful father.
20:00 And he saw me probably as a pest
20:02 or whatever the case may be.
20:04 I mean, we were having some problems in the home,
20:07 this is in the home.
20:09 So he could have been like a deadbeat in the home.
20:13 But what happened is, after a while,
20:16 I started listening to him,
20:19 asking him about his story.
20:22 And he would tell me about his childhood
20:24 and how his father was in his life.
20:27 And when he told me
20:28 about how his biological father was not in his life,
20:32 involved in his life,
20:33 and then comparison
20:35 to what he was trying to do with us,
20:37 I look back and said, "Well, hold on,
20:39 this guy took me out to basketball games.
20:41 We've played basketball together.
20:43 We had celebrated birthdays together."
20:46 I had a list of things.
20:49 I'm just, "He did this, he did this, he did this."
20:52 And I started to realize, "Hold on,
20:54 I never really gave him a chance."
20:57 He was trying to do his best from what he got,
21:03 he which was nothing.
21:04 But he was trying to make the situation best.
21:07 And so the restoration part for me
21:10 was by just simply giving him the opportunity.
21:14 Now that's my dad.
21:16 If I have a problem as an adult
21:19 concerned with my marriage or children, I call him.
21:22 If I just want to talk, I call him.
21:25 That's my dad.
21:26 That's my dad. And so that's restoration.
21:29 Give the person a chance, forgive and forget.
21:30 We're not perfect.
21:32 We're not.
21:33 Right. Absolutely.
21:35 And I mean
21:36 we may have even within our own church population,
21:38 our congregation fathers who satisfy that definition.
21:43 Pastors themselves have to be very careful
21:46 of not being absent or present in terms of material support.
21:53 But absence as terms of that intimate relationship
21:58 and bonding that
22:00 you need to have with your child
22:01 because we were always gone,
22:03 we were always somewhere else,
22:04 we always got a greater crisis,
22:06 we always got a life and death situation
22:08 somewhere else,
22:10 you know, and so on and so forth,
22:11 and so we too have to be careful
22:13 that we not make ourselves void
22:17 of that necessary contribution of parenting.
22:20 But once again,
22:21 the men's ministry group within your church...
22:24 If you don't have one, try to start one,
22:27 you know, because that male bonding
22:29 and that sharing
22:31 and that support is crucial, you know?
22:35 For another man to sit with you and hold hand and pray
22:38 and say you know, "I'm a friend
22:40 and I'm going to help see you through this.
22:42 I'm going to help pray you through this,"
22:45 that is very helpful.
22:46 And I learned the hard way, brother.
22:48 I have confessed
22:50 I've had a lot of fights in my life, right?
22:53 Most of my fights, I lost,
22:55 but the thing was I stood up and I fought, you know?
22:59 Then in adulthood,
23:01 I adopted this same fighting principle
23:04 even in the professional sense,
23:06 would be argument and all this kind of stuff.
23:08 And I learned the hard way
23:11 that there are a lot of situations
23:13 I can't win by my brawn, my intellect, my cunningness,
23:18 my determination, my peruse, and all that kind of stuff.
23:21 Only way I can get through this
23:23 is to get on my knees and pray, you know?
23:26 Give it over to God,
23:28 those things that are bigger than you.
23:29 I'm talking about the situations
23:31 where, you know,
23:32 let's say the brother is innocent
23:34 so to speak is.
23:35 It's his ex that won't let him see the child
23:37 or it's his current wife
23:39 that won't let him see the child, you know,
23:40 or whatever other limitations they may be,
23:42 you have got to pray,
23:44 you've got to get on your knees
23:46 and stay on your knees and pray.
23:48 Get even another brother in the faith
23:51 or the family to pray with you.
23:55 But prayer changes things,
23:56 and if the prayer doesn't change the situation,
23:59 certainly it will change us.
24:01 They're so critical, you know?
24:03 I remember my cousins.
24:07 They share with me.
24:08 You know, they were a great support to me
24:10 when I was going through my custody issues.
24:14 And they told me, you know,
24:16 "Xavier, you know, our dad, your uncle,
24:19 if he just called us,
24:22 we don't want anything extravagant from him.
24:27 We just want a phone call.
24:28 Just to call us and see how we're doing.
24:31 He doesn't have to come visit.
24:33 You doesn't even have to come for Christmas.
24:36 It's like, you know, if he just call us and..."
24:40 A lot of times, we forget about that
24:42 a phone call can go a long way,
24:45 just simple contact, you know?
24:47 I'm blessed to be part of a group
24:49 called Fathers Rights Movement.
24:52 You know, advocating the family court system
24:55 for equal rights because...
25:00 I can't even begin to describe it,
25:02 you know, the emotional trauma that you suffer,
25:06 and people think,
25:07 "You're bringing back as your father, but it hurts.
25:11 And is there anything else you guys would like to add?
25:15 Any other wisdom from your experiences?
25:18 Yeah, just one last thing real quick.
25:21 I just really want to thank those fathers in the church
25:25 and my uncles for stepping in the gap.
25:31 I just want to thank the pastors
25:33 that came to my church,
25:35 the elders, and my uncles, they really saved my life,
25:40 you know, they really saved my life.
25:41 They helped.
25:43 God snatched me out of darkness.
25:46 So I just want to thank them, you know?
25:47 And that's what we need to do, be father figures,
25:52 you know, righteous father figures to those young men
25:54 and young ladies
25:56 in our churches, in our communities.
25:59 And our fellow brethren,
26:00 who are fathers that are not meeting the mark
26:03 so to speak, mentorship goes a far way.
26:06 It's not just for those who are younger,
26:08 but for the at-risk population of fathers
26:12 that are dysfunctional.
26:16 Sharing the big picture does help.
26:19 When I sit down with that person,
26:21 whether this is someone incarcerated
26:24 or someone that was recently released from jail
26:27 or such, the big picture helps,
26:30 and that is to let them know,
26:32 look at what your absence is contributing to.
26:36 So I show them the plight of society in general,
26:38 I show them the plight of our race,
26:40 the plight of our culture, the plight of community.
26:44 And say, "All these deficits that you can identify,
26:48 this is what you're contributing to
26:49 and you can make that change."
26:51 I appreciate you guys sharing with us.
26:53 I wish we had more time, but we don't.
26:56 For the viewers out there,
26:58 you know, if you're, let's say, a deadbeat father
27:01 because you chose not to be in your child's life,
27:04 well, guess what, even on your tombstone,
27:06 you'll still be a father.
27:08 We'll be still labeled as a father
27:10 and your children will walk a wreckage
27:12 because you were not there.
27:14 So do yourself a favor, step up,
27:16 even if it's just a phone call.
27:18 And for those fathers that are not deadbeats
27:22 but you're struggling through the system,
27:24 maybe you're struggling spiritually, emotionally,
27:28 you know, it's okay, don't give up.
27:31 Something that my wife told me is to pray for my ex,
27:34 didn't make sense.
27:35 But I spend many years, by the grace of God
27:38 we're having a great co-parenting relationship,
27:41 and I see my daughter whenever I want.
27:43 But that's only by the grace of God.
27:46 So don't give up hope, they need you.
27:48 Don't commit suicide because you'll be gone eternally.
27:53 I get choked up thinking about it.
27:55 Please just hang in there.
27:58 Do yourself a favor. Become a father.
28:00 And god bless you. Thank you for watching.