Some dads are great at getting involved in their child’s education. But, some have the same experience that I had as a child and grew up with a single mother.
My biological father was gone before I could even form an image of him in my memory. Althea Bogany, my mother, found herself thrust into the responsibility of sole guardianship of two boys.
With only a high school diploma, she would be in charge of making decisions and choices that would impact her life and the lives of my brother and me. My mother is strong, and her choices, values, beliefs, and thinking have definitely helped sculpt who I am today.
When I look into the faces of my students and listen to their stories, I understand the impact their mothers have on them. And when I look around my schools, I see and respect how female teachers nurture, guide, inspire and positively influence our students.
Still, in my role as an educator, I have also witnessed the emotional and psychological stress that both mother and child face when a father is absent and how it plays out in schools.
In child study, IEP, and discipline meetings, I have heard and seen the harsh impact on a child’s sense of self and self-worth when a father is not at the table.
Fortunately, I did have a father growing up. My mother married a southern gentleman from Bessemer, Alabama, named Ronnie Bennett, and my childhood memories are formed with him as my father, a great father. My parents were unified in the importance of academic success.
It was a consistent message in my house, and together, my parents ensured that my brother and I would make our best efforts to be successful in school, sports and life.
They both volunteered their time and energy to coach little league baseball and basketball and never missed a game when my brother and I played in high school.
They each had their own way and their own lessons to teach. My mother was the one who attended every parent-teacher conference and honor-roll ceremony.
And while my mother focused on our day-to-day academic efforts, my father was clearly most comfortable encouraging us to give our all on the court and field, and my sense of confidence and determination came from him.
He taught my brother and me to dream — to find comfort in exploring the “new” and the “next” in life. These are gifts that I treasure and have given me my strength as I moved from a boy to a man.