I applaud the efforts of Chris “Kazi” Rolle to create spaces for dialogue and healing in relationships. Last night he produced the “Know Good Dads” LIVE Convo at the NY Open Center, co-hosted by Jenelle Simone. In celebration of Fathers Week, the event featured a dynamic panel of experts as well as a crew of talented artists. Event sponsors included Healing Truth Center, The Real Dads Network and If you have never attended a Together Apart LIVE Convo, imagine an evening of music, videos, live performances, experts and comedy as the context within which young adults can come together to unpack serious issues around relationships.

Panelists David Miller of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, Alicia M. Crowe, Esq. of the Real Dads Stand Up Campaign and Bill Stephney who served on the National Fatherhood Initiative each contributed insights regarding the issues related to fatherhood, and the opportunities for healing across generations. This was certainly not the easiest topic to explore as fatherhood is a complex issue, yet this event did unpack some important concepts.

  • Relationships with fathers can be the source of love, support, wisdom, safety, guidance, validation, modeling of healthy relationships and a host of other positives for a developing  soul in childhood and throughout one’s life. (See Validation Nurtures the Soul.)
  • Problematic relationships with father or the absence of fathers can be the source of anger, hurt, confusion,  feelings of rejection and a lot of pain which ultimately puts both men and women at risk as they develop into adulthood, pursue relationships and perhaps become parents themselves.
  • There is a growing number of us in the Black and Brown Community (~60-70% depending on the study) who grow up without the involvement of our fathers. There are also a growing number of us growing up without our mothers. (I think the stat was ~40% from a recent study.)
  • Being present as a father includes being responsible as well as “respondable” according to artist, educator and entrepreneur Javier Sanchez, whose poem and reflections on fatherhood were remarkably inspiring!
  • Amazing dads do exist! Artist Shanelle Gabrielle shared a poem and singer Cocoa Sarai sang a song about fathers that got me choked up and yet smiling in gratitude of the amazing dad that I have.

Healing Daddy S.H.I.T.

Even though my father and I always seem to live on opposite sides of the country, I am so grateful that we were able to reunite in my childhood and then work through our S.H.I.T. in adulthood. Now we are both healed from the early separation, living apart and a host of challenges that surfaced over the years.  Speaking of relationships,  it was actually my ex-boyfriend (who did not know his father) who was relentless in pushing me to work through my S.H.I.T. with my father.  Luckily he pushed me, for this could’ve been a very different story. It was not easy and it took time, effort, energy and commitment on both of our parts (as well as some therapy) for us to grow into the amazing relationship that we have today. I will say this: my relationship with my father, my healing and the woman I have been able to become because of our relationship and our healing process… is priceless.  It was worth every therapy session, every tearful phone call, every plane ticket and every letter/email/text we ever exchanged.

My Dad Makes Me Better

My dad makes me better. His courage, humility, love, wisdom, authenticity, realness, support and availability is a grounding force in my life. It has been a blessing to reconcile my relationship with my “first love” and I know that makes me a better woman. I am emotionally available to be in a healthy relationship with someone else, being full of love and free from heartache. (That was not the case when I still had unresolved issues about my relationship with my father. Sure I was in relationships, but I was walking wounded, and that added a level of complexity and strain on my relationships.) I share this part, in case there is someone reading this post who does have unresolved stuff with their father, be it that he is there, not there, known or unknown. Unpacking your “Daddy stuff”  may be the most courageous thing that you’ll ever do, but trust me, it’s worth it. It will make you a better man, a better woman, a better wife/husband, girl/boyfriend, mother/father and son/daughter.

I also thank God that my uncles, grandfathers, male mentors and other father figures showed up in my life, too. Given all of the vulnerabilities we have to overcome and grow through in life, we can use all of the support that we can get!

A Focus on Solutions

Since I have already written a novella, let me make some closing points.

  1. Invest in uncovering your story around fatherhood. What was your relationship like with your father? Was he there? How did you, or did you not, experience “father?” What did you learn about yourself based on your relationship with your father, or lack thereof? How may your experiences possibly play out in your relationships with men? women? children?
  2. Increase your situational awareness. What are your current experiences with fatherhood as father, mother, girlfriend, boyfriend, son and/or daughter? What are the strengths that you possess as pertains to your situations? What are your opportunities for growth and support? What do you need right now or at some point soon? What questions or concerns do you have?
  3. Access supports. What types of support may best help you address any issues that may have come up for you based on your experiences with or without your father? And as a mother or father at this time? Consider counseling, attending or developing a group, mentor programs for you and your kids, legal counsel, books, events and websites.

I am facilitating a group healing process this month that may very well be a good fit for you, if you are looking to work through what may be holding you back in love and in life. (Read The Clock of Life Course and The Clock of Life Blog Post.) Plus, meditation does sooth and support the soul. Perhaps you’ll join the Morning Meditation Crew at

God as you is LOVE, LOVABLE and LOVED!


SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual Leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides private consultations and courses integrating the best of psychotherapy and spirituality to empower others to their greatest potential. Connect with her at

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

10 Responses to “KNOW GOOD DADS”

  1. Davina Says:

    Shawna, thank you so much for this posting! Will call you this week. Love you lots and appreciate you! Davina Burnett

  2. Hello Dear Shawna,
    A hot button post. Relationships with Fathers are so important. I especially love the portion that focuses on solutions – it is always freeing to move through the barriers to healing.

    Love you.

  3. Thank you for your contribution last night. In a word, powerful!

  4. Hi Shawna,
    This is a great and informative post which i think is valuable to all of us- father present or not! My husband, unfortunately, did not have a father that was there for him. Instead, his father chose to treat and care for his step children more than my husband. Now, my husband, from time to time, carries some anger and feelings of resentment from that. I am hoping this post can start the process for him to heal!

    GOD bless! I love ur blogs!
    Candice Butler

    • SHAWNA MARIE Says:

      Blessings BE~LOVED Candice. Thank you so very much for sharing your comments on the blog. I can only imagine how truly difficult it has been for your husband to have grown up watching his father choose to love and nurture his step-children, but not your husband. It is understandable that your husband has anger as well as resentment around this painful history. It is such a blessing that your husband has you in his life to serve as a bridge for his healing process. Trust, he is healing. Anger is the beginning. If he can recognize his feelings of anger, he can begin to separate himself from the choices his father made… meaning his father made the choice to treat him differently, but that does not serve as a valuation of your husband, and his soul growth has not been hindered because of it. Much love and blessings to you and your family. ~Shawn

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