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June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Feature

Secrets of Successful Fathers

London Randall Emerson and his two kidsNegative stereotypes concerning African-American males — as absentee fathers or worse — have persisted for decades, but rarely is attention paid to the untold number of black men around the world who have committed themselves to being role models and providers for their children and families. Father’s Day is for those unsung heroes — a time to celebrate men who are dedicated to fatherhood, whatever their personal circumstances may be.

According to Henderson resident London Randall Emerson, who works as a human resources professional, one of the benefits of “being a single dad is that I can set my own standards for disciplining my children. I can instill positive (attributes) into my child. Those things include motivation, inspiration and courage.” He also values the opportunity to impart lessons about financial responsibility. “I like to watch my two children, who are 5 and 7 years old, pay for their items in the convenience store,” he said. “I like to see them figure out how much their drink will cost, and how much money they should get back. I have been doing this routine with them for a year.”

It cannot be easy to be the father of a young lady who splits her time between his home and that of his former wife, but Steven Hollingsworth believes that consistency is a key principle in the raising of children. “My daughter is aware that the same rules apply in my home, with my current wife, that apply in her mother’s home,” said the program coordinator for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program at Booker Elementary School. “She also knows that I will always be there — no matter what. When I first split with her mother, I wasn’t sure how she would respond to not seeing me every day. Nonetheless, even when it was her week to be at her mother’s house, and she had any activities, I would still attend. We have a wonderful relationship, because she knows she can come to me about anything, and I will be there to love and support her.”

Verdine White joined by his son WarnerAs legendary Earth, Wind and Fire bassist Verdine White sees it, love is the foundation for positive parenting. “My son is older now — he graduated from Morehouse College — and his mother and I always made sure he was in great schools when he was little,” said White. “I give my wife, Shelly, all the credit. Actually, my son and I grew up together. We used to play football in the house and have a ball. It drove my wife crazy, but part of being a great dad is just being there with love.”

Tony Gladney, vice president of national diversity relations for Harrah’s Entertainment, says that his travel schedule has caused his son to learn important lessons about the realities of professional obligations.

“My son once asked, when I had to go out of town for a business trip, ‘Dad are you going on vacation again?’ I had to sit him down and explain to him that it’s not a vacation, but a trip I had to take as it relates to my job, “ said Gladney. “My job — that allows me to support him and our family. I am going to work — not a vacation. I find when I am off work, I have to give my entire self to my family, and give my children and wife my undivided attention.”

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