Sunday, July 21, 2024

In fatherhood, successful twins perform double duty

by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud

In 1972, a pair of 19-year-old twins from Texas arrived in the Silver State, both anxious to begin studying business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dan and Dana Napier enjoyed their college experiences, but they were also drawn to the bright lights of the city and its signature industry. Upon graduation, they both decided to remain in Las Vegas and work in gaming. During a period of two decades, they worked their way up to high-ranking executive positions at two of the major casino properties — MGM Grand and Caesars Palace — on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, the Napiers are both retired and are enjoying their lives, commuting between Las Vegas and their ranch in their native state. The Napiers enjoy their lifestyle, which includes having sailed the Mediterranean, owning multiple homes, taking international vacations and taking long walks around their property in Texas.

“Our lifestyle has certainly changed from when we both worked in gaming,” said Dan. “Sometimes I would work from seven o’clock in the morning and not get home until 4 a.m. the next day. The ranch in Texas … is inherited from our family, who were long-standing entrepreneurs with a funeral home. Even though both my brother and I have worked hard to contribute to our lifestyle, I also credit my family for leaving us a wonderful foundation to have a secure life.”

While both men wish that more African-Americans took an interest in building generational wealth, what Dan and Dana take the most pride in are their accomplishments as fathers.

“We are both divorced fathers who have been very active in our children’s upbringing. We each have two children who are now grown — and all of them live very successful lives,” said Dana. “Taking a very active role in their lives while they were young was very important. We would take them on vacations — and instead of flying on an airplane, we would drive to our destinations in order to have long conversations and get to know their personalities better. We would include the educational piece during our travels, and have them look at the map to know where we were going and the cities they would pass through. We would also have them identify the different terrains and talk to them about the topography of the land. If we would have taken the airplane, we wouldn’t have had those opportunities to bond and make the whole traveling experience educational. The time with my children was probably the best in my life. We would go whitewater river rafting, get cabins in Colorado, go to Disneyland, go skiing, spend Christmases in New York and Utah and visit historic American landmarks. Sometimes with busy work schedules you miss out on the day-to-day interaction with your children. Planning vacations, to get away from the regular routine, will allow yourself as a parent to see your children grow as individuals.”

With those experiences behind them, it is no wonder that the brothers believe black children today, more than ever, need to prioritize education above all else.

“I looked at a survey and it said that 96 percent of young African-American teenage girls between the ages of 15–19 who gave birth are unmarried. Black women have the highest teenage pregnancy rate and that teen pregnancy of African-American girls is on the rise. Included in those teenage pregnancy statistics are issues such as low birth rates, lack of healthcare, the breakdown of family and economic issues. So, if you know that history and you have respect for the person you are with — you should be less likely to make them and yourself a statistic.”
With so many young black men facing the challenges of early fatherhood, the Napiers hold an outlook grounded in practicality.

“The first thing I can recommend to young black men who are becoming fathers is that you should not have any children you can’t afford,” said Dan. “This is not just the responsibility of the young men, but also of the young women. I truly believe that having sex and having children are totally different.”
Added Dana: “We have to teach our children the responsibility when they get involved in sexual behavior. We can mentor them and get them involved in social activities. My philosophy is if you keep your children active in academics and school activities that are interesting, the result will be that sexual activity becomes secondary. Somehow we have to let our children know in the community that education is the most important thing that they have to offer society and give to themselves. We must focus on that.”

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly.