I had a father, I am a father and a grandfather, too. Upon reflection, I sometimes took my father for granted.

Why? Because my father was always there. He was in the house, and he was my role model.

The love he gave me, the encouragement he gave me and the lectures he gave me have been fundamental pillars of my life.

Both of my parents provided me with the tools for successful living. However, my dad took me from boyhood to manhood.

If you are old-school and Black like me, you had a similar experience growing up.

We flourished because of the emotional nourishment that they gave to us.

The African American community no matter where you spent your formative years was filled with hope and opportunity as its cornerstones.

Chaos and crime did not happen at alarming rates. Hearing police sirens was not a sound we heard on a daily basis. You could sit on your stoop and not feel threatened.

Fathers led their families. They were proud and confident. As young boys, we took our cues from them.

Let’s fast forward to now. There are still countless numbers of Black fathers who lead their families and especially their sons. They provide them with the protection and wisdom they need. Yet there are pockets of despair and disappointment among Black fathers.

In many ways, they have abdicated their responsibility. They lead lives that are filled with conflict and mayhem.

Recently, another Black father who was leading his family lost his life to gun violence. Detective Everette Briscoe, of the New Orleans Police Department, was killed in Houston.

If you are a Black father, stay close to your children. Guide them and mentor them. They may take a detour, but they will come back. Remember the scripture, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

JAMES B. EWERS Jr.

retired

New Orleans