What My Father Means To Me Essay by: Crystal18
Each year tens of thousands of students in kindergarten through 12th grade write essays to the theme “What My Father Means To Me” as part of the fatherhood essay contests in various cities across the U.S. Students write about their: fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and father-figures.
I am one of 700+ volunteers who read and help evaluate these heartfelt essays. Most are very positive and uplifting, while others are quite sobering, since so many kids are growing up in less than ideal circumstances.
Here is one of my favorites written by Crystal a 9th grade student about her dad who she has never met:
"I am 14 years old and my father left me when I learned to say daddy. Even though my father is not around, in my heart he is always here. Every birthday and every Christmas I cross my fingers that my father will come home. Does my wish come true? No, but I never quit looking and hoping.
What really hurts is walking through the mall and seeing little girls with their fathers walking hand in hand. I can see how much he loves his little girl, but I can’t see my father loving me as his little girl. See in my life, there’s not ‘mommy’, ‘daddy’ and me. It’s just me and ‘mommy.’
I see my father a lot in my dreams but never does he turn around. I call for him but he just keeps walking away. I’d like to believe he misses me, but how can he miss a stranger?
Every time I blow the candles out on my birthday cake, I wish the same wish, that I have the past 13 years. I wish that stranger would turn around and look at me. Maybe if he saw all the pain and suffering from living without him in my eyes, he would become a part of my life. For now all I can do is to wish and never give up hope, for hope is all I have to hold on to.
Even though it’s hard to say, my father means the world to me and if I had the chance to tell him all of this, I would not change anything, but I would add a couple of “I love yous.”
I have read thousands of these essays over the past 16 years. I’ve developed a fondness for men who are filling in when there is no dad, stepdad or granddad present in the life a youth. Sadly, Crystal has grown up without the affection of a father or father-figure in her life.
I was so touched by Crystal’s story, I reached out to her mom. I was informed she was never married to Crystal’s dad, but she provided me a phone number of a relative. To make a rather long story short, all I was able to do was leave a message for Crystal’s dad. The Monday after Father’s Day that year, I got a call from Crystal letting me know her dad called her from Florida, which was the first time they had ever spoken. They subsequently went on to meet.
From DAD To DAD, it’s very moving to read authentic messages about being a dad, especially those who are really making a difference in the lives of their kids and others.