Decades ago, while in the throes of trying to discover who I was and managing an inexplicable anger, I received a telephone call from my mother asking what I thought was the dumbest question: “Do you want to meet your father?” she asked.
It turned out she didn’t mean the man I believed was by father for most of my life. Rather, she meant my biological father, who had been begging her for 30 years to let him see me again or at least share my phone number with him.
Months after that call, I met my father. The last time he had seen me I was still wearing diapers.
The reunion seemed to serve both of us, perhaps not as well as it should have. However, in my books, “Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women” and “Bridges: Reuniting Daughters and Daddies,” I always described that meeting and our subsequent encounters as a reconciliation. After working with fatherless girls and women for the past two decades, I have come to appreciate that what happened between my father and me was a reconnection—not a reconciliation.
In truth, reconciliation is a journey not a destination. It’s not a one-and-done experience. Most certainly it is not a trip someone takes to Paris, for example, seeing the Louvre, or the Eiffel Tower, coming home with tons of pictures and feeling satisfied.
Reconciliation sometimes is a well-worn path that doubles back on itself. It is almost like a labyrinth. Sometimes the traveler finds herself lost without a map or a compass or a current map.
Invariably, however, if she keeps at the search for self, gaining an appreciation of her emotions, her growth and the people who intersect those aspects of her life, she will move to the next level of development. Her Soul will expand and deepen. Her humanity will become rich, capable of enriching the lives of the people she meets, the people she touches, including those from whom she may have been estrange.
What I am describing is life’s continuous adventure. I have spent the last 20 years of my life, inviting other fatherless girls and women and daughterless fathers to take the reconciliation journey. It may be one of the most satisfying experiences.
While I came to understand my father and I had not reconciled, we had only entered the opening chapter was nevertheless satisfying, albeit frightening and frustrating at times. I regret he lived only two more years after we reconnected. Still, I appreciate that our meeting set me on the journey to self- and familial discovery.
I know the benefits of reconciliation, of taking the journey, which is why I joined forces with Esther Productions Inc. and the Young Parents Elevation Network to launch National Reconciliation Week June 10-17, 2020. We hope it will grow into an annual event.
Among other things, National Reconciliation Week is designed to raise awareness about the importance of family in developing whole, healthy children and adults; provide specific information and techniques for strengthening the family, whether traditional or blended; provide specific information to help young single mothers and fathers understand their roles as parents; provide tips to enable single mothers and fathers to become more expert at parenting while juggling other external responsibilities; encourage more parents who do not live in the same household to embrace co-parenting as a process improve emotional, spiritual and healthy outcomes for their children and themselves; and encourage the involvement of more fathers in the daily growth and development of their daughters.
A lively and exciting program National Reconciliation Week will help fatherless girls and women reconcile first with themselves and, if desired, their fathers. It also will help encourage co-parenting and restore families. From June 10 through June 17, participants will be able to engage in a series of conversations while receiving daily inspirational and motivational tips from experts. The final day will involve critical and detailed training around co-parenting and daughter-daddy reconciliation without anger or blame but love.
Please join me for this virtual event. Come learn what I have: reconciliation is a soul-satisfying experience that is repeated as we grow and should be embraced at each level of our development.