Father’s Day is that special time of the year when we honor the most important men in our lives. The men who have raised us, inspired us, and taught us so much. As someone who did not grow up with their biological father in the home, this day has meant something a little different to me than it does to others. All children have a father but, unfortunately each year fewer children experience what it is like to have a dad. This sad fact has also brought challenges for many dads to have the knowledge of raising a child because they missed out on the experiences in their own upbringing. I’m sure a few others can relate. 

As a very young child, I would see my biological dad periodically each year, if that. Since I was so young, I did not really have a full understanding of the situation. All I knew was I was born illegitimately and he didn’t want me. The brief time I spent living with him later on was nothing short of a nightmare. The man who I innocently called dad, was not at all what a dad should be. At a time in life when a young boy is becoming a young man, a father’s love and guidance is crucial. I received the opposite.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned about what happened between my parents. They had their differences like a lot of people, and decided the best thing for both of them would be to go their separate ways before trying to work on things again. When they separated, I was about one year old so I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know the circumstances or even what it really meant. I spent a long period of time thinking that I was the reason my parents separated. I thought my father didn’t want me, I wasn’t good enough, and that was why he felt like he had to leave. That feeling eventually went away the older I got. Unfortunately, it was replaced by anger…

I was angry at my biological dad. I was angry he wasn’t around. I was angry he didn’t want to spend time with me. I was angry at myself for being angry. I didn’t understand why many of my friends could call their dads and have a conversation. I didn’t understand why many of my friends had their dads at their sporting events or graduations but I couldn’t. It just seemed so easy and logical to feel that way. I didn’t know how to deal with his desertion, anger felt like the only way out. I shouldn’t have let this affect me the way it did. All I ever wanted from him was his time, but I couldn’t even get a second. 

I remember hearing over the school intercom one morning how there was going to be a father-son dinner and many other father-son activities. I was sad. I wanted to attend it with my friends and their dads, but realized that I could not participate because my father did not live with us and we did not even know where he was at that time. That memory has stuck with me for years.

I spent the past few Father’s Days reflecting on what being a father really means to me. Because of who my father was, I wanted to be different. I wanted to be better. My beautiful daughter has given me an opportunity to be a better father than my own. I want to teach her to be fearless and to be able to face whatever challenges life throws her way. To show up no matter how tough things get, and that all things are possible if you keep getting back up. 

My biological father was not someone worth imitating. However, there were certain influential men who stood up as positive role models in my life. To those men, I would like to thank you for your guidance and compassion.


-DeJay Lester


  • Dorathy Posted June 20, 2020 2:49 pm

    You are simply amazing! You have become such a strong loving man despite your challenges in life. Love you lots!

    • dlester1 Posted June 20, 2020 4:07 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. Love and appreciate you as well!

    • Ariel Posted June 21, 2020 9:59 am

      Dejay, you’re truly an amazing father! It has been an honor watching you grow with your sweet baby girl! Your past has shaped you into something SO great, and she will always be proud to call you Daddy!

      • DeJay Lester Posted June 23, 2020 10:58 pm

        Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and thank you oh so dearly.

  • Travis Burkhalter Posted June 20, 2020 10:00 pm

    Great word and like you said. Quite a few men can relate to what you’re speaking. Being a father is TRULY a blessing. I wouldn’t say I was angry that my father wasn’t around as a kid, but I did feel a bit lost without his guidance. Now growing up without made me into the man and father I strive to be daily. A man who is there for his child no matter the circumstances because I wanna show up for my child when they need me.

    As I got older the want of a father figure really begin to eat at me because I’m sure there was things a dad could’ve prevented me from making. I’ve always wanted a mentor somebody to show me what it is to be a man. So I’m glad that I have been blessed with a bow for my quiver so that I may launch my child further than my own father did for me.

    • dlester1 Posted June 20, 2020 10:25 pm

      Travis, great words. I agree with you that I wanted a father and son relationship/bond but was deprived of that. That made me want to break the cycle and do better. I love how you wrapped up and said that you’re blessed with a bow and arrow so that you can launch your child further, which is what life is about. Doing the most so that we can pass the torch on and keep it going. Appreciate you responding and hope you’ve been well.

  • John Taylor Posted June 20, 2020 10:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing, DeJay! I love reading your thoughts & seeing you love your daughter! Keep on being the quality dad, man, and friend that you are. From one dad to another & friend to friend, thanks for being you. I miss getting to work & talk with you. Take care & God Bless!

    • dlester1 Posted June 20, 2020 10:29 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I too can say the same. Appreciate your friendship and thanks for reaching out. Happy Father’s Day and God bless you as well.

  • Gary Iles Posted June 20, 2020 11:11 pm

    I wish you would of had a father growing up. I am sure it was very hard on you, but at the same time it made you who you are to your daughter. I am 100% sure you are and always will be a great dad. Happy Fathers Day Dejay

    • DeJay Lester Posted June 22, 2020 12:41 am

      We learn to adapt to our situation. Which makes us stronger. But I can pay it forward now with my daughter. Happy Father’s Day to you as well.

  • C$ Posted June 21, 2020 11:50 am

    Awww ? HAPPY FATHERS DAY !!!

    • DeJay Lester Posted June 23, 2020 10:59 pm

      Thank you! Happy Father’s Day back

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