Posts Tagged ‘Father’
When my father was granted parole….. Hallelujah!!!!! was all I could say. It was like the road that never was supposed to end, but finally there was an end and a new beginning for us all. With a green light that said just go. The best feeling ever!
Our relationship has grown stronger. We have really gotten a chance to get to know each other as who we are completely. Everyday is still a growing moment.
I am very proud of my father for the work that he does in the community. He changes peoples lives and inspires them.
Doing the motivational speeches with my father were very uplifting. I would love to see the effect that it had on the people we were speaking to. The questions that were asked. I enjoyed the fact of how we would change at least one person’s thought process.
I mostly tell others to stay focused on their goals.Do their best and be the best at all times. Never be a follower, always a leader. There will always be others to follow you even when you do not want them to. Whether it is a family member, friend, or just someone that is impressed by your style of being who you are. Show people what you are made of, not where you came from.
Being a father behind bars was a challenging experience. It was several years before I saw my daughter in person, and those were often depressing times. I used to write her a letter almost every day. I would write her as if I were writing to a young adult. I knew that she couldn’t read, write or understand, but her mother promised to read the letters to her.
As time passed, we had the opportunity to visit and share in each other’s love. I received a lot of letters and photos, and I wrote her letters and sent photos when I was able to take some. I used to give her advice on everything and I enjoyed every opportunity to answer any questions she presented to me. Over the years we developed a very close relationship. She wasn’t only my daughter, she was my friend and we could talk about anything. It made me feel special. During her teenage years she often called me her hero and although I felt pride in the fact that we were so close, I also felt a pain of not being with her and sometimes I was hard on myself for making the decisions that caused me to be confined and not physically in her life. We would talk about all of the things we were going to do when I got out of prison, and lived as if I was going to be released soon. Neither of us knew that it would take many more years before we had the opportunity to spend time together in society.
Growing up, was always as if I was the only one with family in jail. I always felt like I was the only one with a parent in jail, then one day my cousin’s father went to jail, but our experiences were totally different.
I know I am different having to grow up with a father behind bars. If he could have been there (home), the push and drive that he would give me over the phone and through mail, I know would have been enforced much harder. The hard head that I had, would have been easily softened up. I could have opened doors for others. Not like it is too late, I am just saying…….
The first memory of my father was when my grandmother, uncles, and I went to visit him in Angola. It was my very first visit.
We sat at a table in the lunch room/ visiting room and he drank Root Beer pop, that was his favorite at the time. We talked and talked and talked. He taught me how to spell lots of big words. That has never left my mind. I can still picture that moment.
I knew that my father was in prison, ever since I was about 1 or 2 years old. My grandmother and mother always said that I was a very smart little girl. They were very informative about his situation. He would call me ALL THE TIME.
What it meant for me was that I would not be able to grow up with him in the house, go to the store together, pick me up from school, help me with homework, read to me at night , and meet my first boyfriend, etc., etc. I especially could not call him whenever I wanted to talk to him.
Visiting days were the best! I always got extremely sad when it was time to leave, but the relief of being able to give my father a big hug was always comforting on the ride home.
Bwashena Witherspoon is the daughter of Ashanti Witherspoon who is featured in the documentaries THE FARM and THE FARM: 10 DOWN. Bwashena has spent time touring with her father and speaking about being the child of a former prisoner.
Being a father behind bars is challenging. Its often hard to stay in contact, let alone form a close relationship. One dad in prison has written up a list of tips for other fathers. Here are the first 5 tips:
- Even if your relationship with the mother of your children is over, you need to establish and maintain a positive relationship with her. For the sake of your children try to find ways to connect with her respectfully.
- Don’t expect big changes right away from your family members. Take your time.
- Find out about policies regarding how you can connect with your child-visitation, letters, telephone calls, audio tapes, etc. Ask your prison chaplain, counselor or other staff.
- Develop a plan and follow it on how often you will connect with your child.
- When explaining to your children why you are not living with them, be honest but respect their ability to understand it according to their age.
Check out the full list here.
And check out the Families and Corrections Network – an organization that focuses on the needs and concerns of families of prisoners: http://www.fcnetwork.org