Sept. 12, 2011
People nowadays always make mention of the fact that so many animals are going extinct around the world. There is fear of losing biodiversity, and in many ways a sense of guilt. I think that feeling of guilt, and the resulting effort to protect endangered species, is our way of trying to make amends for the fact that we have displaced or slain many of these animals for our own personal gain. I have absolutely no problem with these efforts to make amends, because it proves we are conscious of or surroundings and aware that the only reason we were ever created by God was to bring positive change to the world.
However, my consciousness also has brought me to the realization that though we may win many battles combating extinction of various species, we will eventually lose the war in the end if we don't address the issue of the most endangered species of them all: the dad.
My mother always told me there are many males out there who are "fathers" but not many who are actually "dads." I used to imagine what having a dad would feel like when I was a child. And it wasn't until a couple years ago that I realized a dad doesn't necessarily have to be by blood. It can come in the form of someone who genuinely cares about you (like you really were of the same blood.)
I never let not having a dad get me down, because at an early age I learned to adjust to the raging waters of life. If you are persistent enough, you learn to surf those waters instead of being tossed around.
My heavenly Father has put some amazing men in my life who have been great examples to me and have shown me how to live properly--and the teaching never stops. My stepdad, Novell Hanna, taught me to respect and cherish women because they are the mothers of the Earth. He taught me how to tie a tie, cut my own hair, provide with limited resources and how to outwork the hardest worker. My guardian-dad, Frank Rutherford, was the first Bahamian to earn an Olympic medal in track and field. He has shown me that, despite coming from a small place, I can still accomplish great things because greatness is within me. He gave me the opportunity to play basketball for the first time my freshman year of high school. And he told me that starting late was an advantage, because it would always give me incentive to work harder.
My newest dad, Coach Cuonzo Martin, has been teaching me from the day I signed my letter of intent. The biggest lesson he taught me is how to let go of the past. The past is all just weight--you can choose to either let it weigh you down, or you can use it to work out and make you stronger physically, mentally, spiritually etc.
It definitely takes an entire community to raise a child into a man/woman, and surrounding yourself with great people will only make you greater. I am thankful for every lesson that comes my way, whether it's easy to digest or not.