Choosing fatherhood: Inspiring dads making a difference
Lewis Kostiner and Juan Williams on how men from all walks of life are real fathers
- Duration 9:09
- Date Mar 1, 2013
Lewis Kostiner and Juan Williams on how men from all walks of life are real fathers
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We told to law.
On the show about the national crisis.
All the absentee fathers how many millions of children.
Are growing up without a father in their lives what about celebrating.
Fatherhood well this incredible new book.
Just does just that the photographs.
By Louis cost and other -- say an amazing introduction.
I really beautifully written introduction by our -- Juan Williams and with fortunate now that both of those fine gentleman.
-- joining us from our DC bureau Lewis and wanted to -- actually Louis is joining us from our Chicago bureau great to see you both.
Good to be -- your house.
-- let me tell me here -- let me come to you first that these -- this is an amazing book really moving as you as you go through all the photographs.
Well no problem take you to do this in the first place.
Well -- the first my my first.
Reaction to luncheon I went to with the national fatherhood initiative and the Illinois.
Fatherhood initiative was to become aware of the the crisis.
And and when I found out that there were over 25 million children in the United States who had really no fathers in their lives.
And after speaking with Rollins Warren the president national fatherhood initiative.
I decided that I could try to help.
By making a difference in taking photographs.
Dealing with those men through the NF five programs.
Who were in it in effect.
Trying to connect reunite and make a difference in their children's lives.
So these these are good the stories in pictures of fathers who would not necessarily.
Great fathers to begin with but decided made a conscious decision to try to -- that in their lives and be good fathers.
Yes and and these are also men who threw.
Programming offered by national fatherhood initiative through various organizations like head start would go to classes clinics.
And learn how to be fathers because many of them were second first second third generation.
Men who grew up in similar type households where there were no father figures in the household he's so -- -- photographs of men who are really trying.
To reconnect and make a difference in their children's life.
What one New York yes I say your your introduction here is beautifully written let me just one line and it no government can hold a -- -- -- child a bedtime.
No child will have a -- a government did daddy and regardless of a man's job status all the struggles inherent in every romantic relationship.
A child ideally needs two parents you -- just reading you'll woods throughout that your introduction.
You seem to be very very passionate about this summer on a very personal level.
Well economic bad Johnson you know me as a -- -- -- But I'm a dad of two of three children and now -- -- granddad.
Actually three grandchildren my daughter just had twins in August.
So to me fatherhood is an essential part of -- and I got to tell you what's going on in the minority community you can see this and mr.
-- -- photographs.
It's just -- human tragedy I think it is the tragedy of our time with regard to -- breakdown.
And heart and soul of it is now about a third of all children all American children.
Are born to single mothers it's about 70% -- black community over 50% Hispanic community so what you're seeing usually.
Not only in reality but oftentimes in the culture is the absence of fathers in children's lives.
In this book and this is what's so striking to me about mr.
-- photographs you -- fathers who are making an effort.
To have a relationship with their children can and you don't know man.
Not you Jonathan not mr.
-- not me is born a father were born sons were born Brothers.
But not a father is it you have to make a conscious effort sometimes very stressful think I'm now responsible for someone else.
-- financially responsible and most responsible I have a wife the care for how -- gonna do all this that the guy.
But here are men who understand that they are building something way beyond themselves.
By being fathers and there's a joy to it is not just to responsibility.
It leaves your soul.
And I just think these pictures.
Stance that such a strong contrast to the Al Bundy and homer -- -- dads as well mr.
passers they had trouble maybe in their path.
But are now making a concerted effort to love a child.
-- is so what -- the the part of the problem here it seems that you're saying -- -- particularly with.
The minority communities this as a lot of the cultural images that are already yet that a disconnect -- -- time to -- presumably.
Exactly I mean look there -- a lot of the images are you know I like you know I like having sex not make -- -- or.
You know it to get married why do you need to get married why he had to get into that relationship well you know we'll marriage -- a white thing all like craziness.
And you know it just moves you away from the idea that we really need to be child focused and make sure that children have the kind of support network and I might add.
On a very hard -- level.
Get out of poverty because children who are in single parent families are disproportionately impoverished children.
So that if you're asking why are so many black kids only Hispanic kids and too many white kids impoverished.
You can draw a direct link Jonathan.
-- single parent household sultan and most often that's because there's no dead.
So I'm saying let's put the dead back in the picture and that's what mr.
-- book of photographs literally does.
And I let Lewis said as as one says you put the father's back in the picture hit fathers who have changed that.
And presumably your hope to is that getting this -- out there and other people saying it will change a lot -- lives.
Well -- you know I mean I'm a father I have to what beautiful daughters drinking and -- and ice so I haven't experienced do you know raising them I came I came out of a household where my father left when I was very young so I was able to relate to a lot of what I encountered when I visited.
He's these homes I visited over a 160 homes.
In twenty states.
You know 39 cities across the United States.
Across the board and and what I felt more than anything.
After spending time -- each one of these a man.
Was it was their real sense of commitment and their understanding that they may have been negligent.
At times but now they understood how important it was for their child.
That they were in their life they were role models and I sought.
Across the board with especially with when I was with the children how how blessed they felt to be with their father I mean it was amazing to me.
Jaw and a and a one just to wrap it up we view the -- one of the joys of becoming a father is that you get the opportunity become a grandfather.
Tell us about that briefly at the beautiful.
Story you -- in -- in your introduction of that meeting one of your direct grandchildren for the first time recently.
Why is that why there is pleased he'll be 3 April Johnson and so you know I live in Washington DC as you know but this child was born -- San Francisco.
So it took me about a month to get out there.
You know because of my child's my daughter's health and all that so everybody was out of the hospital are right it was in good shape.
And I finally got out there you know the first thought that occurred to me is all you know when I mean a baby another baby babies are all the same and everybody thinks -- -- -- cute -- all that so.
I can be a little bit of a political cynic it's my job anyway.
So I get out there and I for the first time they come by to meet us in the lobby of the hotel and I get to hold a lie it's.
And I got to take down I just start crying it wasn't like I was sobbing and I think it's just like tears started leaking out of my basement -- What is going on -- dieters realize there is this deep emotional connection.
Again that crosses all time in generations that says you know OK so I just thought it was little -- me but now I understand.
They being a father can contribute to something that crosses time for generations.
That -- be part of you know humanity Burton you -- Much time to come I want to help this child grow and succeed.
It's a tremendous.
Gift of god I think you -- I opened up into.
The -- but I mean.
The idea that people somehow move away from fatherhood or.
-- think it's a sad thing on an individual level I think people don't understand what they're doing to themselves to their children the emotional damage it does to children.
In just the way that fathers need to be present there's a huge hole when their absence.
And it's a beautiful story beautifully but -- Williams and it is also an extremely beautiful and moving book choosing fatherhood America's second chance.
Photographs by -- Costa introduction by Juan Williams these gentlemen thank you both very much for sharing those great stories whether it's great to see it.
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