Written by Luke DeRoy and shared at The Children's Trust Gala
I always wanted to change the world.
I wanted to make a difference. I just thought, if we could all just give more love to each other, we could ascend to a higher plane of humanity.
When my son was born, I realized: I can change the world - through him. Being a good dad is making a difference because being a good person – and raising a good person – is how we make the world a better place. I could be raising a future governor!
The Children’s Trust Nurturing Fathers program gives me the space – physically and mentally – to provide that kind of childhood to my son. Every week, on Tuesday afternoon, I go to the Nurturing Father’s Program, or as I like to call it, “Dad Class.” But it’s much more than just Dad Class. It’s a community where we get together in a room to talk, listen, and support each other. I go because I know that I will be heard, and through that I am blessed with the understanding that I am worthy of being heard. That is exactly the understanding I want to pass on to my son. This program is an indispensable example of consistency and compassion that I bring home with me to create a stable and loving life for him.
Everybody needs love. Everybody needs help sometimes. Everyone needs good examples that remind us to ask ourselves who we want to be. Love is the little things that carry us from day to day.
It is calm conversations with my son when he’s throwing a tantrum or a walk in the park with him as a healthy way to relieve stress. At our core, to be seen is the ultimate relief. To be acknowledged does not just feel good. It heals us.
The Nurturing Father’s Program is this for me. I was lucky enough to find the program during what was a very traumatic time for me. It is hard to be the best version of yourself - the best friend, son, or even parent - when you are going through something difficult. But, this program helped me process that experience in a healthy way so that I could continue to support my son and help him become a good person. Nurturing Fathers quickly became the place I go to heal and learn. A place where I am seen, heard, respected, and loved. And sometimes, it’s the only time I have in my busy, hectic week to sit down and enjoy a meal with other people. I know that sounds small, but it makes me feel supported and loved. Nurturing Fathers is the pause I take to start my week. It’s often the exhalation I needed when I didn’t know I had been holding my breath. A lot of pressure comes hand in hand with this great miracle that is fatherhood, but Nurturing Fathers makes me a better father.
Life is complicated. The world is crazy. And love is a skill that takes practice, consistency, effort. The Nurturing Father’s Program has given me consistently healthy examples that I use in my life when my compass is wobbly. And it has been stable so that I can be that for my son even when so much of my life isn’t.
We all just want to feel at home after a long journey, the warmth of a fire, out of the storm. I'm looking at a group of people from Nurturing Fathers right now. Vuthy and Melinda Cady: You have helped me feel accepted and safe. You have urged me to reflect, to learn, and grow. Just like a good parent should. This program, and everyone involved, is a model for how to listen, how to acknowledge, how to love. This is being a good parent. This is being a good person.
Nurturing Fathers is making a difference in the lives of so many families like mine. I can promise you that this program works! Together, through Children's Trust programs like Nurturing Fathers, we can all make a difference for more children and families right here in Massachusetts. Thank you for listening and thank you for supporting these important programs.