Single dads are enjoying fatherhood

When Father’s Day arrives, Michael Johnson plans to compete in a softball game at Washington Park on the South Side while his daughter cheers him on.

When Father’s Day arrives, Michael Johnson plans to compete in a softball game at Washington Park on the South Side while his daughter cheers him on.

That won’t be anything different from what they usually do on Sundays when he has a softball game.

For Johnson, 38, June 21 will be just another day for him and his 7-year-old daughter, Kyzhe.

He is among the single dads raising their children, faced with some of the same issues as single mothers.

“We’re outdoor people. Whether we’re at the park, the beach or at a barbecue. We love to be outside, especially during the summer,” Johnson told the Defender.

“But I have to admit, being a single father has its ups and downs. There are many sacrifices single fathers make to ensure a good lifestyle for their children. The very first thing to go is your social life.”

Johnson, who never married, explained that being able to go on a date, hang out with friends or travel is nearly impossible when you are a single parent “unless you have a dependable babysitter like your mom,” he said. “My mom and grandmother are deceased, and I never really had a relationship with my dad so I don’t have that traditional family support.”

Aside from outdoor activities, Johnson said he and his daughter play video games and visit amusement parks like Great America in Gurnee. These are all activities Kyzhe loves.

“My daddy and me do a lot of neat things. I can’t wait for school to end so we can do more. I love my daddy a lot,” said Kyzhe, who just completed first grade.

Fred Tate, 51, looks forward to attending church on Sundays with his 13-year-old son, Geno. The divorced father also has a 20-year-old son, Cyrus, who is away in college.

“There’s nothing like a father working with his son in church. God plays a major part in helping me raise my sons,” Tate said. “I love being a father, and while two parents in the household is always better than one, I am not bitter about being a single father.”

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