Ode to An O.G.

Corliss V. Garner

Reflecting on Father’s Day this past week made me realize that I know some stellar Black men, especially Black fathers, who are gangsta in the absolute best way imaginable.  Here are a few examples of why Black fathers are so important to our community and the world. 

  • You carry the weight of your family on your shoulders, while carrying the baggage you inherited from this world.  You didn’t ask for it, but you unpack it with dignity, grace and fearlessness. 


  • You are the first and most important example for your daughters of how a man should treat her.  And just as important, you show your sons how to treat someone else’s daughter.   


  • Your presence is like no other.  You never break your stride whether you are in a tailored suit, Jordans and a white tee, a CTA uniform, jeans and a Harley Davidson skully, or a hardhat and construction boots.  No matter the attire, you command attention and turn heads.   


  • You may have had a misstep or two.  But you don’t let your past define your future.  You get back in formation and live your destined greatness.  


  • You are vulnerable and you know it is healthy to express your emotions. And you dare anyone to question your manhood because you display the very essence of humanity. 


  • You dream for your children.  You want them to achieve success way beyond your own.  You make chess moves that will pay dividends for generations to come.  


  • You step in and step up to raise children who are not God-given, but God-sent.   


  • You have experienced a lot of loss.  Injustice seems to always be just around the corner, if not at your front door.  In the face of it all, you continue to lead by example, elevate your voice and stand up for what is right.  

My father passed away when I was 9 years old.  He didn’t live in the home with us, but I fondly remember our time together.  Unfortunately, I never received those valuable life lessons every girl needs from her father about boys and money.  With a few stumbles along the way, I believe I have figured out both.  I think. 
I share the joy my friends feel when they think of what their fathers mean to them.  One friend in particular described her dad’s impact on her life in a text.  As I was reading her message, chills flowed through my body.  Her words leapt from the screen with love, admiration, respect and gratitude for the man who taught her everything she knows about money.   
He taught her to be wise about her spending decisions and to save for emergencies.  He educated her on mutual funds and how to diversify her investments.  He taught her to value people over things and not to make major life decisions solely on the basis of money.  He is no longer with her, but every lesson he spoke or modeled is forever ingrained in how she lives and contributes to the world.  That is the power, strength and blessing of a father.   
Gentlemen, I am here to remind you that YOU MATTER.  Your very presence speaks volumes and your active engagement in your family and your community is transformative.  Stand up fellas.  Stand proud.  Now take a bow.  
Corliss is a lifelong Chicagoan from the West side who has a thing for money and has learned from a few mistakes over the years.  She is a fierce auntie, passionate about improving community and educating our babies.  She happens to be a Certified Financial Planner TM, has worked a few decades in many areas of banking and views financial literacy as a personal ministry.  Join her Facebook page Got My Mind on My Money and My Money on My Mind.   Contact her at corliss.garner@cloindustries.com with comments or questions.  
The topics discussed and opinions given are not intended to address the specific needs of any reader. They are for informational purposes only and are not to be construed or relied upon as pro-bono, paid or any other advice.  The information herein does not offer legal, tax or other advice, and readers are encouraged to discuss their individual financial needs with the appropriate professional advisors.  The opinions and thoughts expressed herein are solely those of the Writer and not those of the Writer’s employer(s) or any other affiliations.   Writer assumes no liability for any loss or damage resulting from errors or omissions or reliance on or use of the material herein. 

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