This is by guest blogger Ken Jansen
With Father’s day coming up, I was asked to write a piece about being a Dad. I’m the incredibly proud father of two great kids, and grandfather of two beautiful boys. It’s not been an easy life, two divorces, multiple moves, new jobs, etc, but it’s not a life I would want changed for anything.
I struggled for quite a while over what to write, until this morning. On Tuesday night, a young man named Jonathan Allen walked out onto the stage for an audition for America’s Got Talent. He took down the roof with his rendition of Time to Say Goodbye. That wasn’t the best part…The best part was Howie Mandell’s response to Jonathan. You see, Jonathan was kicked out of his family a little over two years ago, on his 18th birthday, simply because he’s gay. Howie, on behalf of America’s Got Talent, basically “adopted” Jonathan.
As a father, it amazes me (not in a good way) that any parent could completely turn their back on their child. Children NEVER ask to be born. Parents bring their kids into the world, and in doing so, (hopefully) accept the responsibilities of being a parent. It’s always been my contention, since I can remember, that a parent’s love is unconditional. You can’t simply tell your kid “If you don’t as I say, and live as I want you to, I won’t love you.” I’ve seen this happen to a friend, whose parents disowned her completely because they didn’t like the guy she was living with. Later, after she broke up with him, and met and married someone “acceptable,” they “welcomed” her back into their family.
In my opinion, Jonathan’s “parents” are NOT fit to carry that title. To me, and again, this is only my opinion, they are nothing more than an egg and sperm donor. However, watching Jonathan’s obvious love for these people was inspiring.
About a year ago, my then 12 year old son and I were visiting my Mom. During a conversation about the work I do for Equality, my Mom looks me in the eye and asked me “What would you do if Luke came out to you? Would you be upset?” I looked straight back at her and said, “Yes…but only if he was ashamed of it.” In all honesty, I really don’t care who my kids fall in love with, as long as they love, and are loved in return. My daughter is married to an exceptional man, who is a great husband to her and extraordinary father to my grandsons, and my son, now 13, has his first girlfriend. I couldn’t be happier for them.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that being a father is the most rewarding thing a man can aspire to. It’s also one of the hardest, most frustrating things a man can live through, but if, like me, you can sit back and see success in your children, you have every right to be proud. I am proud. My kids may not be millionaires, world leaders, or famous in any way, but they are both loving, caring, and totally accepting people. To me, this is the true success in life.
And if necessary, Jonathan Allen, I would be incredibly proud to call you my son!
Happy Father’s Day to ALL Dads, and everyone who fills the role of Dad!
(and BTW, Luke…this does NOT get you out of going to university, and getting a job, so you can support me in my old age! LOL)
This is absolutely beautiful, and made me cry a little bit–because I have a parent who has given me that unconditional love, and because I have two parents that (to put it simply) didn’t.
It was a wonderful story and it very inspirational! You are such an amazing father and it shows how much you really love your kids no matter what. It’s a very good feeling to know that whatever happens to you, either good or bad, there’s always someone that you can talk/run to and someone is called “dad”. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post Ken!
Wonderful post. Happy Father’s Day to you and all fathers who are providing their kids with UNCONDITIONAL love.
Pingback: Living to See 100 | The Sandwich Lady
I truly believe, at the end of the day, the only thing a child wants is unconditional love from their parents. To know that whatever the big bad world throws at them they always have someone that will be there, supporting them, no matter what. Thank you Ken for being that kind of Dad and writing such a beautiful piece. Happy Father’s Day
I love my kids whatever. They are all in their 30s now, and boy do we have some rows when I go home to England, but nothing will stop me loving them. It’s the same with my foster children here in Ukraine, sometimes they drive me up the wall. Our eldest asked to be taken away from us as he didn’t like our rules, but guess where he comes to, now he’s 19 and has a problem. yes the door is always open to him.
The woman who lives with us has four children. The psychologist told her that one of the boys was effeminate. When she told the childrens father he said that when he comes out of prison he’ll soon knock that out of him. Len and I in unison told her ‘Not in this house he won’t.’ By the way, I don’t think he’s any more effeminate than I was masculine, but if he does turn out to be gay, so what. He’s only six, but we both think he’s realised he can come to us if necessary.
All kids are great, all kids drive you up the wall, but it has never stopped us loving them or made us abusive to them and it never will.
Great post, Ken. Your story is inspirational!
I loved this post. My own son came out a few years ago and I knew well he was gay well before that. Some of his friends have very troubled relationships with their parents, and my heart aches for them. Both my husband (his stepdad) and I told him — and we believe with all our hearts — that our home will always be a place where he can be himself and where his friends will always be welcome. You are a great father, and hope you have a wonderful day Sunday.
This is beautiful Ken ❤