“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” – Billy Graham
As Father’s Day approaches, we want to recognize the valuable role that men play in the lives of their children. Sometimes referred to as “the overlooked parent,” dads don’t always receive the credit that moms do, but the impact of an actively involved father is just as significant.
Here is a glimpse into the father-hearts of three local men as they show us through their parenting struggles, hopes, and joys why dads matter.
#Dadication: Steve Weber
The name Samuel means “heard of God.” That’s why Steve Weber and his wife Kelly chose it for their son—because he was a miraculous answer to their prayers.
But even paths to miracles can have rocky beginnings, something Weber experienced firsthand. Four decades ago, Weber was a young drug addict, whose addiction was straining his relationship with his father and on the brink of ruining—possibly even ending—his life.
“My habit got worse, resulting in two DWIs that should have both resulted in death due to overdose,” says Weber. “My dad didn’t know how to handle me, and I think a part of him was preparing to get ‘the call.’”
His dad never did get that call as Weber survived his 6-year period of drug abuse. Sober for over thirty years, he is now a business owner, a youth pastor and a construction ministry volunteer. He has been married for 16 years.
He first met Kelly, a fifth-grade teacher at Fredericksburg Christian School, through a ministry he started aimed at feeding the homeless. “Her love for God and for people was contagious,” he recalls. “It didn’t take me long to start like-liking her.”
Shortly after they began dating, Weber found out that Kelly had always wanted a family. He knew he had to be upfront with her.
“I shared with her that I couldn’t biologically have children.” Weber had been married once before and experienced issues with infertility. He had been told conceiving children would not be possible for him.
Despite Kelly’s desire to have a family, they continued to see each other and soon got married. Not long after their wedding, Kelly struggled with some medical issues herself. She, too, was told that conception was unlikely, and when it was recommended she have a hysterectomy, the hope of having a baby was lost.
This left the couple feeling confused. “Years before she met me, she felt that God had told her she would have a son,” says Weber. “Of course, it didn’t make sense that our chance of having kids went from slim to impossible.”
But that’s the thing with miracles—they’re not supposed to make sense.
“God stepped in, and she got pregnant…by me…naturally…with a son!” says Weber. “This was a true miracle for us. In August of 2009, we became parents to our only child.”
Today, Samuel is 11 years old. He plays soccer and volunteers at the church he attends with his family.
While the relationship between Weber and his father never fully recovered, the grandfather met his miracle grandson who was born just two months before his passing in 2009.
Weber had served as a youth pastor once before, over twenty years ago, a position he left to serve as a pastor. He hadn’t expected to work with teens again…
“I am finding that, as a father, I am seeing these kids differently than I did the first time around,” he says. “While culture has changed and the things teens are dealing with are slightly different than when I last worked closely with them, their needs are still the same — they want us to listen to them, and they want us to spend time with them.”
Steve Weber’s Parenting Advice
“Don’t be afraid to tackle the tough questions. Be Present. Listen to them.”
#Dadication: Davy Fearon Jr.
When Davy Fearon Jr. was 11 years old, he wrote in a school notebook that he aspired to be a husband and father when he grew up. “Fatherhood is where crazy meets normal, frustration meets intense love, not-so-good days meet the best days ever,” says Fearon, who lost his own father at five years old.
His childhood dream came true 19 years ago when he married his college sweetheart, Vernitha. Together, they have one son and three daughters, ages 9-13.
“Our children are special to us because they embrace who they are and who we are,” says Fearon. “Each of them has different strengths, skills, personalities…they like to express their individuality.”
This motorcycle-riding basketball coach and father-of-four has worked in youth programming for fifteen years. He considers himself to be “personally and professionally committed to creating positive opportunities for youth and their families.”
Fearon says being a father and husband helps him to facilitate empathetic programming, and that he strives to make sure dads are not an afterthought.
“One of the biggest mistakes we often make is giving fathers praise for being present and active in their children’s lives,” something he says we don’t do for mothers. “We expect a mother to be there. Fathers should not be held to a lower standard.”
Fearon continues, “We are supposed to be present: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally just as we expect mothers to be. We have different skillsets and roles, but the absence of one person does not nullify the role; it leaves it unfulfilled in every sense of the word.
Davy Fearon’s hopes for his children’s future:
“My hope for my children is they grow up to be people of integrity, model citizens, and be purposeful in their lives. I desire that each of my children recognize their potential and accomplish whatever they set out to do. I pray they have deep faith and a prosperous, fun, and rewarding life.”
#Dadication: Lamont Brown
Lamont Brown may be a Marine Corps veteran, business owner and marathon runner, but he still talks to his parents at least five times a week. “My mom calls while my dad is in the room because he doesn’t like being on the phone,” he quips.
Brown, a husband for 28 years and father of two boys, always wanted to be a dad, and he was blessed with an example of a close father-son relationship growing up.
“He always took time out to take me to play golf, teach me things, and take me on business trips,” Brown says of his father. He wanted to follow that example. “My relationship with my dad is great. I wanted the same for me and my sons.”
Despite that desire and the example set at home, Brown originally had a different expectation of fatherhood. Brown is not alone. A lot of men are confused about their role in their children’s lives.
“Coming in, I thought I would provide financially and change a few diapers and be done,” says Brown. That all changed when his sons were born. “They stole my heart, and all I wanted to do was help them to be the best they could be.”
In fact, his family would describe him as a father who was so committed to the success of his children, that he woke up at 4 am every morning just to make sure his boys started their day off right—with a home-cooked breakfast, just like the ones his mother prepared for him.
Brown is still trying to process that his boys have recently become adults and started their own lives away from their childhood home. He cautions parents, “DON’T WASTE TIME! As parents, we sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day shuffle, but your time with your children goes by fast. Spend as much time as you can with your children. When they graduate and leave home, it will never be the same.”
Lamont Brown’s proudest dad moments:
“As a father, I taught lessons to my children but seeing my sons model the lessons I taught by example has truly made me proud. The area of their lives where I see it the most is in how they treat their girlfriends.”
#DADICATION is an ad campaign dedicated entirely to creating awareness about the importance of fatherhood involvement and to direct dads to Fatherhood.org where they can find tips, programs and other valuable parenting resources.