John Fountain with his daughter Imani, just hours after her birth.
By John W. Fountain
These are a few lessons on life written to my daughter. Some of them are rooted in the wisdom of my dearly departed grandmother. Some rinsed with humor. Some stem from my own experience -- and even my mistakes -- as a man. All are shared in hope and concern. And perhaps in them lie lessons for all daughters:
Dear daughter, don't embrace the privilege of being my daughter but reject the responsibility of being my daughter. I love you no less when I am giving you words of wisdom and lessons that you find difficult than when I am giving you good gifts. You need both for your journey into -- and throughout--womanhood.
Dear daughter, some women say, "All men are dogs!" If this is true, then some of them must confess to being dogcatchers, dog keepers, dog lovers and to having laid down with dogs. I see not a dog in your future, but a man.
A BD (a Baby Daddy) too often becomes just a DB (a Deadbeat). Choose instead a HF (Husband/Father) who will help you build a FH (Family/Home).
Don't settle for a "fixer-upper," thinking you can "change" him. It's easier to flip a house than to flip a man -- and a lot more profitable, with a lot less heartache.
Don't date a THUG: A Trifling Harmful Undependable Guy. If his mother didn't raise him, you certainly can't. So if the raising's not done, you're stuck with someone else's unfinished son.
If you begin making excuses for a man, rest assured you'll have to keep making excuses for him.
You can do good all by yourself.
Dear daughter, a man does not affirm your identity. Always remember who and whose you are.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it ain't a swan.
Don't listen to the naysayers. Work, plan, build, dream -- and always believe.
Just because you made a mistake in choosing a "bad" boyfriend or mate doesn't mean you're stuck with him. Know when to hold 'em. And know when to fold 'em.
Take all threats seriously. And deal with them. Call me.
No man is perfect. Every relationship has its trials and costs. But you cannot afford to try and save "him" -- or your relationship -- at the full expense of you.
Dear daughter, sex isn't love. And love doesn't hurt. Never confuse the momentary embrace of intimacy with the lasting assurance of true love by a real man.
Real men protect, produce and provide. Period.
A real man would rather carry you on his back a thousand miles than to watch you carry a load even slightly too heavy for just one.
Real men make mistakes but endeavor to rise above them. They make a way. Not excuses.
Dear daughter, you are no man's doormat.
Don't choose a date not fit for a mate.
There is a reason some sisters have never been married. Some don't respect men. Some see a man as the final little piece in their picture-perfect puzzle. "Submission" is not subservience. You cannot love a man you don't respect. Be wise.
Don't allow your relationship with one man to contaminate your view of all men. Don't be bitter, baby. Be better.
Dear daughter, you are no man's chicken meal deal: breasts, thighs, legs and a back. You are a woman, wondrously made, a beautiful daughter.