The point of my stories about getting my daughter ready for school or helping my son with his homework or taking a road trip with my family was simply this: There are legions of men like me who love their families and want the best for them. Men who work hard, just like you do. Just like all of us should - no matter where we live, no matter how much money we make, and no matter what we look like.
In telling those stories, I said things that statistics never could. I opened minds that had been closed and sparked conversations that needed to take place. I made a difference, not only in these pages or on the Internet, but in our community. Through literacy programs like Words on the Street, I was able to take the Daily News to places where it impacted young people. I'm proud to have done that, because the legacy of those connections will live on.
I know that there are some who believe there is hopelessness in our communities, that the only issues worth exploring are poverty and crime. But the primary issue is fatherhood, and it always has been. If more men would stand up and be husbands to their wives and fathers to their children, poverty and crime would be substantially diminished, and that is the reason that I write.
I often write these truths in a humorous voice because humor is disarming. It lowers our barriers, relaxes our anxieties, and exposes the things we have in common. Black or white, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, we all want the same things. We want love and respect. We want worldly success, but more than anything else, we want our children to have better lives than we did. That's why we work so hard. That's why we sacrifice so readily. That's why I'll continue to write.
I'll write to let the world know that there are black men who are proud fathers, dedicated husbands, and loving protectors of our families. I'll write so that my words can let like-minded men know that it's OK to love their wives, to treasure their children, to eagerly embrace the responsibility of leading families. I'll write so that some young man, somewhere, can observe my dedication to fatherhood and believe that it just might be cool to get married and raise his children.
I'll write because marriage is more than hard work and routine. Marriage is joy and laughter. Marriage is fun and adventure. Marriage is genuine, and if all the mistakes I've made in my life were the vehicles that drove me to this realization, they were all well worth it, because I have never been happier or more fulfilled than when I look into the eyes of the people I love. I hope that has come across in each one of my columns, because it's the reason that I write.
I'll continue to tell these stories, to break down these barriers, and to share these truths. I'll continue to reach out to young people, to encourage husbands and fathers, and to touch lives. I'll continue to be a voice. I'll just be doing it elsewhere.
I thank the Daily News for the opportunity, and I thank the readers for taking this journey with me. I'll see you on the other side.
Visit best-selling author and award-winning columnist Solomon Jones at Solomonjones.com