Dean: “I Continue To Enjoy Every Experience”

June 17, 2015

In an effort to offer perspectives on fatherhood leading up to Father’s Day, a collaborative initiative that includes Imagine Bermuda, the Family Centre, and the National Library is working to share the stories of Bermuda fathers.

As a part of that effort, local father Eugene Dean has been highlighted, with Mr. Dean saying, “[My daughter] has always been a blessing and I continue to enjoy every experience she brings into my life.”

Eugene Dean’s perspective on fatherhood is one that has been shaped by a number of factors, beginning with a solid family life for Mr. Dean himself and culminating in a unique relationship with his own daughter decades later.

On the one hand, he reports that it has been gratifying to grow within a loving family that has embodied the virtues that have formed the foundation of his daughter’s growth and development. Additionally his grandmothers, his mother and the rest of the women in his family provided an additional support network that was nurturing.

In 1995, at the age of 21, just following his graduation from university in June of that year, his girlfriend gave birth to a daughter that July. Mr Dean immediately recognized this situation as a blessing, even though, having a child at that particular time, had not been a part of his plans.

That said both he and his girlfriend had to rise to the occasion, especially since she was a U.S. citizen and, following his graduation, Mr Dean was returning to Bermuda for work and a masters program.

Initially Sierra remained in the US with her mother taking turns with Mr Dean travelling so that they both could spend time with their new baby. However by the time Sierra was 18 months old, circumstances dictated that he would raise Sierra as a single father in Bermuda.

Mr Dean expressed the fact that raising his daughter has provided him with a newfound sense of appreciation for family. He also noted that it is truly astonishing how becoming a father at a young age accelerated his maturity and brought fresh perspective into his life.

He contends that the experience of single-parenthood spurred him to grow into manhood somewhat earlier than his peers, as he came face-to-face with the adjustments required to make all of his decisions based on the impact it would have on his child.

While both Mr Dean and Sierra benefited from an abundance of love and support from his family, they all made sure that, when it came to his daughter, he knew she was his responsibility. Consequently, he would participate in all school activities, cook meals, prepare lunches, change diapers, fix hair, attend birthday parties, plan sleepovers and organize play days at the park.

Mr Dean recalls that post homeschool, while attending elementary school at Montessori, Sierra would get upset at times when other children would boast about all the things their mothers were doing for them and then add more insult to injury by questioning her to find out if her mother was doing the same things.

Fortunately this only happened periodically and in his opinion those experiences helped make their bond stronger because it encouraged him to give Sierra even more attention and support. Today she continues to benefit from the relationship they’ve shared over the years.

He has seen her grow in confidence and watched her develop a sense of maturity and love for herself.

One key feature of his parenting style was Mr Dean’s deep appreciation for leading by example. At a very early stage he realized that children do what we do far more readily than listening to what we say. He learned this lesson first hand when his daughter started to say “no” to him.

Upon reflection he realized that it was he that she was emulating when he would use “no” in his communication to her. Once he realized that he made a decision to use only positive language with her by telling her what to do rather than what not to do and in a relatively short period of time, “no” went away.

Mr Dean’s personal growth led him to recognize that not only should he focus on the welfare of his own child, but experienced a growing sense of responsibility for children and people in the wider community. In that regard, Sierra would accompany him when he attended meetings or worked on community projects.

Sierra reports that she feels ‘special’ having been raised by her father. She contends that it may have given her an edge when she compares herself with her peers, noting that she seems to be able to handle life challenges better than her friends.

Sierra also noted that her communication with her father has always been independent of judgment, and this transparency has allowed her and her father to form a healthy and honest relationship.

Both Mr Dean and his daughter say that their relationship is unique. Sierra has grown into a beautiful self-assured young women and she just completed her second year of university in Canada.

“There is not a day in my life that I have regretted having Sierra,” said Mr. Dean. “She has always been a blessing and I continue to enjoy every experience she brings into my life.”

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Comments (7)

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  1. Concerned says:

    This article bought tears to my eyes. Congratulations Mr. Dean and may the Lord continue to bless your family.
    
    Proverbs 22:6King James Version (KJV)
    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

  2. Kim Smith says:

    This is a wonderful and heartwarming story about Eugene and his daughter… a testimony each to the other!

  3. A. Mom says:

    This is a beautiful story. I think fathers and daughters share a special bond-it seems like from day one, girls have their daddies wrapped around their little fingers. My teenage daughter is really close to my husband and it warms my heart…she gets along better with him than with me-you know, the whole ‘good cop versus bad cop’ thing and you can guess which one I usually am! I laugh because my daughter talks to her dad about EVERYTHING and has no qualms about sending him to the pharmacy for sanitary supplies and the like, and then tells him off if he gets the wrong thing. I would never have dreamed about asking my father to do stuff like that and then berating him with “No, Daddy, I said ‘regular’, not ‘super’!” It doesn’t even occur to her to be embarrassed and I think that’s a testament to their closeness, which is a good thing in my book.

  4. Sweet T says:

    Awesome!!! Nice to see that Mr. Dean conquered and mastered 2 common stereotypes of “failure” (that I despise and do not agree with). Being a young parent as well as a single parent…both father and child successful and happy! kudos and Happy Father’s Day Mr. Dean

  5. Dreadlocks says:

    Nice story. Good luck to the Deans!

  6. RieRie Callender says:

    Hi Eugene & Sierra:

    Way to go Nephew & Great Niece –

    What a beautiful interview — You brought tears to my eyes…

    You both looked so comfortable and expressed yourselves brilliantly.

    I’ve always been proud of you and now I’m even more..

    May God’s Guidance and Blessings be with you Always.

    Love you Always,

    Auntie Rie (Barbados)

  7. Catch A Fire says:

    Eugene is one of the most humble, genuine and nicest guys you will ever meet. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting his daughter but I’m not at all surprised that she has turned out so well. The apple does not fall far from the tree.