Weeks: “Being A Father Is Not Simply Biology”

June 21, 2015

In an effort to offer perspectives on fatherhood on the occasions of 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, Michael Weeks has been highlighted, with Mr. Weeks saying, “As I have matured over the years, I do know that being a father is not simply a matter of biology. I also know that it does not come with an instruction manual and it takes courage to provide the care and guidance of young ones on their journey.

“I am reminded of my father – Joseph “Mob” Weeks – who died at the relatively young age of 57. While he had his series of challenges, he is remembered for offering a sense of discipline for his children; he only had to speak once.

“However, we always knew that we were loved. While our parents had been facing difficult economic circumstances at the time, they always offered us a spiritual base, as well as clear guidance.

“Do young ones sometimes stray from the guidance that they are provided? The answer is a resounding “yes”. But hopefully, they don’t stray too far.

“My own life offers an example. When I attended Berkeley Institute, I strayed off the path and got into mischief. As a result I was asked to leave in my last year. Thankfully, in spite of financial limitations, my parents saw my potential and sent me off to boarding school in Maine.

“Notwithstanding the obstacles I faced, I was able to graduate with honours from that high school. I had strayed off the path, but with assistance, I was able to get back on course.

“One of my dreams came true, when after that graduation, I was subsequently accepted to attend Howard University, continuing my academic journey. I made good progress as a freshman, but during my sophomore year, due to various circumstances, I found it necessary to drop out of school.”

“I returned home and joined the workforce. Back in the island, I eventually veered off the path for a while. I can only be thankful that ultimately I took to heart the words of Martin Luther King; “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“That inspiration led me to eventually return to Howard University to complete the start I made more than a decade earlier. I returned to school as a married man with four children. My wife remained in Bermuda with our daughter and my youngest son with his mother.

“With my commitment to fatherhood, I took my two older sons with me to Howard. I was something of a single-father while completing my undergraduate program. I eventually graduated in 1999.

I had demonstrated that when setbacks are experienced, our lives can be transformed, regardless of the circumstances. I had claimed that independence in the spirit of my favourite poem INVICTUS, which contains the reminder for all of us, that “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul”.

“Claiming one’s own power is the key. However, there are some things over which we are powerless. I fully understood that, when some years ago we lost our son, Malik in a tragic road fatality. There is nothing that can prepare a parent for that experience. The sense of loss is not easy, but as time goes on, it has become more manageable.

“Malik has left a beautiful young daughter who blesses us by carrying her father’s legacy. I am also blessed with the memories of our father/son relationship, etched in my heart.

“I implore all fathers to do the best you can, regardless of your circumstances and any disparities that may sometimes plague you. I encourage you to impart to your children that as Bermudians we all can strive for a better Bermuda, one street at a time.

“Happy Father’s Day to those who have fathered a child and to those who take on the responsibility of impacting young lives in a positive way.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Mr. Michael Weeks Sir, this has to be the most heart warming letter I’ve ever read written by you.Just about any male can biologically be a father but unfortunately, not a father that can / does manage the responsibilities of raising their children.
    We see often far too many children, “fathering” children :-(

  2. Me says:

    Totally agree, i have a Father, but not a Dad xxx fortunately my children have both xxxx

  3. Verly says:

    A big thank you to the fine men of Big Brothers & Big Sisters who step in and take a fatherly role for young men. Although they are not their father, they fill a void and often aren’t given kudos on Father’s Day. Thank you all.

  4. overboardhope says:

    This article speaks the truth.