“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” (– H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author, 1940 –, best known for his book “Life’s Little Instruction Book”)

Joseph had loved his late father and his father’s father. Now, in old ager, Joseph often thought about his life’s journeys.

As a teenager, he had walked with his father in the civil rights marches. Prior to marching, his father talked to him, telling him that sometimes one had to take risks to get rights for the oppressed.

“What risks?” Joseph had asked. “And what rights?”

“Rights promised to all citizens of the United States of America, according to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, Joseph, the right to be treated fairly,” his father had said.

“But marching for these rights means risking attacks by people who don’t want colored people to have rights. I’ll understand if you don’t want to go,” his father added.

Joseph agreed to go. He admired his dad’s courage. They marched together and, although they witnessed verbal affronts and physical attacks, they suffered no bodily harm.

As an adult, Joseph strove to be a loving husband and parent. He wanted to be a good role model for his children, and he encouraged them to be honest, fair and concerned about the welfare of others.

He had worked hard to provide shelter, food, clothes and education for his children, all of whom earned college degrees.

Because you love me, I have much achieved,

Had you despised me, then I must have failed,

But since I knew you trusted and believed,

I could not disappoint you and so prevailed. ( – Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Encouraged”)

As Father’s Day approached, Joseph looked forward to the cards and gifts he would receive. Thoughts about the love he would share with his family on that day made him smile.

Best wishes for a happy Father’s Day.

*Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday in the U.S. in 1972, although efforts to make it a holiday began in 1910.