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06 June, 2008

CHILDREN'S CORNER--THROUGH OUR CHILDREN'S EYES: THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERS AND FATHER FIGURES

Is having a dominant male presence in the life of a child important? It is to our children. Recently, JUST US BOOKS (www.justusbooks.com) which is headquartered in East Orange, New Jersey orchestrated an essay contest entitled My Most Memorable Moment With My Father. The contest which received entries from children throughout the United States was inspired by a book One Million Men And Me authored by Kelly Starlings, a free-lance writer and author of children’s books. One Million Men And Me is a story of the Million Man March as seen through the eyes of a girl who attends the event with her Father. JUST US BOOKS’ My Most Memorable Moment With My Father Writing Contest is not only a celebration of Fatherhood. It is a mirror which reflects the importance of Fathers and Father Figures. It provides us with an opportunity to see the importance of Fathers and Father Figures through the eyes of our children.

The winners of JUST US BOOKS’ My Most Memorable Moment With My Father essay contest – JAHBRIL PORTER-OLLARVIA, age 5; MARQUEZ MORROW, age 7; DENARIUS WOODS, age 10; and TIYE ATU IMA ASEGA GARRETT-MILLS, age 9 -- have a lot to say about the importance of Fathers and Father Figures.


DENARIUS WOODS

My father’s name is Jeremy Hargrow. It is hard for me to remember my dad. I guess it’s because I was only five years old when he went to heaven. My granny and momma have told me details about him and the different things we did together, but I cannot remember them myself.


Sometimes when it is very quiet, I daydream about the stories they have told me. I wish that my father were here so that we could make memorable moments, but he is not, so most of the time I make up stories and wish them to be true.

For instance, my favorite made-up memory is the day I graduate from college. I can hear someone calling my name, “Denarius Woods.” I stand up and quickly walk to the podium. I am excited because I am finally finishing school. When the diploma is handed to me, I look out into the crowd and glance across the room hoping to see my father. There he is, smiling at me because he knows that I have come a long way. Tears start to fall out of my eyes because my daddy is here to see me complete my biggest goal.


“Well done,” my father says and then he is gone. Boy, I really wish that God could make that dream come true. I would never forget that memory. In fact, the day I do walk across that stage and get my diploma I will look up in the sky and know that my father is staring down at me, and just like my dream he will say, “Well done.”
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DENARIUS WOODS, is a First Place Winner in the Fourth Grade Category of JUST US BOOKS’ essay contest entitled, “My Most Memorable Moment With My Father”. Woods,. Who is a ten-year old fifth-grader attending College Hill Academy in Cincnnati, Ohio. Hill Academy, wrote an essay about his Father Jeremy Hargrow. [Reprinted With Permission of Just Us Books (www.justusbooks.com)]

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JAHBRIL PORTER-OLLARVIA

My most memorable moment with my dad actually happens all the time. He takes me to my cello program every Saturday. My mama drops my dad and me off while she takes my brother Jahlil to his chorus rehearsal. Sometimes I carry my cello and sometimes my dad carries it. My dad always carries the black bag. The black bag has my songs, books for me to read, snacks and a notebook for my dad to take notes. First me and my dad go to my private cello lesson with Ms. Natalie. Then I have a break. I usually read, do an activity sheet or have a snack. Sometimes I play in the gym with my friends. We race each other, play basketball or tag. Next I go to my musicianship class. We play the balloon game with our bows, and we make music with different sticks. Everyone in the musicianship class started at the same time. Students may play the violin, viola or cello. I have another break. Sometimes my dad takes me for a bathroom break. Next, I have group. This is where only cellists can come. We sing songs and we play our cellos. My dad takes my picture when I am in my cello class. When I had my first cello concert, my daddy video taped me. My mama, my brother Jahlil and my Great Grandma Bell were there. I played “Tucka Tucka Stop Stop” on the D-string. I also sang “I love my cello,” and “Ants.” I love my dad a lot. I have a good time on Saturdays with my dad.
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JAHBRIL PORTER-OLLARVIA’S essay about his father Mr. Jason Ollarvia won him First Place in the Third Grade Category of Just Us Books’ Essay Contest entitled “My Most Memorable Moment With My Father”. Ollarvia is five years old and is enrolled in the first grade at Ujima International Education Center in Country Club Hills, Illinois. [Reprinted With Permission of Just Us Books (www.justusbooks.com)]

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TIYE ATU IMA ASEGA GARRETT-MILLS’

Fourth grade is awful. Seriously, nothing seems worth getting up in the morning for except seeing my father’s shining face. My father is one of the most important figures in my life. He’s handsome in every way. He has a kind face, dark eyes, and a long beard.


My father is thoughtful and thinks about how other people feel. One example of this would be how he wakes me up in the morning. My mother shakes me up. My brothers yell and my sisters scream. But my father makes me a big bowl of my favorite oatmeal and says “Hey baby girl! Get on my back. I made you a bowl of oatmeal.”
When my father and I are alone and he is picking me up from school, we go to Blackberries, a coffee shop, and get ice cream. One time, when my cousin gave me dirty looks, my dad took me to Burger King.


When I was little, he took me to a playground and placed me on top of a giant turtle and said “I love you.” Those words had been stuck in my mind ever since. I think fathers are important in everyone’s life, because you can count on them no matter what, and they love you no matter where they are. But I love mine best in a way I can’t describe.
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TIYE ATU IMA ASEGA GARRETT-MILLS’ essay about her father Mr. Joel James Mills won her Second Place in the Fourth-Fifth Grade Category of Just Us Books’ Essay Contest entitled, ‘My Most Memorable Moment With My Father”. Mills is a nine year old fourth-grader enrolled at Institute Of Global Scholarship in Denver, Colorado.


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MARQUEZ MORROW

I wish that I had a father that was really my own. I do have a Father in Christ and he is there whenever I call on him. I have a mentor that is a good father to me. He loves me and guides me in the right direction to grow up to be a young intelligent man. But in my mind, having someone in my corner means a lot. I still just wonder about a lot of things. I wonder what it would be like to have a father that would be there for me day and night. Would I really be excited? I wonder just for a day, how it would be if all my friends could see my father. My friends and I could see how really cool it is to have a father that wants to have fun and just play outside. Thinking would my friends be more friendly with me? Maybe it would just be best being me. I was given a Bus Captain named Brother Aaron Eggers and we sing songs all the time on the church bus. I have gone different places with Brother Aaron Eggers and he shows me a lot of love each and every time. These moments are the best time of my life to have a father role model and enjoy having a good time with a father. Brother Aaron Eggers from time to time shows me the right way to live and do my best at whatever I am trying to do. My Pastor put a very good mentor to be around me and I enjoy the love that my Pastor has and Christ has for me. This is the most memorable moment with a Father that loves me and is part of my life.

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MARQUEZ MORROW is a seven year old second-grader enrolled at Owen Scholastic Academy in Chicago, Illinois whose essay about his mentor Brother Aaron Eggers won him second place in the First-Third Grade Category of Just Us Books’ essay contest entitled, “My Most Memorable Moment With My Father”. [Reprinted With Permission of Just Us Books (www.justusbooks.com)]

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