Jae Henderson is no stranger to the written word. As President of Put It In Writing Professional Writing Service & PR she spearheads the PR and social media for several businesses and nonprofits. Also a freelance writer, her articles have been featured in various local publications and she routinely shares her thoughts about issues affecting women on her motivational blog, www.imagoodwoman.com. Jae is a published author of eight books which include her Someday trilogy, Things Every Good Woman Should Know I and II, Husband Wanted and Where Do We Go From Here I and II, which she co-authored with Mario D. King. Each summer, the native Memphian hosts The Little Writers workshop where she uses her expertise to instruct youth ages 7 - 12 on the fundamentals of crafting a good story. Prior to doing PR, Jae served as the Director of Community Affairs for Clear Channel Radio (now iHeart Media). While there, she organized community events and produced/co-hosted the talk show On Point. She even served as a contributing writer for the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Jae is a graduate of The University of Memphis and holds a BA in Communications and an MA in English. Jae has been recognized with numerous awards for her various efforts and has been featured in U.S. Today, The Undefeated, The Commercial Appeal, The Memphis Business Journal, The New Tri-State Defender and various other publications. She enjoys helping others and volunteers her time with the April 4th Foundation, Girlz Life, Room In The Inn and The Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis.
Father’s Day was a couple of days ago and I did something I hadn’t done in years. I spent it with my father. I stopped trying to spend Father’s Day with him after making plans to do so and being jilted a couple of times. I’ll spare you the details but needless to say I no longer put forth the effort to do it anymore. I still called but gifts, cards, and visits were out of the question. I wasn’t going to put myself in a position to have my feelings hurt again.
During my routine call he asked me, “What are you doing today?”
My reply, “I haven’t decided yet.”
Him: “You wanna go get something to eat.”
Me: “What time?”
Him: “I don’t care, anytime.”
I could have easily denied his request as payback but I know what it’s like not to be with your family on a day that is designed for families. Besides, what would I have gained? Not a darn thing. My father is in his 70’s now. He and my mother were never married. I don’t know what it’s like to have a two-parent home. That is the reason why in my younger years, I vehemently refused to have children without a husband. I didn’t want to do it alone. I wanted to give my kids what I didn’t have. Although, I do have some fond memories of my father and I. He wasn’t all bad. He wasn’t there consistently but he did more than other fathers I know. It just took him a while to realize that the value of spending his time with me was greater than the money and things he gave me. I can’t get back the past. I chose to embrace the present.
As I walked around my house yesterday morning, for some reason I was reminded of NBA championship player Steph Curry’s press conference with his three-year-old daughter, Riley. The media was abuzz with how cute she was while others admonished her for not staying off the stage when her father sent her to the sidelines so he could finish his interview or being quiet when he told her to. Some even debated about the appropriateness of Steph even bringing her to the press conference. Yet, for me the most memorable part of the whole thing was in the beginning when they sat down and she couldn’t get her bracelet on and she made a simple request of her father, “Da Da help me.” Steph didn’t hesitate. He didn’t tell her to wait. He didn’t say Daddy’s busy right now. He continued to do his interview while he put on her bracelet. Yes, it was a simple thing but it spoke volumes. He was already a winner in my book after that. I didn’t care if the Golden State Warriors didn’t win the NBA Finals. Thankfully, they did.
As I got ready for church, I also reflected on how many girls don’t have that luxury. We can’t ask our fathers to help us because they are not around or are not in the home. They missed out on all those small but meaningful moments but most of all we, their daughters, missed out. As women, we often don’t realize the damage not having a positive male figure in our lives can have until we start dating. We begin looking for that male attention we were deprived of and all too often find it at the hands of the wrong kind of man. Our yearning for something as simple as a hug has led to unwanted pregnancies. Our wanting someone with bass in his voice to hold our hand and tell us we are beautiful has led to decisions to stay in abusive relationships. Girls need their fathers in a different way than boys. Studies have shown that girls who have a father figure in the home learn early on how to deal with the opposite sex and what is and isn’t appropriate and loving behavior. We are often better when we have them in our lives. We need our fathers to be standing right there when we say, “Da Da, help me.”
What do you think?
“Girls who have little contact with their fathers, especially during adolescence had great difficulties forming lasting relationships with men. Sadly these females either shy away from males altogether or become sexually aggressive. Girls with involved fathers learn how to interact with males by using the father-daughter relationship as a model. They not only have a concerned male to converse with but also a feeling of acceptance, knowing they are loved by at least one male. Females without father figures often become desperate for male attention.” (Grimm-Wassil, 1994)