MARK INGRAM LEARNS FROM FATHER’S MISTAKES
“My father has been a great influence on my life, and I love him to death.” Those are the words from Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram, of the University of Alabama at a news conference after his win. He reminded fathers of the importance of their influence in a child’s life, despite mistakes. He also reminded sons and daughters of the importance of forgiving parents.
His father, Mark Ingram, Sr, a former Super Bowl star himself for the New York Giants, was incarcerated on bank fraud and money-laundering charges. He watched his son’s big win on a prison television a few miles away.
Mark, Jr. made it known that he still has a great relationship with his father. In his acceptance speech he said, “The fact I could do this for my family was real special for me, and for my teammates and my coaches and everyone involved in my life.” He added. “It’s really important to me that I can do it for them.” There was no question for those who know Mark Jr., he was thinking of his father.
“I talk to my dad about two or three times a week,” says Mark. Jr. “He’s real proud of me. He’s excited and he’s doing fine.
“I’m sure it’s frustrating for him that he can’t be here, but it is what it is. You have to keep living and you have to learn from your mistakes. He’s a better man for what he’s been through, and I’m a better man because I’ve learned from stuff he’s been through. I know he’s here in spirit and I love him and he loves me, too, and that’s all that matters.
According to Project Fatherhood (children’s Institute) father absence is a fact of life for about a third of American children (about 25 million of the 75 million kids in the United states).
Many fathers who are separated from their children because they leave home over financial challenges, incarceration, divorce, or those who become homeless, feel their children will not forgive them, so they refuse contact. However, Mark Jr., who learned from his father’s mistakes still heeds his advice. On the night of his acceptance, he spoke to his father, “He told me to enjoy it, have fun, and live for the moment.”
As fathers we have to remember how important it is to express our love for our children, whether it is verbal, or non-verbal. We need to communicate as much as humanely possible and put the past pain, resentment and anger behind us.
Walter Jackson is a motivational speaker and the author of “Sporting the Right Attitude: Lessons Learned in a Troubled Family,” a finalist in the National USA BOOK NEWS “Best Book Awards” in two categories sports autobiographies and youth issues. Visit: www.SportingtheRightAttitude.net