Though deadbeat dads and high-school dropouts might pervade some communities, there are still far more models than mess-ups across our country, and some stand head and shoulders above the rest. Let me tell you about a few stellar examples.
I understand that the fact that 1 in 4 U.S. students do not receive a regular high-school diploma is not good enough, with that number increasing to 1 in 2 students in New York City and other places and among Native Americans.
And I understand that, as First Things First reported, in Richmond, Va., 60 percent of families are single-parent households, with the number increasing to 86 percent for African-American families.
Despite the negative news about grads and dads, there are still many all-star examples in every community -- some of whom face the most adverse conditions and rise up to meet a new day.
According to The Oregonian, before Aisha Mwinja died from lung cancer at the age of 46 in March, she begged her six children, ages 9 to 19, to stay in school and go to college.
This was not the first time the six children faced tragedy. Before coming to the U.S., they witnessed the evils of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, their homeland, including the murder of their father in their own home.
After their mother's death, the children avoided separation in the U.S. foster care system, because their 23-year-old stepbrother Shiabani Omari moved in with them and became their legal guardian. In addition, the communities of northern Oregon rallied big-time in support of these six children, while the eldest brother Hussein, 19, and sister Amida, 18, assumed the primary care giving roles for their younger siblings as they finished their last year of school.
This past week, Hussein and Amida graduated from high school -- the latter with honors. Both will work over the summer to help support their family before leaving in the fall to college. Hussein will attend either Concordia University or the University of Oregon, and Amida will go to Portland State University on scholarships.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, on June 8, Mike Patterson, a 43-year-old father and upstanding citizen of Rockmart, Ga., was spending some father-son time with his 9-year-old at a nearby stream when he witnessed a little 4-year-old girl being pulled underwater by the strong current.
Without hesitation, Mike dived into the water to save her. Unfortunately, the water was shallower than it looked, and Mike broke his neck in three places and severed his spine. He was paralyzed instantly from the neck down and has been hospitalized ever since.