As my colleague Adela reminds us, fathers and fatherhood are complicated. Nothing is quite like the love of a good dad. Nothing can fully fill the void of an absent dad. And dad’s, as Zane Nicole Walters reminded me after an Immersion Experience together in Kenya (photo below), aren’t solely made of flesh and blood. No being a father is about so much more. First and foremost, it’s about love!
I am blessed to have a remarkable dad and lots of great grand-dads and mentors as well. Over the pst few years, I have also had the humble privilege of mourning the loss of loving fathers with too many of my colleagues and friends. With my travel schedule and work requirements, I struggle at times to be the best dad I can be, but my three kids remain the greatest joy of my life! For other children, a father’s absenteeism began at, or soon after, birth. Migration, armed conflict, divorce, and addiction force many fathers and children apart. Sometimes that may prove for the best, but such separation can harm a child in incalculable ways.
Thankfully, the IPM Family is full of all kinds of extraordinary dads. My colleagues Carlos, Doug, Himmat, Jared, Johnny, Mahesh, Martin, and Tim are just a few examples. Project Coordinators like Carlos, Hillary, and Rodrigo may not be biological fathers, but they’ve impacted more lives than just about anyone I know. And how many moms—padres de familia as they are somewhat ironically labeled in El Salvador—among IPM Project Partners have stepped up to be the “fathers” their communities need? If I started counting, I’d be here all day!
This is Father’s Day weekend in the USA. A chosen day different than in the majority of the world but an important one none less. In this time of economic crisis and social tumult, please consider making a gift in honor of all the fathers who made you who you are, so that the work of all the IPM fathers around the world can continue to model responsibility, nurture community, and embody the love our world so desperately needs.
Joseph F. Cistone
IPM Chief Executive Officer
Friday, June 19, 2020