High school junior meets father for the first time

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Jessica Kanipe

Junior Dejanique McPherson is glad she decided to meet her father. Although they don't stay in touch, she is still a hardworking and charismatic teen working hard on her education.

Jessica Kanipe, Guest Writer

As she walked through the doors of the church, she saw crowds of family dressed in formal clothing as the sound of cars driving past and doors opening and closing drowned out the chit chat among the crowd.

Junior Dejanique McPherson had grown up without the warm arms of her father, until three years ago, at the age of 14 when she was peacefully attending her uncle’s funeral and ended up running into her father.

“I had to meet him in a more tragic way,” said McPherson. It was also the first time she had seen a dead body, which was quite scary, and meeting her father in the same setting was difficult.

Despite the funeral, McPherson walked into the church with her head high. Everyone around her felt sad, which made it more difficult for McPherson to meet her father.

McPherson had no idea what to expect or how to feel.

“Mixed emotions of sadness, but also trying to feel happy while getting the opportunity to meet the person I’ve never met,” said McPherson about their first meeting.

McPherson had not heard much about her dad while growing up and she was left wondering, imagining, and creating what he might be like in her head.

“How his personality and look changed and what I thought he would be like changed,” said McPherson. “I thought he’d be more of a bad guy but he was more peace and calm.”

McPherson didn’t say much when she approached her father, and it was a shy and nervous experience. She didn’t really want to interact with him and was very quiet.

“He was still new to me, he was still a stranger to me,” said McPherson. She never really knew why they hadn’t met before. “It was more of his own decision. I didn’t really know why he left or why he never returned, and I didn’t have the knowledge or memory to know why he left.”

McPherson is not the only one who has experienced never knowing her father.

“More than 19 million children, over 1 in 4,  grow up without a father figure in their home,” states the article  “Father Absence + Involvement – Statistics” written by the National Fatherhood Initiative, “children who grow up without a father figure are four times more likely to be in poverty, more likely to have behavioral problems, two times more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, and are seven times more likely to face teen pregnancy.”

Despite these statistics, McPherson says she’s perfectly fine and faces none of these issues.

Although it was difficult to meet her father, McPherson is glad she did. She doesn’t stay in touch with her father, but she is glad she got the opportunity to see him and know who he is. She hopes others can learn from her experience and understand that it’s okay to be scared.

“Even a father that leaves out of your life, doesn’t change the fact that they love you,” McPherson continued. “You never know if they will want to continue to be in your life later on or be a part of your family.”