Ronald (Ron) Sanders is a proud Boston native with a strong passion for humanity. He has dedicated his life to advocacy for children, families and the less fortunate. Ron has served as a human rights officer in his professional career—fighting for the rights of underprivileged and underserved.
He gives voice to the voiceless and empowers the weak, helping to make a difference in the lives of many. In his newest and most challenging role as a father, he offers some golden nuggets of advice for new fathers embarking on the journey with him. My brother asked me this question: “What does fatherhood mean to you?” It is funny; I just became a father last year. I’m older than most first-time parents. Me and my wife’s journey to parenthood—although more common for couples these days—was by no means traditional. In fact, I was convinced that God’s plan for me was to be “fatherly” and nurturing to other people’s children but not to have a child myself. Countless times I would break down and tell myself: “I have been blessed to be able to advocate, protect and love many people.” I would say, “It is not in the stars for me to have my own.”
Fast forward to last year—after having two procedures done, lots of tests, tremendous expertise of the doctors and our midwife, love and guidance from family and friends, my wife gave birth to a beautiful, healthy boy. Back to the original question: “What does fatherhood mean to you?” In prayer and reflection, my heavenly Father has been clear. I have been filling a space that some men (including my own father) for whatever reason, have created. And though I have my own child now, in all the work I have done with people—young and old, American, African-American, Spanish, Russian, etc., mentally-ill, disabled, able-bodied, I have been in a fatherly space for more than 20 years:
- Being there when people were sick.
- Protecting them from those who might want to hurt or mistreat them.
- Teaching them and wanting them to have better lives.
- Sharing in their triumphs and in their let-downs.
- Listening to them.
- Being there!
That’s what fatherhood means to me!