A “good man” never beat his wife. He didn’t bring his dirt from the streets to his own front door. A good man didn’t talk about God or salvation with his children. He worked his salvation as an example.  A good man didn‘t get high around his children nor allow them to see him too drunk. A good man didn’t ask you what you wanted out of life; he told you what you were going to do. A good man didn’t tell you he loved you, yet he told you never to lie to him. A good man tried his best to be what his family needed to survive in the slums. A good man? Many would question this definition of what a good man is, but look further with new eyes. A good man stayed and fought for his family’s welfare while many other fathers left theirs to their own devices.

A good man is a weird phrase to use with this new understanding of manhood. A great man is what you have been to me and my siblings. We didn’t know what a “good man” was because we were blessed to have the best in our home. It’s not that you didn’t say you loved us; it’s that we couldn’t hear your words over the noises of the ghetto: the gunfire, sirens, the crying mothers, and hungry children. You were busy showing us that love is an action, a consistent sacrifice. You didn’t ask us what we wanted out of life, because you were too concerned with keeping us alive to live that life. And you didn’t speak to us about God and salvation because you were too busy praying for the strength to serve God and your family, like a good man.

A strong, silent, and proud man that served God, family and his country. If you, Willie J. Banks, aren’t a great man, I don’t know who is.

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