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A Father’s Voice

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009.

“What were you thinking when I was born? How did you feel?” Nathan asked his father, Colbert, at the MobileBooth in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“As a 16 year old, being a teenage father, and not having any real concept of what a father looked like, or not knowing what he sounded like, I guess I was really nervous and scared,” Colbert answered.

Colbert now raises Nathan as a single father. As a kid, Colbert remembers that he and his friends had a common bond-most were growing up with single mothers, without fathers in the picture.

Colbert & Nathan

“I am so proud of you because you have allowed me to be a father. I am proud of you for allowing my voice to still have meaning in a time and place when our fathers’ voices are becoming echoes. You could have used ‘growing up without a mom’ as a crutch and you have not allowed that to happen. I am also proud of you for allowing me to bring other kids that have been in really rough situations into our home,” Colbert told Nathan.

Colbert has made himself a father-figure to more boys than just Nathan. After working in an emergency shelter for years, Colbert decided he could provide a loving supportive home for others, and welcomed some of the adolescent boys he worked with into his home.

At age 29, Colbert finally searched for and found his own father. Colbert told Nathan, “I wanted you to have a grandfather and at the same time I found myself longing for a father. I had to heal the boy inside of me and at the same time teach the boy in you. “Last Thanksgiving, Colbert and Nathan met their new-found family for the first time. Nathan said, “We went from a small family to a huge one.”

4 Responses to “A Father’s Voice”

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  • I am so proud of both of you. and excited that you have found your nitch in this old cruel world. May our Lord continue to guide your every step. God Bless and Love to you both

    Linda Johnson

    Comment from Linda Johnson on November 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I’ve known Cole since he was one of my students in fifth grade here in Benton Harbor. It didn’t take me long to realize that this youngster was truly someone special. Now nearly 15 years later he has tackled the enormous responsibility of raising a child plus choosing to help other youngsters who are searching for that father figure. Am I surprised at what Cole is doing? Absolutely not. He has an inner spirit and love that he is so willing to share with others. He struggles to make ends meet in todays stormy economy but he has never said he wanted to do anything other than what he is doing today. Over the years I have come to love Cole and Nathan as though they were my own children and I know that God is holding both of them in his hands.

    Comment from Ralph Catania on November 25, 2009 at 7:12 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I am struck by the wisdom and poetry of Colbert’s words. Thanks to them for sharing and to you for passing it along!

    Comment from Anna on October 22, 2009 at 6:39 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Thank you for bringing Colbert’s and Nathan’s wonderful and thoughtful conversation the blog. There are fathers and sons who have experienced fewer challenges in their relationship who are less candid and supportive of one another. It is so great to see their pride in one another and their support of one another.

    Comment from Jeremy on October 20, 2009 at 6:50 am - Reply to this Comment

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