Rewriting The Script: A Father’s Pursuit of Success in Parenthood and Education

Rewriting The Script: A Father’s Pursuit of Success in Parenthood and Education
(Blace Carpenter/The Collegiate)

By Antonio Ewing Jr

In the bustling whirlwind of life, where the relentless demands of college, the challenges of a full-time job and the impending arrival of my child often seem like an insurmountable mountain. In this chapter of my life, I find myself on a remarkable journey of self-discovery, that’s both thrilling and demanding. 

As I prepare to welcome my first child on Dec. 24, 2023, I’m navigating uncharted waters with unwavering determination, revealing a story of resilience, purpose and the impregnable commitment to rewrite my life’s narrative.

For me, the realization of impending fatherhood served as a profound catalyst for change. It ignited the flames of ambition and a relentless pursuit of a better future. Having dabbled with higher education three times in the past, this journey back to the hallowed halls of learning was not just about earning a degree but proving to myself that I could persevere through the challenges of academia. My chosen path, majoring in multimedia journalism, embodies my passion for storytelling. With an eye on the future and a growing family to support, this decision also reflects a strategic move to maximize my earning potential, setting the stage for a brighter future. My drive to succeed is not just for personal gain but for the betterment of my soon-to-arrive son.

With a 40-hour workweek at a cell phone store plus the days that are not dedicated to school and a full-time course load of 13 credit hours, my life is a tightly orchestrated symphony. Balancing the demands of education and work often leads to moments of overwhelming anxiety. Yet, it’s the intense commitment to provide the best possible future for my family that keeps me pushing forward. 

I often reflect back to how my own childhood played out, and I draw strength from the lessons I learned from a remarkable woman – my mother. A single parent who worked two jobs while she pursued her own education, she donned a cape of a super mom, my very own wonder woman. Even as a latchkey kid, her staunch commitment to me meant that she never missed a game, concert or a parent teacher conference all while she carried two worlds on her shoulders. She is my guiding light, teaching me the true meaning of resilience and genuine humanity. Growing up without my father’s presence, I felt the void keenly, especially at school events where his absence spoke much louder than words. The ache and longing for a “Father and Son day” echoes from my past to this day, a poignant reminder that some promises are destined to be broken. My father’s upbringing in Detroit, as the protector of his younger brothers, offered him no blueprint for fatherhood since it seemed that their dad lacked that same blueprint. It was a generational cycle I’ve found my breaking as I venture into parenthood myself. 

My father’s struggle with absent fatherhood weighed heavily on my young heart. Resentment lingered for years until I looked beyond my own hurt to understand his journey to fatherhood. Raised in 1970s Detroit, he grappled with a parenting style we would deem neglectful today. How could I blame him for the sins of his father when he lacked a model to guide him? This realization prompted a shift in perspective. I chose not to perpetuate the cycle but instead to learn from it. As I prepare to become a father, I internalize the lessons of unconditional love, protection, and the need to be present, even when it seems unnecessary. Fatherhood, I believe, is akin to directing a movie – a script you write, characters you mold, a story you live. You may not be seen in the forefront, but your influence permeates every frame.

This imminent journey to fatherhood has shifted me into a higher mental gear, unleashing an unprecedented level of motivation to be a great father and a successful man. In the face of adversity, my journey is a testament to the remarkable strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of a father’s love and determination. But to fully understand the depth of my journey, we need to rewind and look at the events that led me to this pivotal moment in my life.

My story is one of multiple attempts and a relentless drive to overcome obstacles. As a young adult, I embarked on the journey of higher education multiple times, only to find myself discouraged and ultimately giving up. Life’s responsibilities, the fear of failure, and the lack of a clear purpose all played their parts in my decision to postpone my educational aspirations. Albeit, life has a way of delivering unexpected curveballs. In my case, that curveball was the news that I was going to be a father. It was a turning point, a moment that forced me to reevaluate my priorities and rekindle my academic ambitions. I realized that to provide the best possible future for my growing family, I needed to maximize my earning potential. And what better way to do that than by obtaining a degree? So, with newfound determination, I made the choice to return to the world of higher learning, to face my past failures head-on, and to prove to myself that I could succeed. It was a decision not taken lightly, as it meant balancing the responsibilities of being a father-to-be, a full-time employee, and a dedicated college student.

Life as a college student, full-time employee, and expectant father is not for the faint of heart. It’s a delicate juggling act where time management, discipline, and a constant drive to excel are the keys to success. On the days when I’m not attending classes, I put in forty hours at my job, providing for my family’s present needs. Then, I shift gears to become a student, tackling a demanding course load of 13 credit hours. Every minute of my day is accounted for, and every task meticulously planned. The anxiety of providing for my family’s future often looms in the back of my mind. It’s a weight I carry daily, a reminder of the responsibilities I’ve willingly embraced. But it’s this very anxiety that fuels my determination to succeed.

My goal in parenthood is to be everything that I needed and wanted within a father figure. I want my son to know that everything is possible as long as he works at it and believes in himself and the process that may take him to success. These words have become my mantra, my guiding principle. They remind me that the sacrifices I make today are investments in a future where my son will have every opportunity to achieve his dreams.

As the due date inches closer, a profound mental shift has occurred. I find myself becoming more analytical than ever before. I constantly ponder ways to be a better person, and to ensure a brighter future for my family. Looming fatherhood has ignited a fire within me. It’s a fire fueled by a desire to be the best father I can be. This transformation is a mental and emotional shift that’s taken me by surprise. My thoughts are more deliberate, my actions more purposeful, and I’ve found myself worrying about the state of the world more than I ever have before. Parenthood has brought clarity to my life and a newfound sense of responsibility. There’s also another mental hurdle I must navigate daily. Suffering from ADHD, focusing on the demands of both school and work can be challenging. It requires a level of motivation and discipline that sometimes feels elusive. There are moments when I feel overwhelmed, even borderline depressed. But, in those moments, I look to the future. The thought of my son’s future, filled with smiles and everything he could ever want, is my driving force. It’s the motivation that helps me overcome the challenges and keep moving forward. It’s the fuel that powers me through sleepless nights, exams, and work deadlines. 

As I stand on the cusp of parenthood and the completion of my education, I am humbled by the journey I’ve undertaken. It has revealed the depths of my determination, the power of love, and the extraordinary capacity for personal growth in the face of overwhelming responsibilities.The path ahead remains uncertain, but I approach it with unwavering resolve. As I approach my directorial debut in less than five weeks. I find solace in the fact that I’ve spent years preparing for this moment. While it’s not impossible to be a great man without a father, my journey exemplifies the challenges of navigating life without a paternal guide. Yet, my father’s and grandfather’s sins won’t be bestowed upon my son. Instead, I’ve chosen to face those sins head-on, breaking them down and learning from them. My son won’t inherit the burden of generational mistakes but will witness a father who defied the odds to create a different narrative. This premiere isn’t just my story—it’s a legacy rewritten, a testament to the strength of a father’s determination, and the steadfast commitment to break free from the sins of the past.

As I prepare to step into the role of a lifetime, I know the journey ahead won’t be easy, but it will be uniquely mine. The director, the writer, the leading man—all rolled into one, ready to shape a story of love, resilience, and the triumph of breaking the chains that bound generations before. My son’s premiere is my magnum opus, and I’m ready to watch it unfold, frame by frame, scene by scene, with the hope that it becomes a masterpiece of a lifetime.