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  • A Father’s Promise: Jonathan Ramirez’s Commitment to Breaking the Chains of his Past

A Father’s Promise: Jonathan Ramirez’s Commitment to Breaking the Chains of his Past

In this episode of the Dads With Daughters podcast we welcome Jonathan Ramirez, a new father, project intern at Icstars in Chicago, and artist. We discussed Jonathan’s journey of fatherhood, starting with the emotions and fears that come with being a new dad. Jonathan reflected on the overwhelming love he felt when he first learned he was going to be a father to a daughter. He also shared his concerns about raising his daughter in a world where women can be disrespected and undervalued. His fears included navigating the challenges his daughter might face due to gender bias and helping her through heartbreak.

The conversation shifted to Jonathan’s vision of introducing his daughter to his culture, family, and values. He emphasized the importance of family and respect and shared his determination to instill these values in his daughter. He recounted his own childhood experiences and how his mother’s reliance on family helped them through difficult times. Jonathan also acknowledged the value of respecting and empowering women and wants to teach his daughter that societal norms and gender biases do not define her worth.

Jonathan shared some of the unique experiences he had working at a restaurant. Jonathan mentioned how he initiated conversations with patrons who had children, seeking advice on fatherhood. He learned valuable insights, such as the importance of bouncing a crying baby, finding a babysitter, and the significance of balancing work and family life. 

Jonathan also shared his challenges in balancing his roles as a new father, intern, and restaurant worker. He talked about the struggle of leaving the house to go to work and the strong desire to spend more time with his daughter. Despite the challenges, he developed a routine of bonding with his baby girl after returning home.

Jonathan opened up about his past and the anger he once harbored towards his own father. He reflected on his journey to forgiveness and acceptance, realizing that his father was just a human dealing with difficult circumstances. This personal growth has allowed him to become a more positive and loving father to his own daughter.

The conversation concluded with the challenging topic of how Jonathan plans to discuss his nine-year prison experience with his daughter in the future. He shared concerns about how to broach the subject and whether to reveal this part of his past.

This episode offers you a candid and heartfelt conversation about fatherhood, family, and the challenges and triumphs of raising a daughter in today’s world. Jonathan’s journey and personal growth provide valuable insights into the complexities and responsibilities of being a father.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Dads With Daughters podcast, we invite you to check out the Fatherhood Insider. The Fatherhood Insider is the essential resource for any dad that wants to be the best dad that he can be. We know that no child comes with an instruction manual, and most are figuring it out as they go along. The Fatherhood Insider is full of valuable resources and information that will up your game on fatherhood. Through our extensive course library, interactive forum, step-by-step roadmaps, and more you will engage and learn with experts but more importantly with dads like you. So check it out today!

TRANSCRIPT

Christopher Lewis [00:00:06]:

Welcome to Dads With Daughters. In this show, we spotlight dads, resources, and more to help you be the best dad you can be.

Christopher Lewis [00:00:16]:

Everyone, this is Chris. Welcome back to the Dads with Daughters podcast where we bring you guests to be active participants in your daughters’ lives, raising them to be Strong independent women. Really excited to have you back again this week. Every week, you and I are on a journey together. We have this opportunity every week to be able to talk, to learn, to grow, And to help each other to be better fathers. And I love going on this journey with you because no matter if you have kids that are brand new Or if they’re in their teenage years or if they’re adults, you’re always gonna be a father, and there’s always gonna be something that you can learn. Always gonna be something that you can do to be able to stay engaged, stay present, and do all kinds of things to be able to stay in the lives of your kids, And that’s what’s the most important. I love bringing you different guests, different dads, different people that are walking different paths, But they have things that they can share with you to help you in this journey that you’re on.

Christopher Lewis [00:01:12]:

This week, we’ve got another great guest with us. Jonathan Ramirez is with us, and Jonathan is a father to a brand new daughter that was born in August of this year. So Brand new dad. He’s also a project intern at Icystars in Chicago. He’s a freelance Photographer. He’s done been doing that a little bit. He’s done a lot of different things. We’re gonna talk about some experience that he’s had working at a restaurant and learning from other dads.

Christopher Lewis [00:01:42]:

So we’re gonna have a great conversation today. Really looking forward to be able to have him here and to share his experience With you, Jonathan Singh. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:01:51]:

Thank you so much, Chris, for that introduction, and I’m honored to be here. I really, really am. I enjoy Podcast I’ve watched already. A couple when I heard about it, and I got some great advice through here. Thank you for having me.

Christopher Lewis [00:02:04]:

Now usually, when I have dads on, they’re not always As young of fathers in regards to the fact of having their child just recently but one of the first questions that I love to ask to turn the clock back in time. Now you don’t have to turn it back as far probably as some of the some of the dads that I talked to. But let’s turn the clock back To that first moment that you found out that you’re going to be a dad to a daughter, what was going through your head? Yeah.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:02:29]:

It’s not that far ago. I think I felt the same way When I heard of the heartbeat, like, as soon as they told us the gender, my heart melted. And I was like, I’m stuck. It’s over with. I already love Her mom so much, and I do everything, anything I can. I just know that same love was gonna be the same for my daughter. Like, it’s gonna be a little mini hurt, And I’m like, I I’m not gonna have time for myself anymore because I I run around now like crazy for Savannah, and now I’m gonna be doing it for Bella Rose for sure.

Christopher Lewis [00:03:01]:

Now I guess for you so far, as you think about being a father to a daughter, There, I talked to a lot of dads and a lot of dads say that there’s some fear that goes along not only with being a new parent, but being a father to a daughter as well. What’s your biggest fear In raising a daughter.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:03:16]:

That’s a good question. I’ve been thinking about that every single day since. There’s several fears. Number 1, I’ve seen so many people just Disrespect women just because they’re women. No. Like, just the fact that they’re a woman, they all they’ll tuck over them or they’ll belittle, and In the conversation, I see Savannah when I see my daughter, to be honest. And she is someone that’s been spoken over over and over and over. And and her voice Might be small, but she has a lot of value in what she does say because she’s incredibly intelligent.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:03:49]:

She’s in College right now, I have to be a psychiatrist, but I see how she’s been treated. I’ve seen how she’s been treated by her teachers, her professors, just because she’s a female. I’ve seen how she’s been treated by her exes and my own sister as well growing up with her. She’s only, like, 2 years younger than me. I mean, I’ve seen how tough It is for women and the differences for men. And my fear is I don’t know how I would explain how to teach her that, how to teach her that, look, What how they see you, how they treat you is not because of the view. It’s a social norm that’s evolved over time, and I wanna be able to Show her how to overcome that. But not being a female myself, I don’t know exactly how she would do that.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:04:33]:

Like, mine would be theory, not Experience. So I guess that is one of my fears. Another fear is just her coming to me and telling me how heartbroken she is for the 1st time. And I know she’s It’s only 2 months, but, yeah, I think about it. It’s like, man, am I gonna have to go and, like, like, go talk to someone’s parents and be like, hey. You check your kid or Something I don’t know how far

Jonathan Ramirez [00:04:56]:

I’m gonna go. I’m gonna be

Jonathan Ramirez [00:04:57]:

the crazy dad. You know? So I just don’t wanna see her with her tears looking at me, looking for A solution, and I don’t have one. And I’m afraid that I that when she comes to me for that help, that I’m clueless. I don’t wanna be the clueless father. I wanna be like, okay. Let’s Let’s figure this out together, you know, and let’s go find you whatever you need. I think those are probably the fears that I’ve actually been thinking about. I’m sure there’s probably others that I haven’t thought about because I’m, you know, a new dad.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:05:27]:

But for now, these are the things that flag my mind, I guess, every now and then when I think of the future.

Christopher Lewis [00:05:33]:

One of the things that I would love for you to talk about too is you have a child now, and every person as they enter into fatherhood have To define for yourself what it means to be a father, but then also what it means to be a part of A family, a culture, and being able to inculcate that into your own children and Allow for your children to be able to understand what it means to be a part of the larger family Whether your larger culture. For you, how do you hope to introduce your daughter as she grows older to Your culture, your family, and be able to instill the values that are important to you.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:06:20]:

So that is one of the main things that I, hold very highly is family, is respect, And, also, I think I was just going to be involved like I usually am because our family is pretty big. And so there’s certain parts of our family that have disappeared and fallen off. That’s because they just don’t feel like they wanna come out to the parties or Not just parties, but get togethers, celebrations, and what have you when the whole family gets together. I did that growing up. Every single Christmas, we went on as as a whole family, like cousins, aunts, uncles. And not only that, When my mom was going through hard times and we couldn’t find the rent or we got kicked out of the house or she couldn’t get to work because she just got in a car accident. I got in, like, 7 car accidents. Sorry if you’re listening to this.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:07:12]:

But the thing that instilled in us was she was always able to rely on that family. She was always able to call her sister, my aunt or her brother, my uncle, and I seen it with my own eyes how powerful that was. When we didn’t have the rent to afford an apartment, I mean, we went to my aunt’s house and lived there for a couple months. And that growing up was huge to me. Like, man, this is the power of community. This is the power of family. And I hope I’m not Able to not pay the rent and having to show her that way. But I do wish to show her that family is important by being involved In families that and maybe even helping other family members.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:07:55]:

Maybe that’s the way I can show her. I’m glad you said that because now I have that solution in my head for whenever that does come about. But, another thing is the respect. That is something that a lot of people don’t I feel. I don’t know. I don’t wanna generalize, but I feel like respect has not been a priority A lot of people in recent times around me, around people I talk to. And and that’s I wish I could teach her that, but not in a way that I was taught. I guess I would have to ask other fathers because I I don’t have the answer how I would do it because I haven’t done that experience yet.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:08:28]:

But the experience that I had, I did not feel like that was the right way to learn respect. And

Christopher Lewis [00:08:36]:

Do you have any ideas? I know you said you wanna talk to other dads, But you said that there are things that you do not want to pass on. What are some of those things that you don’t want to pass on that are, or you’re trying to break the cycle In a way

Jonathan Ramirez [00:08:49]:

so I’m gonna give you a little bit of backstory before I answer that question. My mom’s a single mom, and I was 4 years old. My brother was 3 years old, And my sister’s 1 year old, and my mom is a single mom. And she had to work 2 jobs to afford everything. That was the position I was in when My mom needed help at home. And who is she gonna ask? She’s gonna ask her oldest son, and that’s me. So I was the one who had to get my brothers and sisters up or sometimes they have to get me up. But most of the time, I was cooking for them, and I was always rushing because my mom was always rushing me, and that’s something that stuck with me.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:09:25]:

I feel like I gained a lot of good things out of that through those experiences. Like, I love being on time. I do not like being late, and it bugs me to the core. I mean, like, team management. I call it team management, but, really, it was just me telling my brothers, god. Let’s go. We’re going. We’re late for school.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:09:42]:

You know, I’m only a year older

Jonathan Ramirez [00:09:43]:

than them, And I’m yelling at her, get ready. What are you guys doing? You’re gonna get me in trouble with moms. And it has affected me because, like, Savannah is the total opposite. She It’s late everywhere she goes, and it bugs me and bugs me to a point where it’s not a good thing. It’s like, come on, babe. I swear we said we’re gonna be there 5 minutes go, and I do not wish to pass that along to my daughter. I don’t want that that stress to consume her because she feels that she needs to be on. Savannah is so carefree, and I envy her for that.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:10:17]:

And I hope our daughter can find a in between, like being on time and respectful, but not stressing overly too much like I do. And the only way I can see that actually Me not actually passing the answer is working on myself. I’m a role model, and I don’t wanna be the role model that says and not does.

Christopher Lewis [00:10:37]:

Appreciate you sharing that. And it’s definitely you know, each father, each person that has a child brings their own History, their own baggage, the things that they have to work through, and it’s not always easy. And Some people have more than others that you have to be able to work on internally. You have to work with other people on. And as you think about that for yourself, it sounds like you do have some that you’re working on and that you’re going to continue working on to make sure that That you break that cycle, and and that’s a good thing. So I just commend you for doing the work. It’s not gonna be easy, But it is a day by day thing that you’ll have to work on as you are trying to be that best dad that you wanna be.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:11:23]:

Thank you so much.

Christopher Lewis [00:11:24]:

Now I know that You are doing a lot of different things. You are, you know, you’re an intern at IC Stars. You are I mentioned you’re a photographer, but you also worked a restaurant, I mean, you’re you got a lot of plates in the air. You’re a dad. You’re supporting your your significant other. So talk to me about balance, and how do you balance all of that And still be able to stay engaged with your young daughter.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:11:48]:

Actually, I have put up the photography hat because I actually do paint and sips. I have my own business, and I am currently trying to only do libraries For free. I wanna turn into a not for profit because libraries were my own my escape as a childhood, and I wanna give back to them. And the way I balance it is so I still work at the restaurant. I work every weekend. So I gotta break down my schedule to Monday through Friday From 8 to 8, I’m a IC stars intern, and I get there an hour early and sometimes more Because I take the bus at 5:30 in the morning. And when I get home, I don’t get home till around 9, 9:30 at night. And that’s the time as soon as I walk in, I say hi to Savannah, give her a hug, and I let her know that I miss her.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:12:42]:

Throughout the day, I text her that I love her, and we keep Keep each other updated, but the first thing that I do right after is I hold my baby. And I spend time, 30 minutes to an hour depending on how long I get stuck staring at her because I just love staring at her. I mean, I could get lost just messing with her, just looking at her and Playing with her little hand. She’s so tiny, but I know I still have work to do. So I make sure I spend that time So she can see my face. I don’t want her, 4 months down the road, be like, who’s this guy? I haven’t I haven’t met this guy yet. So I make sure she sees me every night. I got really great advice I’m a doula.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:13:19]:

And then she said, when you get home, create that routine with your daughter. And I took that to heart, and I have been trying my very best Every single night I get home to hold my baby right after I give my hug and my kiss to Savannah. Then Saturday, I work a double At Cooper’s Hawk, almost every Saturday, and I don’t start till 10:30 to 11. So the mornings is my time to be with the baby, and that’s when I get to give Savannah a break from Constantly feeding and waking up to put down the baby, that’s my time to shine. I I wake up really early every day anyways. So I’ll get up early around 5, 6, 7, depending on how I feel. Because Saturday is like the day or depending on if the baby wakes up. But if the baby wakes up that morning, I make sure I’m the one who holds her.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:14:04]:

I get the baby bottle and I feed her. I let Savannah sleep in basically because she is a notorious person, she before the baby, she would sleep until, like, 3 in

Jonathan Ramirez [00:14:15]:

the afternoon, and now she can’t do it. And I

Jonathan Ramirez [00:14:17]:

feel so bad. But on those Saturdays, She gets to sleep in, then I go to work. And then when I come back, I do the same thing. I hold my baby right after being with Savannah for a bit. And those Saturday mornings, I also make breakfast because I know Savannah deserves, you know, that treat. Not a treat, but Savannah deserves Me being more involved, and she’s doing something incredible for me, and by holding down the house and the things that I can’t take care of myself for now. And then Sundays, I try to only take 1 shift at the restaurant, and I try to move it either afternoon or night depending on what we have planned. Like this Sunday, we have a double date with another couple that we had met, and that’s another great advice I got from the restaurant.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:15:01]:

They’re like, hey. Remember, you guys are a couple that you need to go on dates and stuff. So since the baby’s so young, we met a couple that has also a very young baby. I think their baby is only 7 weeks older than ours. And so we’re we’re gonna have like a play date for the babies, which they’re not really gonna play, but it’s more like for us to get together and enjoy some time Together as a group. And and my business, I don’t try to over schedule myself because I do have a lot of things on my plate. So for the pan sips, I try to do 1 every 2 to 3 months so I don’t overwhelm myself. It’s not about the money.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:15:36]:

Yeah. The money’s great, But I need to think about my family. I just I wanna be able to be there and not just support. I wanna actually be there.

Christopher Lewis [00:15:45]:

So you’ve been mentioning the restaurant, and I know that that’s one of the things that you do as you mentioned, and It takes up quite a bit of time, but as you’ve been working there, you and I were talking about that you’ve been doing some kind of really kind of unique things as your A significant other was pregnant. And before your child was born, you started talking to people and asking people questions, And you learned some things, and you mentioned a couple other things. But talk to me about some of the biggest things and the biggest takeaways that you took From those conversations that you had in the restaurant with those patrons.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:16:23]:

Of course. I mean, there, they throw baby showers, And, I’m a banquet server at times, so I’ve gotten to to see people excited, waiting for their baby, but I’ve also seen I love patrons with kids already. And so I serve about, I wanna say, 15 tables a night. And out of those 15, maybe 13 of them have kids. And every single table that I see with kids, I do ask them, like, hey. I’m about to be a father. And they’re like, oh, congratulations. I’m like, man, is there any advice that you can give me as a new parent? And a lot of it was the same, was, yeah, you gotta look tough for yourself.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:17:03]:

You have to make sure that When the baby’s crying, you don’t squeeze the stomach, you pat her on the back. Like, I got these, like, very specific things that I think they were dealing with and that they were struggling with That they told me about the one that really got to me and that really works for me, actually, like, I’ve been doing it is, Look. When you try to figure out what the baby is crying for and you change her diaper and you’ve burped her and you’ve fed her and everything’s done and she’s Still crying? Just bounce. That’s all they want. They want you to hold her and bounce, and I do. I I get up and I I just, like, kinda Bend my knees a little bit and bounce a little bit, and she just loves it. And I’m like, oh my gosh. I will that guy I thought that that advice at the moment was just, Oh, this guy’s a whack job.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:17:49]:

But no. I mean, that guy’s a genius. I mean, it worked wonders for me. And, I mean, one of the craziest things I heard Was, like, find a find a babysitter or something. Grease as much milk as you can, and that was crazy at the time. But now that I’m in the moment, I see why. I understand why we need to freeze the milk because She don’t have to keep getting up. I could help her out now.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:18:15]:

I was like, oh, don’t worry, babe. I could feed her. You know, I can’t magically produce milk. So now that she froze some, I can actually help her. I can actually be there for her, and I think those are the main things that I really, really utilized. And and I’m still asking. I I tell everybody, hey. I’m a new dad.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:18:33]:

You know, like, I try to get new advice every day I go.

Christopher Lewis [00:18:35]:

I love that you did that because that’s not something that everybody would think about doing, but it’s a great concept and it’s definitely Allows you to build a community around you that you can turn to, and and that’s important. Now we’ve we’ve talked about that so many times on the show, The importance of having a community of dads around you that you can turn to. Whether they’re they’re close friends, whether they’re just people that you know that you could turn to, Whether it’s family members, whatever it is, it’s important to have that for yourself because it it does make sure to give you things that you can then turn to. And when you’re struggling because there’s debt I there’s always gonna be a point in time when you will struggle as a dad, as a new father, as a father, as you’re going through the different stages in your child’s Life, there will be times that you will struggle, and it will get better, then it might get worse. And, you know, there’s this kind of roller coaster that you end up being on with your child, And you just have to know that that’s coming, but having people around you is definitely going to be something that is going to help you along the way. As a new dad right now, What would you say has been the hardest part for you in making this transition into being a new father?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:19:45]:

Hardest thing is leaving the house. I wanna be there. I wanna see her for steps. I Wanna see everything. I mean, I’m waiting for that moment where she laughs. Like, for the first time, I haven’t heard her laugh. I’ve seen her smile. I don’t know if it’s For gas, it’s because she’s seeing me, and it’s just that’s the hardest part.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:20:01]:

When I’m at work, I know that I’m doing it for her. Now I know that I’m working. I’m doing this for my daughter. I wanna be there. I wanna be able to hold in my arms. I wanna be able to take it to work with me. And I do with pictures. Both my screensavers have my daughter.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:20:16]:

So every time I pick up my phone and, you know, as a human species now, we pick up our phones very much. Check my laptop. My work laptop has a picture of my daughter, so it makes me miss her more, actually. But, also, it keeps her in my forefront of my mind. And I think that is especially the most hard I could do the late nights. I could do the 4 hours of sleep, because I do it for work. So I could definitely do 2 hours of sleep If it was for my daughter, I know it’d be tough, but the toughest part is actually walking away, is not being there. Because I think that was The number 1 thing that I told myself since I was a kid, that I wasn’t gonna be like my father.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:20:53]:

My father disappeared at 4, and, I mean, That was the 1 person that’s supposed to love and care for you, to walk away and not be there. That was very detrimental to me growing up. It stuck with me. And I know that I’m not leaving for selfish reasons, and I know I’m leaving to better her life. But the fact that I’m leaving, it hurts me every time. I want her to see me there. I want her when she looks up crying, she sees her dad. Like, man, this is the guy that’s gonna support me.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:21:20]:

He’s always there. He’s standing by my side. And I got plenty of time. I know I’m thinking of the words, but that’s how I feel inside. You know, I’m not I don’t think that constantly, but it’s the feeling is that I gotta walk away, and I hate it.

Christopher Lewis [00:21:33]:

I wanna unpack that a little bit because you just made a a statement that I think Not just you have dealt with, but there’s other fathers that are fathering in a way to forget some of the wrongs of their past And some of the things that their own father may have based on them in some way, but that the baggage, Again, like I mentioned earlier, that they carry. Now that you are a new father, have you been able to reconcile any of that baggage with your own father? And if not, is that something that you hope to do in the future?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:22:09]:

There is a moment in my life that I I didn’t make very great decisions, And that was because I was very angry person growing up. So I was, sexually molested when I was 15, and that’s another fear. And I didn’t mention it earlier because that’s just It’s, something that I think every father fears maybe because if it can happen to me as a man and it’s already happening so much to women, That scares me so much. And that right there caused me to hate my father so much because he wasn’t there to explain to me what happened. He wasn’t there to show me how to avoid those type of situations, and I blamed him. And I I was so angry. And then I started to blame god. And, like, why’d you give me to this person that that doesn’t care about me and then allow this to happen? And I’ve done a lot of things that out of anger that I wasn’t proud of.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:22:59]:

But during after one of these Major I I don’t wanna call it a mistake because it was a decision that I made that I had to deal with with major consequences, which was 9 years of prison. And within those 9 years of prison, Within the 5th year, I heard this video, and it said that anger is like poison. You’re drinking the poison, though. You’re not poisoning the other person. You wish the other person to to die from this poison, but you’re drinking it yourself and only killing yourself. So when that has said that I was in a mental state already where I was kinda locked up. I was moved removed away from, like, emotional stress, And I was able to unpack that in my head, and that led me to the realization that, look, my father is just a human being. There is nothing this man Could have done differently to change the circumstances around me.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:23:52]:

He could, yeah, he could have told me things. He could have taught me a bunch of things, But it doesn’t change the circumstances that I would have been in. It wouldn’t change the environment I would have been in. I’d have still made my own decisions. And he’s just a man. He couldn’t predict that. And so I reconciled with him as soon as I got out to the So the dislike of many of my family members because they haven’t you know, I haven’t dealt with that themselves. But I’m like, look, I don’t I’m tired of hating.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:24:19]:

I’m tired of Blaming others, what I gotta do is for myself and my family. And when I found out that I was gonna have this daughter, I was so, like, jubilant, happy, ecstatic because now I could do all the things that I thought a father should be. And hopefully, it’s enough, you know, because I can’t change those things that are uncontrollable. Those things are gonna happen or not. And I just hope that she knows that I’m supportive of her no matter what happens in her, and I’m there by her side always.

Christopher Lewis [00:24:48]:

Really appreciate you sharing that. It’s, definitely It moves you from pain to that acceptance and understanding that I mean, being able to reconcile, I’m sure, lifted a burden Or hopefully both of you to be able to move forward and be able to, as I said earlier, to be a better dad because You’ve been able to do that. Now you talked about the fact that you had 9 years in prison, and at some point in time, that’s gonna come up. It’s gonna come up. You’re gonna talk about it. You’re going to bring it up and have to have those conversations with your own daughter about the mistakes that you made in life That led you there. Have you thought about that and how you think that you’re going to be able to have those type of conversations?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:25:33]:

Yes. I have thought of that. And Savannah and I have spoken about these things, and it’s just I haven’t came up with an answer. I told Savannah, look. Let’s just keep it from her. I don’t want her to know. And when she finds out, we’ll we’ll get to it then. But I know that’s not a good, route to take because then it’s gonna be like, hey.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:25:50]:

Why are you hiding this for me? But I don’t know how to explain to her. I just feel like I don’t wanna make it a normal thing either. And I don’t want her They run and tell their friends, oh, yeah. My dad’s in prison and this, and like, I don’t want her spreading that. And like my dad’s cool kind of way, because it isn’t. I don’t have the answer of how I would do it, but I definitely have thought of just letting her know when she’s like 14 And like on a birthday and be like, hey. I wanna tell you a few things that I think you’re old enough to hear now, or like go with the moment. If I feel like the moment’s right, then we’re bonding to use that moment.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:26:25]:

Like, I wish I would have the right answer to them, and that’s another phase. Like, is she gonna reject me? She’d be like, what? Because my nephew he thought I was in police academy when he was visiting me in prison. My nephew was born the same year I was In prison. So he’s only met me in prison for the 1st 9 years of his life. And this whole that whole time, he thought I was in a police academy. And I believe it was when he was 7, my brother’s like, hey, I think it’s about time. We start telling Brian because he’s starting to ask questions. And, like, he started noticing, hey.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:27:04]:

Why do we have to do this when we Go visit uncle Jonathan. We gotta go through checks and stuff. And it was a hard conversation because he was in the visiting room, and I’m like, hey. Yeah. I used to be a bad guy. Because that’s what you call them, cops and robbers. And like, oh, you can catch the bad guys. And I’m like, you know what? No.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:27:22]:

I didn’t catch the bad guys. They caught me. I was a bad guy. And it’s because I made a lot of wrong decisions out of anger. Like, anger is the number one thing that I I keep playing back to that I have been really working on myself with, and I’ve gone a long way, but I know I still have a lot more to go. And hopefully, that conversation goes like it went with my nephew because he is so lovable. He told me, don’t worry, uncle. When I become a cop, I won’t arrest you.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:27:50]:

I was like, oh Oh my god. That kid is the bomb. But I mean, like, he loves me so much and he his did not change at all. He loves me. He misses me. Every time he sees me, he gives me a big old hug, and and I just hope my daughter is the same. She’s standing and or she doesn’t come up with her own narrative on how things went down, and I would be able to explain that to her in a conversation or something.

Christopher Lewis [00:28:17]:

Be points in time Where have those moments, those moments that you have connection, those moments where there are Concerns or things that have happened in your daughter’s life that you may be able to relate back to your own experience and be able to say, this is what happened to me. And you don’t wanna go down that road and have those type of conversations about what you learned along the way. And maybe it’s through stories, And maybe there’s some ways to be able to build some stories together and teach her through story As she’s getting older and share some of those stories with her in a a trickle down approach, you never know. I can’t say that I had that same but you definitely are right. I think if she finds out on her own, there may be more feelings of betrayal In the sense of not knowing you the way she thought she did. So I think you’ve got that right in that concern that you’ve Got in your own mind. And it’s not an easy thing to do, an easy thing to talk about, but maybe there are other dads out there that you can connect with that have had the same can talk about how they did it for themselves, and that may be something too down the road that you might be able to learn from other dads in that regard. But I do appreciate you sharing that.

Christopher Lewis [00:29:34]:

We always finish our interviews with what I like to call our fatherhood five, where we ask you 5 more questions to delve deeper into you as a dad. Are you ready?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:29:42]:

I’m ready.

Christopher Lewis [00:29:42]:

One word. What is fatherhood? Leadership.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:29:44]:

When is

Christopher Lewis [00:29:45]:

the time that you finally felt like you succeeded at being a father To your daughter.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:29:51]:

Well, it might sound silly, but when I first burp there, I’m like, man, I did it. I mean, like, I was so nervous about holding her patting her back. Am I doing it too much? Or am I hurting her? And she let out this big old belch. I’m like, yes. I did it.

Christopher Lewis [00:30:07]:

Think down the road, maybe 7, 10 years down the road. Was to talk to your daughter then, How would you want her to describe you as a dad?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:30:15]:

Supportive, loving, kind, and always there for her.

Christopher Lewis [00:30:19]:

Fears you to be a better dad.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:30:21]:

Just my sense of family, my own sense of family. Like, I want our family. I see so many fathers that fall short, not because They’re not doing the right things, basically, but because of that cycle. And I don’t wanna carry that baggage. That’s what it is. This baggage. We all have baggage, and I’ve seen time and time again how How fathers bring that into the mix, and that inspires me because I wanna start the new cycle. I wanna start a new cycle that shows that, look, We can do it.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:30:47]:

We can do this. We don’t have to repeat the same mistakes our fathers made. I think that inspires me a lot that there’s some just fathers out there that are doing fantastic things. Seeing them like you right now, this is inspiring. I mean, like, you are an inspiration because you’re helping fathers and you’re getting that information out. I would have never known this existed if it wasn’t for me talking about my daughter with Brian. And Brian, as a father to daughters, like, hey, Check this out. You know, it’s Chris.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:31:17]:

He’s doing great things. That’s inspiring, seeing fathers getting together and just my own personal sense of family. Like, I really love that. That makes me feel so good that there’s people out there pushing this issue forward, and it’s really awesome.

Christopher Lewis [00:31:31]:

You’ve given a lot of piece of advice today, things that you’ve learned along the way so far as a new dad, but also things that you’ve learned from other fathers. As we leave today, what’s 1 piece of advice you’d wanna give to every dad?

Jonathan Ramirez [00:31:42]:

There’s no way that you’re a bad father. There’s no way you’re a bad father unless that’s what you’re going for. That is my advice. I know that sounds weird, but I thought before I had my baby that I I was gonna be a bad father because I’m a felon. I don’t have a great career. I’m poor bro. I’m gonna be the worst father ever. Like, how can I be a great dad? But you’re not A bad father for those things.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:32:08]:

You actually are a good father for worrying about those things, because you’re actively thinking about your kids And their welfare and their well-being. And that alone makes you a good father because there’s so many fathers out there that don’t even care. They don’t care. They don’t wanna think about Their kids is they rather think about themselves. And I feel like if you’re thinking that, oh, I’m gonna be a bad dad, You’re on the right path. You’re on the right path. If you think that you’re gonna be a bad father and you’re worried about that, you’re on the right path. Stop thinking that though because you’re a great dad, and that’s the number one advice I can give somebody.

Christopher Lewis [00:32:45]:

Oh, Jonathan, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for sharing your Story for sharing your baggage that you are carrying into fatherhood and that you’re working through in your own way, and I truly wish you all the best.

Jonathan Ramirez [00:32:58]:

Thank you so much, Chris, and thank you for having me out here. This is awesome. I appreciate it.

Christopher Lewis [00:33:04]:

If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Dads with Daughters podcast, we invite you to Check out the fatherhood insider. The fatherhood insider is the essential resource for any dad that wants to be the best dad that he can be. We know that no child comes with an instruction manual, and most dads are figuring it out as they go along. And the fatherhood insider is full of resources and information That will up your game on fatherhood. Through our extensive course library, interactive forum, step by step road maps, And more. You will engage and learn with experts, but more importantly, dads like you. So check it out at fathering together …org. If you are a father of a daughter and have not yet joined the Dads with Daughters Facebook community, there’s a link in the notes today.

Christopher Lewis [00:33:50]:

Dads with Daughters is a program of fathering together. We look forward to having you back for another great guest next week, all geared to helping you raise strong, empowered daughters And be the best dad that you can be.

Christopher Lewis [00:34:02]:

We’re all in the same boat, And it’s full of tiny screaming passengers. We spend the time. We give the lessons. We make the meals. We buy in presents and bring your a k because As those kids are growing fast, the time goes by just like a dynamite blast. Calling astronauts and firemen, Carpenters and musclemen get out and be the world to them. Be the best dad you can be. Be the best

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Christopher Lewis


Christopher is the co-founder of Fathering Together and the Chief Information Officer. He is the father of 2 daughters that are now in their tweens and teens. He started Dad of Divas, a blog to share his own personal experiences in being a father in 2007 and in 2018 started the Dads With Daughters Facebook Group to allow dads to connect, learn and grow together. He works in Digital Media on a daily basis, but also has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration.

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