Happy Father`s Day to All the Dads in Custody

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When I got locked up, it was just before father`s day and my son was 6. A guard came in our unit and said, “Happy father`s day,” and it ripped me up. How could this be a happy father`s day? I wondered. Was this woman mocking us for being locked up and away from our kids? Lots of stuff like that went through my head.

Then the next father`s day, my father died while I was still locked up. “Happy father`s day” became a very emotional statement for me, and it still is. But I like the reminder that I`m a father and the decisions I make affect more than just me. It`s what has motivated me to stay on the right path. After more than 13 years in prison, I`ve made good decisions and never been in trouble. I`m proud of who I am now.

Lots of fathers in prison have made this same choice. They`ve become great dads and they positively impact their kids. They see that we fell down but got up and did the right things.

So, saying “happy father`s day” to a dad who`s locked up means much more than words. It`s a reminder that we live for something bigger than ourselves: Our kids.

Dale Chappell, Zen Law Guy

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