Photo essay: What does fatherhood mean to you?Loading
  • 20110614 King of castle
    Fatherhood in America has changed over the past few decades. Dads today are more involved in every aspect of child care, from diaper-changing to helping with homework. Nobody questions paternity leave — even Major League Baseball players take it — and stay-at-home fathers are no longer unusual. And while there are more single moms than ever, kids raised by two parents have a big advantage over kids from single-parent homes: They are less likely to be poor. Despite the changes, when you ask today's dads what fatherhood means to them, they cite some pretty old-school, universal themes. A team from The Associated Press recently photographed 10 sets of fathers with their children and asked them about being dads:
    Espinoza | MCT
  • Being Dad
    Abe Safdie, 40, poses for a photo as he holds his 5 ½-month-old twins Ellen, left, and Ezra, before joining a twins’ club gathering in New York. “Once they came out, it was an incredibly emotional experience,” he said. “Then the responsibility set in. It was like life during wartime. I would come home from a full day of work and both of them would be screaming their lungs out. But then around three months it changed. They started to smile. And once they started to smile, I felt like I had a real connection.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Troy Johnson, 30, of Philadelphia, holds his daughter, Isabella, 4, after visiting the American Museum of Natural History with his son Wayne, 7 in New York. “It’s about putting them before yourself,” said Johnson. “We don’t really do anything outside of our family element. I worked all night, I work in a hospital, but they’ve never been to New York, so we just got up and came in.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Jay Nar, 51, of Allentown, Pa., laughs as his daughters Yesha, 18, left, and Ishita, 13, pose for a photo during a visit to Central Park in New York. “I love them from the bottom of my heart,” said Nar referring to his daughters. After citing the girls’ many accomplishments in academics and sports, he gestured to his older daughter and said, “When the gas tank is empty, she comes to me.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Jim Leonard, 61, of Canton, N.Y., rides the subway with his daughter Riley, 12, after visiting his older daughter and her newborn in New York. “My children are my greatest achievement,” he said. “To see how they have grown, matured and become good, decent and loving people absolutely warms my heart …The older you get, the more you appreciate it. When you’re younger, you’re so busy with everything, you don’t have time to appreciate it.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Orlando Lopez, 34, of the Bronx borough of New York, poses for a photograph with his daughters, Sophia, 3, and Roselyann, 5, after a walkathon in New York's Central Park. When asked for his thoughts on fatherhood, Lopez, who has the girls’ names tattooed on his arms, said, “It’s fun. I love it. You’re with them every day. It’s happiness. I’ve been following the same steps as my father. He was always around. I’m always around them.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Jamez James, 47, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, holds his son, Melchi’Tzdec, during an outing in New York's Central Park. Before becoming a father, James said, “I was a single guy, living the life, well, so I thought.” James describes fatherhood as opening a door, and “little did I know, as I chose to go through, my entire life changed... That’s where I met my son, on the other side of the door.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Pedro Monguia, 28, sits on a bench in a neighborhood park with his three sons, Jonathan, 7, Landon, 3, and Giovanni, 5, after treating them to ice cream, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. “Now I have to take care of them, not only myself,” Monguia said. “I think about them. I have to take them to school. I have to check every day if they did homework.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Mario Perez, 30, poses for a photo with his children Michael, 6, and Emily, 7, at a park in the Brooklyn borough of New York. At the park costumed dancers celebrated a festival from their home state of Tlaxcala, Mexico. Being a good dad, Perez said, “is very important. This is the way, with the family together, happy. We try to keep the tradition around here.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Chanzhou Feng, 49, of Beijing, left, poses for a photo with his son Walter, 24, in Central Park in New York. “Being a father means responsibility. And also happiness,” said Feng. He was in New York for Walter’s graduation from Columbia University. “I’m very proud. He’s a good son. Honest and humble," said Feng.
    Kathy Willens | AP
  • Being Dad
    Ron Sanon, 33, poses for a photo with 14-month-old Emmy at the Central Park carousel in New York. Fatherhood, Sanon said, is “The greatest gift you can get in life. What my dad was to me, what my wife’s dad was to her, you want to be that person they look up to. Like a superhero. Anything they’re scared of, you can make it go away.”
    Kathy Willens | AP
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