More times than not, teenage fathers are thought to be the villain: They are the irresponsible ones. They take advantage of the situation. They get off the hook by not having any real obligation to take care of their offspring. Very seldom do we see the father as the hero––the one who takes full responsibility for his actions and in some rare instances––take on the job of both father and mother. What about these boys who eventually grow up to be exceptional men?
At a very young age, Professional Motivator Saladin “Sal” Davis fathered his first child. Instead of running away, he decided to run full force toward his daughter and all the responsibility that came along with his decision. While some teenage parents use parenting as a crutch, Sal decided to use it as inspiration, graduating high school, college and eventually gaining full custody of his daughter.
Sal feels passionate about the state of teenage fatherhood. It does little good for our communities to only address the mothers and make them feel as though they have some type of entitlement as far as attention, he comments. The end result: making the fathers the culprit and treating them like they did something to the mothers.
In his first book, Life 101: Lessons from a 13 Year Old Father, Sal lets the reader travel inside of his mind. He notes how beneficial his book can be to both men and women, ultimately helping women understand the situation from the father’s point of view.
“I feel like the story of what the teenage father goes through hasn’t been told by anybody,” he comments. “I think it’s important to see what it is that these young fathers out here go through mentally and the things they have to experience.”
As you could image, Sal’s journey has not been a walk in a park. Sal admits that there have been obstacles along the way. One of the obstacles he faced at a younger age was “mentally accepting everybody else as the status quo.” As long as no one labeled him as a “bad” father, he thought that he was doing well. It was this thought process that hindered him from growing as a father. Now, he has a new prospective, setting his own standards and living up to them.
During the writing process, Sal realized a few things about himself.
“Overall, it was like a form of therapy, because there were so many things that I got out that I realized that many kids or many people go through these same things, or these same feelings at least,” he admits. “And, it was important for me to understand that I need to make sure my daughter feels comfortable speaking about this stuff so she doesn’t carry the same types of burdens that I’ve carried throughout my life.”
Life 101: Lessons from a 13 Year Old Father is not only for teen fathers, Sal’s goal is to reach the masses.
“I really want people overall to understand that it’s about the mindset,” he says. “The lessons that are in the book can help you change your mindset with any hardship that you go through.”
What’s one of Sal’s other goals?
“I want to be a symbol of focusing on what’s important and truly enjoying my life,” he says.