Q&A with Father Tyrone Dixon

Nominated by Rachielle Scrivens

Q: How did it feel when you became a father?
A: My princess was born two days after my birthday, so it was the best birthday gift I could ever imagine. I remember it as if it was yesterday. She was born at 3:36 p.m. When I heard her cry, it was as if there were new life breathing into me. It literally took my breath. I was hit with a ton of emotions. I felt I was responsible for another life now, someone to mold her life.

Meet Father Tyrone Dixon, born and raised in Syracuse, who has one daughter, Abigail. She turns 1 on April 11. Tyrone is married to Ivonnia Dixon. | Provided Photo

Q: What was your relationship like with your father?
A: We have a really good relationship. He’s always been a hands-off mentor. He allowed me to fall forward and make my own mistakes, but he was supportive. We had dinner yesterday, and I told him I appreciate that. He wasn’t a micro-managing parent. There was no built up resentment. I love my dad for that.

Q: Why are fathers important?
A: They are central. It would be phenomenal if you have two parents on the same page, but I absolutely think being a father is imperative. There’s only so much a mother or father alone can deliver. You have to be there to be able to guide our youth.

Q: And the relationship can grow over time, right?
A: I liken it to a bank account. If we instill enough positivity and give them that emotional space when they’re younger, that gives us more in the relationship bank account. In the future, they’ll draw upon that. Kids will create a savings account. As kids get older, they’ll draw from it.

Q: How can fathers break through the “men don’t cry” narrative?
A: I want to be an open door and completely vulnerable to my daughter when it comes to crying. You cannot say, ‘Don’t cry’ and expect someone to go all life being tough, not crying. When you attack it that way, it creates an imbalance. It’s OK to cry. That type of mentality — that men are extremely tough — has been a detriment to us as men.

Q: What advice do you plan to give your Abigail?
A: I have a whole book full. The most important thing I’m going to let her know is that life is trial and error. There’s no clear-cut way. Daddy can tell you do this, this and this. It may not work out. Understand life is based on trial and error. You can chart your own path, do what you want to do. You don’t have to be what everyone else wants you to be.

Q: What have you learned about work-life balance as a father?
A: Everything flows through my wife and my daughter. If their peace of mind is there, everything else flows form there. My energy is always going to be high. You have to take the approach of being supportive, 100 percent in your woman and child.

Q: Final thoughts?
A: Something I was not expecting as a result would be the depth of love that it brought me, and the depth of appreciation it brought to my life. It was like, ‘Oh wow, this is what life is about. This is the beauty of life.’ You think about the people who have done so much to allow you to get to this point in life and understand life. It wasn’t about me. It was, ‘Wow, this is amazing, this is literally a miracle on earth.’ If I’m having a down day, I look back to that. You have a beautiful girl, beautiful wife at home. It’s OK. Everything will be OK.

— Interview By Matthew Gutierrez, Staff Reporter

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