Nonessential expressions in writing are words, phrases or clauses that are not necessary to the meaning or structure of the sentence. It’s easy to determine whether an expression is nonessential by omitting the phrase from the sentence. If the meaning of the sentence is still conveyed and if proper sentence structure is preserved, the expression is nonessential.
Example: We reserved this section for their fathers, none of whom attended the program.
The bolded phrase is nonessential; but sometimes I wonder whether families today consider fathers as nonessential. This Father’s Day, in addition to celebrating fathers and father figures, I think we should spread the message that fathers are essential to the family unit.
As I thought about the purpose of Father’s Day and creative ways to thank and celebrate my father for being present in my life, I began to reflect on his influence on me. That thought snowballed into my thinking about the significance of a father’s contribution to his children (generally speaking) which then led, for some reason, into thoughts about famous African Americans and their fathers. I thought about Tiger Woods, Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and even Oprah. Each of these people has dominated their field. They have risen to the top and succeeded beyond ordinary success. But each of them also credit their fathers as essential to their success. In fact, if you omit their fathers from the sentences of their lives, meaning and structure would not only be lost, we probably wouldn’t even know their names.
We can learn a few lessons from the practices of these African American fathers.
- They insisted upon their child’s excellence.
- They demanded discipline and practice.
- They were unwaveringly dedicated to their child’s success.
- They held their children to high standards and expectations.
- They also, in most cases, did not ask their children what they wanted to be when they grew up; they told them.
Because of these essential fathers, the above-mentioned celebrities will be known for what their fathers dreamed they could be, as they are forever etched on the pages of Black, American and World History.
As we acknowledge fathers and father figures today, let us make sure we do our part to raise a generation of boys who will be fathers that will dream dreams for their children and gift the world with someone who will impact it in a significant and meaningful way.
Happy Father’s Day.