Alvy & Me? We Only Lack Biology

“One of the biggest needs in our generation is for men to step into the lives of boys to train them, equip them, and cheer them on to grow up as they begin the process of ‘manning up’.”

—Dennis Rainey

Today’s story is from Melanie Jongsma.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines father as “a man who gives care or protection to someone.”

Groovy young family

Groovy young Jongsma family, 1970
(Melanie far right next to her dad Allen)

Care. Protection. Indeed. Real fathers are not a product of biological luck. True dads help and protect, no matter the bed they’ve slept.

It’s why men who step in can be great dads with no biology at all. Step dads. Granddads. Coaches. Teachers. Mentors. Each with a chance to change lives for the best.

Melanie Jongsma, our guest today, is a professional writer, editor, and wordsmith extraordinaire. In Melanie’s words, a snapshot of her dad, a father in every sense of the word.

My Dad

Ok, this is not really a “funny” story; it’s more of a “sweet” story. I’m sharing it because it gets at the heart of fatherhood on a few different levels.

father figure

Allen Jongsma and Alvy Butler, Father’s Day, 2013

A few weeks ago, I was at church talking to a man named Alvy Butler. He said, “You’re Allen Jongsma’s daughter, right?” I confirmed, and Alvy said, “Oh, your dad is a wonderful man.” I agreed.

Alvy continued, sincerely, “You know, he’s like a father to me. I lost my own dad when I was 17, and I missed having that fatherly guidance as I was becoming a man. Your dad has been giving me that guidance — I missed it when I was younger, but it’s still helping me even now. Because I have a son who’s becoming a man, and your dad is helping me to be the father to my son that I didn’t have.”

It was quite a brief exchange, but there’s so much in it, isn’t there?

— The idea that my dad’s days of “fathering” are not over, even though he’s in his 70s.
— The idea that Alvy is rising above his past in order to change his son’s future.
— The idea that “fatherhood” transcends differences in culture, age, and experience, giving these two fathers a genuine appreciation for each other.

I love it. Dad, you’re awesome. Keep up the good work.


Melanie’s parents, Allen and Patty Jongsma

Melanie Jongsma is a writer who attributes her success to the stable, encouraging home life her father and mother created. She writes for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who have a story they want to share. You can read more of her writing—and subscribe to her weekly blog—at LifeLines Publishing.

Your Comments

  1. Roseann

    Love this story! We all have the opportunity to “father”, “mother” and mentor, as well as to receive those gifts from those around us. 🙂

  2. Robyn

    Melanie, I very much enjoyed reading this. This article shows your dad to be that which a dad should be, a man who not only takes time for his own family, but takes time to help others with theirs. You are blessed to have such a dad.
    As I read this, I could not help but miss my dad. He passed away two years ago this coming Monday. The last email my dad ever sent me was in response to a blog I wrote about him. He told me he was proud of me and my writing. Thank you for bringing back that memory.

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