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Boys II Men: A Teenager Talks About Fathers And Sons

Zulek Johnson
Basim Blunt
Zulek Johnson

Fathers and sons can have many different types of relationships that can go on to impact future generations of a family. Zulek Johnson of Ponitz high school spends time with his father in a man cave. It's covered with Cincinnati Bengals memorabilia, a team his father has never given up on.

My dad and I have a man cave. Being that this is my dad's favorite team, it's Bengals everything, Bengals posters, Bengals rugs to Bengals clocks. The calendar even has Bengals on it. The Bengals are doing very terrible this year, like always, but my dad still always has faith.

I have an interesting name. It's spelled Zulek, and some people pronounce it Zoo-lick, but the way it's pronounced is Zoo-leek. I was named after my mother, whose name is Zulima, and her name comes from African tribe Zulu and it means beautiful.

My story is about my dad growing up without his father. It was a big impact on his life. He didn't have a fun childhood. My father went to work to help my grandmother pay the bills. He had to learn how to play sports on his own. When you're living in an urban city like Dayton Ohio on the west side, you're going to get into a couple fist fights growing up, and my father had to learn that on his own as well ,and he had to learn how to do a lot of things that my grandmother couldn't teach.

My father plays a big part in our life. A lot of my friends don't have a father in their life. They can come to my house and see my dad, and sometimes they even call him Pops. We just laugh and joke about it.

My father's dream was to have a family. You know, something see on TV, a two parent household with maybe two or three kids and a dog.

When we were little, me and my siblings used to ask my dad where his father was. He used to jokingly say he got hit by a Bud Lite truck crossing the street to get some beer. Then, when we got older, he told us the real story. My dad was nine years old, and he was fixing himself a bowl of cereal and there wasn't any milk in the fridge. My dad's father told him that he was going get some milk from the store, which is right down the street. He went to go get some milk, but he never returned.

"I didn't think about it," my dad replied when I asked him how that made him feel. "My mom took care of all that. She was a mom and dad so I didn't think about it that much."

I honestly don't think my dad was telling the truth because my grandmother has shown me a picture of what my grandfather looks like. My dad didn't liked that at all He was furious. If my grandfather walked into my house my dad would probably kick him out and tell him to never return.

A father and a son's relationship can go on. If you have a strong relationship with your father, then it'll be much easier to be raised as a man. I mean there are some strong mothers out there, but I don't think that a mother can do it all. You know there are certain things that a father has to teach their son.

My father taught me a lot. He taught me how to tie a tie and how to play basketball and football. He taught me how to treat my mother right and how to talk to girls. A mother can have a couple of words on that topic, but the father has to be the one with the swag and the style. A father and a son relationship can go on forever. I believe if you have a strong relationship with your father, then it will be much easier to be helped to be raised as a man. 

Zulek Johnson is a senior at Ponitz CTC High School. Special Thanks to Ponitz Radio media arts instructors Joanne Viskup and Jeffrey Crowell and to Katie Davis. Learn more at the school's website: http://ponitzctc.org. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.