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The Quiet Storm

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.
The Truth Contributor

Do the right thing. - Spike Lee

More old school and country values than a reflection of contemporary urban mores, but just as soulful and serene as the late night radio genre of contemporary r&b mixed with jazz fusion known as Quiet Storm, the Reverend Robert Lyons also leads with a similar serenity, calmness or savoir faire.

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

All month long we have been listening to a group of local exemplars as they drop knowledge on the topic of fathers and fatherhood. This week I spoke with Bob Lyons, who is in his 30th year of ministerial leadership and currently serves as the senior pastor of Greater St. Maryís Baptist Church. Lyons and his wife Shirley are the parents of four children, who now range from 41 to 53 years of age.

This is the final installment of a four-part series on fatherhood styles and wisdom.

Perryman: Pastor, a part of your professional duties involves mentoring young fathers, so what does fatherhood mean to you?

Lyons: Oh, leadership. Responsibility. It means that Iíve got to be the forecaster. Iíve got to look beyond the obvious to provide, protect and also keep balance within family,

Perryman: Please elaborate on what you mean by balance.

Lyons: Well, whenever thereís struggle on one end, such as when kids are having growing pains or kids not following the order of the house and the mother becomes frustrated. She is trying to make sure sheís the mama bear and now the kids and mom are butting heads. And as dad, Iíve got to try to sort that out to keep balance, whereas the respect for mom as mom and also the respect for self stays in place with the child. A lot of times, you see the tensions developing and you steer around that. And, continually, you have to steer around that so that many times the rest of the family doesnít even know that the problem even existed. You saw it because you were looking further down the road and were able to defuse it before it turned into something bigger.

Perryman: What memories of your dad do you have from when you were growing up?

Lyons: My father was 17 and my mother had just turned 15 when I was born. Although my father was in my life it was not until I was grown, in my mid-20s, that he was really recognized as father. While I

knew who my biological dad was, my parents were never married and so grandmother was actually the father in my life.

So all the older men in the church served as father figures to me in a little town in Oklahoma where I was raised. They paddled my butt, gave me lectures about what to do and what not to do, and how to act. And the strongest father figure I had from about the fifth grade until 12th grade, graduating high school, was my football and basketball coach. They all became the father figures in my life.

Perryman: What lessons did you learn from them?

Lyons: I learned to weigh things while making choices. I had an old deacon in the church by the name of Stokes that probably was a pivotal point in my life as a young man. Deacon Stokes had been a sparring partner for boxer and heavy weight champ Ezzard Charles. And he used to talk to me about not being reactionary, not letting anger control me. I had a little bit of a temper and Iíd often lose it rather quickly. I wanted to handle everything with my fists. And he was the guy that taught me to listen before I talked and before I reacted to things. Still today, I can hear that old manís voice telling me Ė his word was Be cool. ĎBe cool, son,í heíd say. And now, I can calm down at the darndest times because we all have different buttons that will upset you or send you over the edge.

Perryman: What lessons do you try to convey to todayís generation of young men?

Lyons: Focus. Pace yourself. Donít run too fast. Count the costs before you do things. Working here in the juvenile court system has reinforced that thinking that the old man taught to me Ė you make choices that work for you and not because of somebody else that you want to impress. Be your own man. And also, get an education. If you donít get an education, youíre always hustling, trying to make a dime. And itís going to be a dimeís worth of results. But with education, you can make a dollar rather than a dime. And demand it because of what youíve put into it. Donít be arrogant and full of yourself.

Perryman: Finally, I have noticed in your leadership as well as your persona, a certain savoir-faire and tranquil diplomacy. How do you describe your model of fatherhood and leadership?

Lyons: (Laughing) At 73 years old, Iím just a young man with some old ways and some old country values. I want to think that Iím humble yet Iím slow to make decisions about life because every time I havenít been slow itís cost me a high price. So I work hard to be humble and focused, almost methodical at making choices and ultimately decisions. I want to think my decisions are Spirit led, taking the time to hear God rather than hear Bob. And that seems to help me stay in the right spiritual path.

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:11 -0700.



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