Filed Under:

Teen Tries To Be The Parent His Own Dad Never Was

Play associated audio

This story is part of All Things Considered's "Men in America" series.

Marvin Ramos found out he was going to be a father when his girlfriend, Stephanie, called him during a basketball game. He says he sat down on a bench and looked up at the sky. He was 16. Stephanie was 19.

When his daughter, Hailey, was born, Ramos was overwhelmed. He saw her only on weekends, and not being around on the weekdays, he says, meant Hailey and Stephanie's "bond grew bigger than mine." Hailey was afraid of him, he says, and would cry when he held her. He felt useless and says he "slacked off."

Ramos didn't have a strong father figure to look to for advice. When Ramos was growing up, his dad worked long hours and disappeared drinking in his off time. Then, about the time Hailey was born, he left their home in New York. Recently, he told Ramos that he's ruined his life by having a child at such a young age.

That's galvanized Marvin to do better.

"What do I say to the dad that thinks my life is ruined, just because I have a daughter by my side?" Ramos asks. "I can't accept that. I want to say to him, '[I'm] going to prove you wrong.' "

Right now, Ramos is trying to finish high school. He's saving money and working toward his dream job of managing music talent. One day, he hopes to buy a home in upstate New York where Hailey has a room of her own.

"I haven't run away," Ramos says, "and I never want to. I want to be the best father I can be and I think I'm 60, maybe 70 percent of the way there."

You can hear Marvin Ramos tell his story, in his own words, at the audio link above. This audio story was produced by Emily Kwong and edited by Kaari Pitkin for Radio Rookies.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Barbershop: UofL Basketball Ban, Football Concussions And The NFL Women's Summit

ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone, Bloomberg View's Kavitha Davidson and The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery talk about the UofL basketball team, public opinion of the NFL, and women in sports.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

On The Clock: Who's Getting The Most Talking Time In Tonight's Debate

It's the last debate before the New Hampshire primary and Donald Trump is back onstage. Which GOP candidate will end up with the most talking time?
NPR

How Limited Internet Access Can Subtract From Kids' Education

Smartphones are often credited with helping bridge the "digital divide" between people who do and don't have Internet access at home. But is mobile Internet enough for a family with a kid in school?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.