“Dad Will Always Be the Best and Most Important Title I Have Ever Had”

For Father’s Day, eight NewYork-Presbyterian dads reflect on raising their families in these unprecedented times.

Grid of NYP fathers with their children.

As a gay man, Rick Evans, senior vice president of Patient Services and chief experience officer at NewYork-Presbyterian, says he never dreamed he would become a dad. Now, as he raises his son, Joshua, from the front lines of both a pandemic and an anti-racist movement, he sees fatherhood as “a special gift” — and an enormous responsibility.

Rick Evans
Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer

“Being a father was something I did not contemplate growing up as a gay man. So, becoming a parent, and forming a family with my partner, Jim, has been a profound and special gift. Our family was also formed through adoption, which is its own special and challenging journey. But under it all there is a feeling of deep gratitude and enormous responsibility. Our son, Joshua, is a wondrous blessing to us.

When I became a father, my view of the world and of the future changed. Everything became about our son. How could we prepare him for the future? How could we help him grow and become his full self? And what could we do to ensure the world he would live in would be better than the one we have grown up in?

Being Joshua’s father has also opened my eyes to new and difficult realities. I would like to think I have always been committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging. But I feel that at a whole new level now. Our son is a beautiful black boy. We all know the challenges people of color and especially black men face in the world. We now live in two worlds in a sense: the white one and the black one. And it’s painful — especially now. However, I look at this as a true gift — a chance to be Joshua’s dad, and a chance to truly see into the lives, challenges, and realities of others. It’s made Jim and I more committed than ever to equality, justice, and peace. It’s made us allies of communities outside our own.

We want our son to know that his life matters and that, during this time, we fought for him and for all people who are marginalized in any way. I hope he will see that we stood for him and for others like him. I also hope he remembers how we responded to these crises; that we acted to help, rather than retreated into isolation. I hope remembering this, he does the same when his moment comes.

Being a dad brings me joy every day — even when it’s hard. Seeing my son’s face each morning, reading with him, exploring the city we love, passing on our values, teaching him things our parents and grandparents taught me — all these things are the best and most important things I’ve ever had the privilege to do. “Dad” will always be the best and most important title I have ever had!”

 

Dr. Robert Tanouye with his daughter.

Dr. Robert Tanouye with Elise, age 6 months.

Dr. Robert Tanouye
Associate Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital

“I want my daughter to know that she has a voice. That she has a right to be heard. That everyone has a right to be heard and, in fact, the world becomes better when more diverse voices speak out thoughtfully and respectfully.”

 

 

 

Alan M. Lee with family.

Alan M. Lee with (from left) Christopher, age 19, Kyra, age 24, and wife, Charlotte White-Lee.

Alan M. Lee
Chief Operating Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

“It is important that our children are mindful of their civic responsibilities, and that they accept the challenge of being agents of change. I want them to reflect on this particular time and the lessons they have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as this time when our nation, and indeed our world, are called to respond to the pandemic of racism and racial oppression. We expect that they consider who they are and on whose shoulders they stand; all those who have gone before them to create a path for a brighter future. They will rise to the calling, no matter how difficult, and honor their heritage.”

 

Derrik Narayanajaya with his children.

Derrik NarayanaJaya with (from left) Shyri, age 12, Tarah, age 2, and Giah, age 8.

Derrik NarayanaJaya
Administrative Director of Patient Flow and the Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

Amid a pandemic and a world where racism is being confronted, what would you like your children to learn?

“To be kind and stand up for yourself and others who are helpless. This is also called leadership.”

 

 

 

Daniel Wald with his son.

Daniel Wald with Sebastian, age 6 months.

Daniel Wald
Director of Support Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

“I want to instill the value of tikkun olam, the Hebrew phrase meaning ‘repairing the world,’ to my son, Sebastian. I want to teach him the importance of using his actions to make his community and our world more just and equitable for all.”

 

 

 

Steven Marin with his daughter.

Steven Marin with Isabella, age 10.

Steven Marin
Interim Manager of Environmental Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center

What values would you like to instill in your child?

“To lead with kindness and love, even if you are met with hate.”

 

 

 

 

Alexis Espinoza with his children.

Alexis Espinoza with (from left) Oliver, age 4, and Julie, age 6.

Alexis Espinoza
Administrator of Operations Support at NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Westchester

“I would like my children to know that the world has unexpected events, such as COVID-19 and confronting racism, that will test our resolve and character, but no matter how difficult they may seem, there is always hope and ways to overcome them.”

 

 

 

Kenya M. Jones with son.

Kenya M. Jones with Noah Nasir, age 9.

Kenya M. Jones
Manager of the Department of Pharmacy at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital

“I’ve always told my son that this world will be doubly harder on him. And while it’s unfortunate, it’s also true. He knows this, but I continue to say to him daily: You are blessed and you are loved! You can accomplish any and all things as long as you put forth the effort and continually push yourself. You are my greatest accomplishment. My goal is for you to be far better than I ever was. That is the goal!”