Terrell Parks: Investing in family and taking responsibility

WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
Posted 3/23/16

Taking on the responsibility of being an involved parent is part of what it means to be a good father. Taking on the responsibility of caring for ailing parents is part of what it means to be a …

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Terrell Parks: Investing in family and taking responsibility

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Taking on the responsibility of being an involved parent is part of what it means to be a good father. Taking on the responsibility of caring for ailing parents is part of what it means to be a good son. For Cleveland newcomer Terrell Parks, being both a father and son to family members in two states, who need him and mean everything to him, is part of his responsibility as a man taking charge of his life.

Born and raised in Chicago, III., the 36-year-old father of five recently moved to Cleveland after helping care for his debilitated father with his two sisters, Nikki, 22, and Crystal, 38, and their mother Dorothy Parks.

“I decided to move this way because my dad had passed and I wanted a new beginning — to get a fresh start and clear my head,” he said. “My fianceé, April Robinson, had already been living here (in Cleveland) for the past year. She has an aunt who lives here and she’s a certified nursing assistant. April got a job here and moved this way with our kids. Our plan was for me to look after my dad, make sure he was OK, finish up my work there and then come here to be with my family and kids.”

Parks said his 66-year-old father, Nathaniel Parks, experienced heart failure after prolonging sugery, which eventually caught up with him in July of last year. As devastating as his loss was, Parks said, “We have to stay strong and do what they want us to do, which is to do good and leave a legacy.”

When asked about the legacy he would like to leave for his children and others, Parks said it involved showing good work ethics, being a strong individual and a family man with traditional values.

“That means living right, eating right, being a spiritual person in touch with God and working hard for what you want everyday,” he said. It also meant having an active fatherhood role, which experts say not only reduce the frequency of behavioral problems and psychological problems in boys and girls, but it also has a positive effect on children’s cognitive development, along with decreasing delinquency and less economic disadvantage for low income families.

“I have three children and two stepchildren,” Parks explained. “I want to be there for them. Cleveland is a good place to raise your kids. We’ve noticed it has a lot of people in touch with God, good church-going people. I haven’t encountered anyone who wasn’t receptive to me. We like it here.”

While his two siblings still live in Chicago with their mother, Parks noted that he will always be there for his birth family whenever they need him, but he feels a responsibility to his children and finceé, whom he loves, to also be there for them. Being raised with traditional values by parents who taught him the meaning of respect and responsibility, Parks said it had an effect on his spirit.

“Some say I have an old soul, an ‘old school spirit,’ he said. “I always took advice from my seniors and listened to my elders.”

One person he is glad he listened to was a Chicago barber who helped launched Parks’ career in barbering. He said, “A friend of mine was my barber. I used to help out with kids on my block who needed a hair cut. One day I told my friend, ‘I need to start cutting hair!’ He said, ‘You really should,’ and gave me a pair of clippers. I started cutting my kids’ hair, my nephew’s hair and eventually I started improving to the point that I got good at it. So I decided to go to barber school at Fortis Institue when I lived in Florida.”

Parks said he is excited about his move to Cleveland and is looking forward to meeting even more people, cutting more hair and “learning the culture of Cleveland while networking with local residents.”

He added that in his spare time, he and his fianceé will be balancing their family life and career with videology and the art of filmmaking as writers, producers and directors of short films.

“We want to get into film,” he said. “We want to do a movie, but start out with short films. I’ve done several music videos for local artists in Chicago and Florida. I love being creative.”

Being a father in Cleveland and a son with family still in Chicago can be a challenge that brings out the character in a person and even help measure one’s growth into manhood. For Parks, being a responsible father and a responsibile son is not only the goal but the gift of being a balanced and mature man.

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