If you want to know a man who has a big heart for the future of African American men then you should get to know Dr. John Miller. I met this South Carolina Gamecock last year and I have been personally moved by his passion for learning, mentorship, and skill on the grill. John loves his wife Monica and his beautiful sons; Alex and Aaron.
What does it mean to be a husband?
Being a husband means committing your life to "oneness." I know that seems like over simplifying things just a bit, but honestly, that’s the most important role a husband can play. Loving my wife as I (ought to) love myself can be challenging at times because as a human, I am innately selfish and naturally want to place my wants, needs, and desires above of anyone else's. If we take our role sincerely as men of God who have been blessed to be husbands to our wives then we should strive daily for oneness in our union.
What does it mean to be a father?
Being a father is a dream come true for me. Unfortunately, much like many young men, I do not know or have any relationship with my father. From the time I was old enough to realize the negative impact that not having my father around would have on my life (it really sunk in during my teenage years) I always yearned to be a father and vowed that I would "be a father and husband one day and not a baby daddy." Now that I've been blessed to be a father of two sons (Alex, age 3, and Aaron Jonathan "AJ", deceased), I realize that the experience is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Every day I wake up knowing that being my sons' father is the most important job that I'll ever be given. It's awesome! What's even more awesome is that the experience is a gift. One that I did nothing to earn. Just a tremendous blessing and reflection of God's love for me and my wife.
What is the example you are seeking to set for your children?
To be just that, an example. Far too often are children don't see positive examples of parents who are married to and love each other? Between both sides of our families there isn't one intact marriage union belonging to any of our parents, aunts, and uncles. I want my son to know that with God, all things are possible, and that includes a healthy marriage.
What contributions are you making to your city?
I currently serve as an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In my role as professor, I have the privilege of educating future social work professionals on the values of ethics and service. I also do a lot of service work throughout the State. I have been the President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock since 2011. We've led several community service initiatives during that time, but what I'm most proud of is our commitment to mentoring and the development of our 100 Academy mentoring program. I've also served the city of Camden, AR for the past 3 years as a consultant for a local community-based group known as the "Unity in the Community" committee. The focus of that group is to lead initiatives in Camden that help bring together people from diverse backgrounds in their city. The community organizing work in Camden that I've had the opportunity to participate in has truly been a blessing to me.
What do you desire as a legacy?
For my legacy I want the world to remember that I was a child of God who helped lead people to Christ. I also desire to be a man of influence who has positively helped alter the trajectory of my family and community. When it's all said and done, I’d like to be remembered for being someone who "made a difference."
What is your hope for African American Men?
My hope for my brothers is that we one day achieve our full potential as a people. We've been made strong by the many challenges that we've had to overcome. If the day ever comes when as a people we galvanize ourselves and use the strength and ingenuity we've gained and use it to get on and stay on one accord, we will reach heights as a people that we haven't even imagined. I truly do believe that our best days are yet to come.