October 4, 2023

CSU Staff Member Reflects on Lessons Learned Through Fatherhood

Raising a child on your own is never easy, yet in the U.S. alone, millions of parents take on this challenge every single day.

Families are not created with the idea that eventually they will break apart, but the stark reality is that many will not stand the test of time and the hardships of life. Joe Bullard, who works in the CSU Information Technology department, was faced with a difficult dilemma while living as a young man in his 20s: either walk away from an untenable situation or walk away with his three-year-old daughter. Knowing that it would definitely not be easy, but certainly the right thing to do, he chose his daughter.

Bullard fully admits that he was not a perfect parent, but he tried very hard to raise his daughter with the kind of integrity that he knew she would Joe_Bullardneed in order to succeed in life. Raising her in this manner meant he had to make painful decisions, especially as she entered the teen years. When she defied his rules, he relied on his own upbringing and a bit of tough love, hoping that this would be the best solution for her down the road. Bullard explains, “That’s my heart; she is my whole life.”

Bullard, who raised his daughter completely on his own, stated, “if you ask me what my motivation was to do the things I did, a lot of it was the way I was brought up. I had this daughter that didn’t ask to come into the world, and she wanted the same things that every other kid wanted. So I made sure that she did not want for anything.”

Bullard and his daughter now enjoy a very close relationship and speak every day.

Bullard, also a current student at CSU, firmly believes that “education is important. Education helps decide our station in life.”

Bullard grew up with three sisters and two brothers, so he understands what it is like to work hard for the things one needs to survive. To see others not realize their potential is heartbreaking for him. He lives in the same community where he grew up and he wants to serve as a reference point for others. “A lot of people get their degrees, find success, and move away from their neighborhood, taking their talent with them. That’s why some of the neighborhoods are falling down.”

Bullard has a new mantra: dare to be different. Rather than take his education and share his knowledge elsewhere, he prefers to serve his community and the same people that he grew up with in school. He enjoys volunteering his time to the NAACP, the Masonic Lodge, and other organizations that are close to his heart.

“I owe everything to the way my mom and my dad raised us, to be appreciative of things and try to live a wholesome life,” Bullard reflects.

As far as offering words of wisdom, Bullard states, “you get out of life what you put into it. If you don’t put anything into it, don’t expect anything out of it.”

The same can be said for parenting. When you invest in your children and take the time to offer support, encouragement, patience, and sometimes tough love, the payoff is immeasurable.

Bullard can testify to that. Not only does he enjoy a close relationship with his daughter, he now has the pleasure of sharing his wisdom and spending time with his grandchildren.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful dads out there who make good choices for their children every single day.