Or as he called it: “An instant family.”
Helping raise five boys, three of them step-sons and two biological, is “pretty much chaotic,” he said, managing a laugh.
He tries to treat all the boys the same. But that’s impossible, he said. Step parents have their limitations with it comes to discipline, he said.
“You’re caught in the middle,” Lewis said when asked to describe being a step-father. “Not an easy task at all. Sometimes you just have to let mom do her thing. It can be frustrating. Some of the kids are more difficult than the others. Some don’t want to clean their rooms. They’re stubborn, so I’m stubborn back and show the same type of attitude. Then both of us have attitudes.”
When he got married, he was in the middle of finishing his PhD in organizational leadership and running his own business, Triad Investment Group. Working on the degree was delayed until recently when he earned it from University of the Cumberlands.
Lewis attended Middletown Christian Schools until late in his junior year. Then he transferred to Monroe High School where he graduated in 1991.
His parents divorced when he was 6 or 7 and his mother was granted full custody of him and his younger sister. One night he woke up and his mother was gone. Later he found out she was at a local bar.
After that, he was raised by his father.
“Never had a mother figure,” he said.
But he had a strong father in his life. He coached his son’s baseball teams, taught him the construction trade and served as a mentor in his business.
“He was a great example,” Lewis said. “As a father, you must show your child the correct behavior. They always will follow somebody, so you as a father, you want them to follow you.”
More and more children are being raised in fatherless homes.
With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012, according to the Census.
In the U.S., there were 18.4 million children, or 25% of that age group, being raised in a fatherless home, according to the 2021 Census data.
Last year, 55.1% of all black children, 31.1% of all Hispanic children, and 20.7% of all white children lived in single-parent homes.
“Because of that, society is where it’s at,” Lewis said. “Having a father around is absolutely important, as is a mother. But you have to have a father to connect with the kids.”
He was asked what advice he’d give a new father. There was a short pause on the phone.
Then he answered: “Be patient and don’t react to the first thing you hear. There is always a story behind their actions. Before making a judgement, listen and be aware where kids are coming from. If you get angry, you may take that anger to some place you don’t want it to go.”
So today, Father’s Day 2022, Lewis, like most dads, doesn’t want another tie.
Time is more important.
Time with their kids.
Or time alone.
“A day of reflection,” Lewis said when asked about Father’s Day. “Maybe a chance to get my own time back. Do stuff I want to do.”