“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” said American abolitionist Frederick Douglass over a century ago. Nicholas “Juice” Wedlow believes these words and has taken them to heart at the chief executive officer of Unfaltering Fathers, LLC.
The mission of Wedlow’s organization is to connect, educate, and inspire fathers from all walks of life to continuously pursue time with and be role models for their children. Says Nicholas, “I created the acronym F.A.T.H.E.R.S. to communicate the mission to others.” That acronym is Families Always Thrive Having Essential Role-Models, and that is the message that Wedlow is trying to get out through his speaking, writing and videos.
Working for reunification of fathers with their children is not an arbitrary choice for Wedlow. He has learned through experience as a child and an adult who has dealt with a broken father-son relationship.
Wedlow was raised by his mother and was not aware of his father’s identity when he was a youngster.
“I was born in Atlanta and raised in Statesboro,” he explains. According to an interview with Voyage ATL, Wedlow was raised in an underprivileged home and often experienced the inequalities that caused him to vie for attention. Positive attention came to him on the football field at Statesboro High School, earning him a scholarship to play football in college.
It was during his senior year at Statesboro High School that he became involved in another broken father-son relationship.
“During my senior year,” explains Wedlow, “I learned that I had fathered a child from a pregnancy that I wasn’t aware of.”
When he learned that he had become a father, the young man decided to step up to the plate and embrace fatherhood. That was a turning point for Wedlow, who attempted to co-parent with his child’s mother.
After the relationship with his child’s mother grew contentious, Wedlow, still a very young man, was faced with child custody issues, including going to court for custody and visitation. He adds, “The fact that my son is mixed-race just added another layer of difficulty to the situation.”
Attempting to do what was best for both the child and himself, Wedlow attended college at Indiana University and then Boston University, playing football for three semesters.
Very quickly, the young man learned that he lacked the maturity to be successful in college. Faced with trying to figure out what to do and how to support his child through paying child support, he very quickly “manned up” and enlisted in the United States Air Force. The physical distance that being a serviceman put between Wedlow and his son only complicated the relationship.
“After a contested custody battle filled with lies, deception, anger, despair, poverty and groundbreaking change,” Wedlow proudly took the role of custodial parent for his son. It was his will, perseverance and endless drive to be a father that allowed that to happen.
“I don’t take my role as a father lightly,” he states. His belief is that children are gentle, impressionable beings, and the father should be the cornerstone of the family.
Says Wedlow, “I learned a thing or two while going through the situation with my son. My goal through Unfaltering Fathers is to connect with other fathers and educate them about the ways to be a better father and role-model for children.”
The way Wedlow is doing this is through his speaking and writing. This comes somewhat naturally for Wedlow who describes himself as a lifelong writer.
“I began writing poems, short stories and essays in elementary school,” he says. Although he lacked the maturity to complete his college career when he was a younger man, Wedlow is now a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aeronautics and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, skills he uses as an active-duty airman with over 2,000 combat flying hours. He has won several military competitions, including the third place prize of $2000 in the Air Force Army Exchange Services Proud to Serve Essay Contest.
Now, he doubles as an author, writing educational non-fiction memoirs. He also hosts a series of interviews with fathers on Facebook each Tuesday night. The Facebook page is called the Father’s Rights Movement.
“I use this as a medium to celebrate fathers and share advice with other fathers,” he explains.
Most recently, Wedlow has published a book entitled Overnight Father. This story tells about his own experience with becoming a father literally overnight due to the hidden pregnancy of a former girlfriend. In the story, he also explains how his past and present have intertwined. He only learned the identity of his own biological father as a young adult.
Presently, Wedlow and his wife are the parents of four children. His oldest son, the one he learned of so abruptly, is now 16 years old. He has a 9 year old daughter, another son who is 7 years old, and a three-month-old baby girl. The family is stationed in New Mexico where he continues his Air Force Career as an MQ-9 Instructor/Evaluator Sensor Operator.
Autographed copies of the book Overnight Father are available online through Wedlow’s website www.unfalteringfathers.com. The book is also available on Amazon.com. To support his mission of making fathers aware of the importance of their role in the lives of their children, Unfaltering Fathers merchandise, including t-shirts and sweatshirts, is available on the website.
With a goal of creating strong fathers, Wedlow shows that broken men can become leaders of their families and can build strong children who will be unfaltering.
Wedlow is the son of Lindsey Byrd and Connie Whitaker, both of Metter.