A Father’s Importance

I don’t know any paternally ‘delinquent‘ men. With the perpetual insistence that black men of today are more often than not avoiding or ignoring their responsibilities as men, I’m not sure how unique of a position I find myself. Society seems to be doing its best to convince us all (women in particular) that men cannot be trusted or dependable regarding taking care of and playing an active role in the lives of their children.

Case in point, last June (every June, really) we celebrated Father’s Day and the women whom felt obligated to insist that so few men are ‘good fathers’ that they wished themselves happy father’s day. It was their day.

They feel entitled to it because they have ‘fathered‘ their child. Dual roles if you will. Particularly, women who belittle the significance of fathers in an effort to rebrand the holiday as ‘Single Mothers Day‘ because they can ‘do without them’.I might be considered in my feelings about this, but was that not what mother’s day was for?

To celebrate the extraordinary love, dedication and sacrifice bestowed upon their children? How then does their accomplishment as mother’s invalidate the accomplishments of fathers who have done the very same?

If a child sees it fit to bestow such an honour upon their mother (or father on mother’s day, but let’s not digress) this personal tribute, it is a beautiful thing but for those that self profess, please remember that self-praise is no recommendation. One does not need to dim the lights of others to magnify their own.

Mark Zuckerberg and his team clearly highlighted their stance by forgoing a temporary screen saver that proclaimed “I love Dad” just as the one that was highlighted as early as the week prior to mother’s day. Does this not perpetuate the stance of our society that fathers are simply ‘not as important’? I find it disgraceful. No matter how wonderful a mother a woman is, she will never be a father. Both parents and roles are important, otherwise, sperm wouldn’t be required to fertilize an egg, would it?

So my initial thoughts regarding delinquent men… Are good fathers who take the responsibility of their children seriously as much of a rarity as we are trying to convince ourselves? Or are bitter women simply louder than the rest of us? I firmly believe it is the latter. My extended family is quite large and the variated family units are endless. Nuclear units, single parent (mother/father) units, extended family units and on. But for all these variations, I cannot identify any of them as delinquents in relation to their children. Men raised by single mothers vow that their children will not experience the same circumstances and others simply had a father figure. My father was raised by my grandmother on her own.

If there is ever a woman with strength and an unequivocal work ethic who could put any man to shame, it’s her. She however managed to raise two strong grounded men who fathered beautiful girls and refused to be anything less than a pillar of strength and example for their children. My father is one of them. Not having the influence of his father, he never failed to ingrain in the mind of his girls that we would never lack the same as long as he has lived.

This is my experience with the single mothers in my family. They raise men who are conscious of their efforts while still valuing the role of a father. I believe the nuclear units are self indicative of the resulting man. Perhaps it was this environment that fuels my male friendships in such a way, that I simply do not know any who wouldn’t move the Egyptian Pyramids for their children. It would therefore be quite shocking at this stage of my life to discover any around me. I dare say, I know more men who selflessly father children (financially and otherwise) whom aren’t theirs biologically but would never allow said child to be tossed to the wind in that regard. There are also those raising their children without the influence of a mother.

I am, however, aware I do not possess the sting of bitterness many women do because of it. The phenomenon that causes others to look upon my father and husband as though they are giant unicorns of 2016. How much are we really reflecting on the women who raised the men we label delinquents and the hand they (the women) had in their being ‘deadbeats‘ (Not a term I fancy). It saddens me that I have seen it first hand. A slighted mother who has decided no man was there for her, so why should she be obligated to raise a son for a woman to ‘use‘ even as she herself was raised with the towering presence of a father she praises. What values then is such a woman keen to teach and pass on to the ‘man’ she intends to or has raised?  That, my friends, would be the million-dollar question.

As women, we should evaluate ourselves more as mothers in an effort to understand the kind of man you want to raise when you have a son, as ultimately, there exists a greater correlation than our society is willing to admit. A child is more often than not a reflection of values and experiences taught by those chartered with the responsibility of successfully child-rearing.

From this viewpoint, it is my belief that the women around me are extraordinary. With so many of them, it is hard for me to believe there aren’t many more out there who mother men like the ones I have been privileged to know.

So, are responsible men who are fathers really as few and far in between as we perpetuate? And if they are, wouldn’t that mean good mothers raising ‘good‘ sons are just as few and far in between? Wouldn’t there be fewer of these men if more women were actively cognizant of the sons they were raising?

Think about it. What kind of man are you raising? And when you have finished, is he the kind you would want to father your children? ….. Or your daughter’s…..?

Xo, Shandean.



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