With Father’s Day upon us – I wanted to share a few thoughts concerning this special day. First, let me start by saying that I was abandoned by the guy who was responsible for my being. With that said, I never have nor will I ever call him my father because I never saw him as a man. Now, I understand that he did have the necessary equipment to procreate, which mean there is a difference between making a baby and being a father. Any male can create a life but it takes a unique soul to be a father because that man acknowledges the responsibility which begets, raises, and nurtures a child. This is a gift that life denied me but there was a special man who assumed that role – my Granddaddy. I would always say to him that he was the greatest gift God could have given to me.
To honor him I featured this great man in my novel “Just a Season”. I fondly remember the most lasting impression Granddaddy made upon me. It was “I raised you to be a man and as a man you don’t know what you will have to do, but when the time comes – do it”. The result of not having this guy in my life as a father created a yearning deep within me to be a father and to make sure my child had this special gift in his life. Thankfully, God blessed me with a wonderful son allowing me to realize this dream and if I must say I was a “GREAT FATHER”. Then as if in the blink of an eye God took him – twenty years later and it still hurts… WOW!!!
I am sharing this for two reasons: One, I want each man to know that fatherhood is an amazing blessing. Two, to say to mother’s that it is very important to have a man in the life of your child be it the child’s father or a male to nurture the life of that child. I often hear this statement from women – “I am a strong woman, independent, and successful”, which maybe true but if you have a son you cannot raise him to be a man. I say this in the same vain that your daughters need a father also and I said father not just a man in their lives.
Fathers who are able to develop into responsible parents are able to engender a number of significant benefits for themselves, their communities, and most importantly, their children. Involved fathers offer developmentally specific provisions to their sons and daughters throughout the life cycle and are impacted themselves by doing so. Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing behavior problems in boys and psychological problems in young women. For example, children who experience significant father involvement tend to exhibit higher scores on assessments of cognitive development, enhanced social skills and fewer behavior problems.
Increased amounts of father-child involvement have also proven to increase a child’s social stability, educational achievement, and even their potential to have a solid marriage as an adult. These children are also more curious about the world around them and develop greater problem solving skills. Children who were raised without fathers perceive themselves to be less cognitive and physically competent than their peers from father-present families. Mothers raising children without fathers report more severe disputes with their children. Sons raised without father’s shows more feminine attributes but no less masculine characteristics of gender role behavior.
I submit that the absence of FATHER’S is a direct result of the condition of many families, the devastation of our communities, and dare I say our society. We have entered a new era of “HOPE” and I pray that males will make this profound transformation into manhood. Forget about all those things that may have caused the unholy condition you face, accept your responsibility, honor your children, and be a man. Because regardless of what you believe because the reason we live is to continue the species and as African American’s we are losing the battle.