I wonder if people understand the power they hold in becoming a parent. I don’t think it takes much to become one as we all know a few pumps can grant someone this… but to truly be a parent, not just in name but literally. As a dad, you don’t have to be a man mentally, but just sexually active with someone that is fertile. Let me get right in this folks as this this topic gets me on my soap box.
I was a girl that did have her father around as much as possible. I had a father that defined work ethic in everything he did. He believed in working and taking care of his kids. This man was not only focused on helping based on child support, but was willing to split other items needed with my mother on top of child support. When it came to me getting my first relaxer, going from glasses to contacts, dances, debate tournaments, clinical rotations, being a mediator, writing for the school newspaper and on to college; he was there every step of the way. He was a man that would work multiple jobs and make time to call, visit, etc. He did not have me every other weekend due to working odd early hours, but best believe he made time to leave his legacy behind. He was a man that believed in having real talks with me and didn’t sugar coat much. He had his flaws, but he made sure I knew as his daughter and many times called his twin that I knew he loved me unconditionally and that there wasn’t anything I could do that we could not discuss and work through. For this, I can be nothing but thankful for the time I had him on this earth. As we just passed the third year of him passing and I am determined to live his legacy to the fullest. It about killed me to make it through two funerals and when they started to lower him into the ground, all I could think of was how cold he would be and how alone he would be. I about lost it in that moment. I say all this to impress upon you folks, not looking for empathy. I’ve dealt with my grief. My questions to you as a father; are you leaving an IMPRINT, RESENTMENT, or a LEGACY???
I see so many men that handle up on their responsibilities and I couldn’t be more proud. The men out there are going to make sure, even if their baby momma is ignorant that they are paying child support, getting court documents in order to see their child and spend that time. A parent raising a child takes more than money to raise them to be productive citizens. So many people struggle with issues they never dealt with as a child due to lack of love or feeling important to their parents at a young age. I specifically wrote about fathers/dads in this segment, but there will be one about mothers in the future.
As a dad, you didn’t have to invest much, but to be a father much is required. It requires you to be selfless, aware, self-evaluating, etc. Many of us don’t mind the act in making these children, but aren’t ready to be a parent. Don’t get me wrong…we all enjoy the action to make them and have had times not being so careful. What do you do once that pregnancy stick is a + vs a -?? At the moment you are made aware, it is time to get your mind right. I am not saying it will be easy or something to do overnight, however, it is something’s you should sit and think about. I see so many of our (this is universal, not specific to one ethnicity) men take the route of ducking their head under their tale versus standing up for an innocent child you helped create. You aren’t willing to try and better yourself or think about the future seeds you will plant in this child by walking out the door. I wish I could hear from some of these JOKERS that walk out after things don’t work out with the baby momma, the wife, the mistress, etc. It truly brings tears to my eyes when you see these wonderful blessings from God (let me mind you that some people can’t reproduce) questioning themselves due to these piece of crap (I was thinking another word) men. Men that are too busy to help pay for this child because he is building another family or raising other children. Don’t get me wrong…. Some have distance between them and can’t be there for every activity and that is understandable. I am speaking of those that can’t seem to get out of some chicks butt long enough to keep up with visits, the one that can’t pay child support for their own kids but can help support her kids because that is who he is with at the time. What makes this ok? Do you think of what that child goes through along the way? Of course not!!! You aren’t there to deal with building that child’s spirit and reassuring them it isn’t them, it is the man labeled dad. You may be a dad, but can you be a father? If you can’t monetarily be there, can you be there emotionally? Can you be there to be your daughter’s first love, first date, first cheerleader and/or for your son to show him how to treat women, how to be a man, how to deal with issues men suffer through? Or does all that go out the window the moment that something better comes along or someone you don’t have to handle your responsibility because it means you can’t go out one or two weekends a month or that you can’t hang with who you are dating because your child needs your undivided attention. What is the price you are willing to pay for this?? What happens when that three year old starts to ask where daddy is? When they realize other kids mention their dad, but they have no memory of theirs. When you do come around sporadically and feel that child should have some internal pull towards you, but he/she has no idea who you are. So I ask, why come around if you won’t be consistent. The point when that pre-teen is starting to see things for themselves. The little one will start taking note that their father that only calls when it is convenient for him (not because the mom is mentioning this, but because they are old enough to start forming their own opinion). The dad that only offers to pick them up when they can spend time only if their girlfriend is free. WHAT THE HELL. (side note, women if this is your man and you are good with this, I am going to need you to self-evaluate) The dad that will come to lunch and buy holiday gifts, but doesn’t ask how school and other activities are going on the regular. The day that child gets to a point to see things for themselves… You absent fathers may want to get your shields up, because they will have questions and opinions one day of your behavior. Their comments and feelings may not be to your liking, but best believe they will be real. Please, please think about these little roots that lead to their soul that you are imprinting. I have seen so many people battle with this for most of their adolescent life due to daddy issues.
Is it enough to know that your daughter may grow up doubting herself because the man that should have first shown her unconditional love is absent? Will she turn to being promiscuous? Or dating men beyond her age bracket and maturity level due to searching for that love? Will she turn to men that show the same characters you do because she is searching for something missing? Is it enough to know your son will question his manhood? He will be unsure how to handle that feeling of how to be a man? How to deal with questioning his feelings through puberty? How to handle stress? How to be there for a woman? What is ok as a man or indifferent? Do you care about the imprint you are leaving on your legacy??? Are you walking away because your father wasn’t there for you? Is it ok to continue that chain of disappointment? If you grew up without your father, don’t continue the cycle. Break it…
One more thing, if you are present in the child’s life but are not fully active; this still applies to you. A child recognizes people that don’t really want to be bothered many times more often than adults. Dad’s that claim to be there, but really aren’t, can be just as damaging. If you are there and ignoring them on the weekends for video games, pawning them off every time you get them, etc… that is not spending time. What I will say, is be ready for that day when that child comes to you and explains they did not appreciate your presence as it was clear you didn’t want to be bothered. Yep… that is real.
For those that need proof in the pudding: ( I chose older stats on purpose…to let it be a reminder of how long the trend goes on… but best believe it goes way further back)
•Fatherless aggression: In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.”
Source: N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).
•Hungry for love. “Father hunger” often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home.
Source: Alfred A. Messer, “Boys Father Hunger: The Missing Father Syndrome,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, January 1989.
•Dadless years: About 40 percent of the kids living in fatherless homes haven’t seen their dads in a year or more. Of the rest, only one in five sleeps even one night a month at the father’s home. And only one in six sees their father once or more per week.
Source: F. Furstenberg, A. Cherlin, Divided Families. Harvard Univ. Press. 1991.
•63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
Do I have your attention yet? I wonder if now, will see the correlation of what an absent father can leave on a child. You have a comment? You feel like you have an excuse you would like to share?
I too have witnessed the damage done to children who do not know or have their fathers in the home with them or in their lives on a consistent basis. SAD! I also agree it can be a vicious cycle that once realized should be broken. With more fathers in the home and more couples choosing to “hang in there” this world could be a better place. I would be interested to see stats on which ethnic group has the most absent fathers. Would the answer to that be African American’s? I truly wonder.
From my observation the numbers seem to have crept up over time in the black community. This to me is evident in the behaviors of our younger generation, heck even my generation!! Fathers are equally as important as mothers and if you aren’t ready to be a parent STOP doing the things that could make you one or use necessary precautions. If you become a parent by “accident” use the resources available to assist with parenting/coparenting skills, time management, coping skills-dealing with stress and try surrounding yourself with people who are in similar situation but have figured it out. I agree with K Joi it doesn’t take much to be a dad but it takes work to be a father. Do your work!!