Today is the day that we celebrate fathers all over the world. It seems that we so often focus on how challenging it is for modern day mothers who are still expected to attend to all the needs of their children and yet are now also trying to succeed in their careers. While I have first-hand knowledge of the complexities of being a modern day working mother or just a modern day mother, period, I have an ever increasing level of compassion for the modern day Father, especially the Black father.
It’s no secret that, in the US, the two parent family is increasingly becoming the exception while the single parent home is increasingly becoming the norm. And if you take a look at Black communities all around the country, unfortunately, that becomes even truer. I’ll save my speculation as to why we are facing these circumstances for another day and instead bring the focus back to the Black father.
Most of these single parent homes that are increasingly becoming the norm are typically headed my Black women and the Black father is often subjected to the whims of the said mother. Today, I am appealing to all Black mothers to set aside their own feelings about a man they may not necessarily, love, like or even respect and let him be a father to his child or his children. It’s not enough to just be a willing participant; you have to be your child’s advocate in doing everything that you can to make sure that he or she has a relationship with his or her Father.
I’ve heard all the stories about the dead-beat fathers or the ones who don’t care or the ones who don’t pay their child support etc. The truth still remains that every child deserves to love their father and to be loved by their father, no matter who the father is or what he has or has not done.
One woman once relayed a story to me about how her mother would not allow her father to see her because he had disappointed her so many times by saying he was coming and then not showing up. Her mother then decided to “cut him off” entirely to spare her daughters feelings and the woman never saw her father again. Years later she found out that he had continued to attempt to see her but her mother would not allow it. This birthed a small resentment towards her mother and now she had to deal with resenting both of her parents, her father for not being around and her mother for not letting him. This is a sad story, but unfortunately, it is a common one.
I’ve had the privilege of not only growing up in a home with both of my parents who are still married today, and I am also raising my two children with my best friend and husband who is also their father. I am very grateful for my circumstances and very grateful to my parents who may have had numerous opportunities to go their separate ways but instead, put my well-being and that of my siblings, ahead of their own personal feelings and desires. I am also grateful to my husband who continues to put up with my many “complexities” because he loves his children and wants them to have a safe and secure home. That being said, I never fail to mention that our marriage has not worked because we were “lucky” to have found each other; it is actually quite the opposite. We work at it and we do so, amongst other things, for the benefit of our children.
I share some of my personal story for one reason and that is simply to say that we all have different circumstances and we all make different choices about how we live our lives but let’s make the same choice when it comes to our children and their fathers. Let’s support the fathers of our children in being the best fathers that they can be regardless of their circumstances. Let’s set aside any negative thoughts and feeling and just focus on what is good and what is possible when a man loves his child or his children and they have the opportunity to love him back.
Happy Father’s Day.