How ironic, this post is being written the 1st day of the month we recognize our fathers, or the men in our lives who play a fatherly role. Father’s Day in the black community has a different tone than that of other communities. Sad to say a lot of our fathers are missing. A lot of our fathers are the “reasons” for our short comings and flaws. My father was taken from me at a young age, so I’m not writing from life experience, my references are that of conversations and observations.
THE BLAME GAME: In watching different television shows displaying bad behavior (in my Iyanla Vanzant voice), I grew tired of hearing men and women blame their actions on not having a father in their lives. I understood people reacting to the absence of a father in the household or in their lives period, but I couldn’t understand adults blaming their behavior rather than accepting responsibility for their actions. Children blame their actions on others, as adults you have the mental capacity to understand that your actions and reactions dictate the journey you take. Shows such as Bad Girls Club, Basketball Wives, Fix My Life, Locked Up, Beyond Scared Straight and any other shows that display bad behaving individuals seeking help to right their wrongs, often tried to get to the core of the issue, placing all the blame on not having or knowing their father. It irritated me to hear the reasons for their behavior or the reason their lives turned out to be jacked up was because they had not fatherly influence. What about those of us who are doing well in spite of…?
I do believe that fathers play a major role with influencing their children’s behavior, I understand that different people react in different ways, but I don’t think its okay to blame another for your actions. What about that bad behavior exhibited by those who come from a two parent home?
INACTIVE FATHER: I found it interesting that at one point this year, I had a conversation with 3 different men about their fathers. I hadn’t asked a question to spark the conversations, the guys just spoke about recent incidents dealing with their fathers. Three different men, 3 different parts of this country, 3 different lifestyles and personalities discussing with me the idle (not idol-understand the difference) role of their fathers in their lives.
One father-never around throughout his son’s childhood, and suddenly has an interest in being around him as an adult. This man wants nothing to do with his father, expressing anger towards his mother for updating his father on their son’s well doings and whereabouts. Feelings of annoyance seep out when any amount of concern or advice is voiced. Conversation of attending his funeral one day, with doubt of emotional reactions.
Another father-Remarried during their childhood, remarried a woman with a child from a previous relationship. Treated stepson better than own sons. The boys spent summers with their father, hating it. Resentment lasting well into adulthood. The men respect their father simply because he is their father, but get no enjoyment from spending time with him. Resentment has severed their bond.
Another father– Son never met father, has no desire to meet father, and only has the goal of being a better father to his daughter than he had for himself.
Not knowing why these men felt compelled to share their feelings on this topic, it was clear that it was a common theme in our community and that I needed to write about it.
So now what? What do we do besides try to break the pattern? We definitely should forgive, but forgetting will only lead to misunderstanding. Is it ok to resent your father for being a better father to a different child than he was to you? Should you just be happy that he worked on some things and eventually became a better father? How true is the forgiveness in these situations. Should/could you allow your father another chance to play an active role in your life? Regardless of the reasoning behind the missing father, the lack of a strong male figure in the household as either role model, disciplinarian, or confidante affects the mind and structure of the black family.
Just a lil of the TRUTH…
A-Z Challenge Letter “A”