“Happy Father’s Day Mom”…I quickly had to correct my son when he uttered these words to me this past Father’s Day. I explained to him that although I am a single mother, I could and would never be able to fill the role of his father or any male for that matter. Surely his father’s name wouldn’t even be mentioned as one of the nominees for The Father of The Year Award, but I still could never accept that pat on the back.
For starters, it’s spiritually and biologically impossible. Futhermore, I already had my day in May; it’s called Mother’s Day. I truly wonder where we as a culture went wrong with accepting, allowing and at times making fun of this very serious issue. This year, Mahogany, an African-American line of greeting cards, extended their line to include cards that reflect Happy Father’s Day Mom and Happy Mother’s Day Dad. Hallmark actually released these cards this year and added yet another option to choose from, as if selecting cards for occasions as this isn’t already overwhelming and in turn making light of a truly serious problem in the Black community.
I am well aware of the issues surrounding fatherless homes in our communities. The breakdown of the traditional American family has led to this major crisis. Instead of bashing men who are failing at being a father, we should take a look at the underlying issues because this truly affects us all in some way. I think it’s much deeper than just being irresponsible and ignorant to the fact. Many men have never witnessed a positive male role model in their own life to teach them responsibility and/or the ins and outs of manhood. For those males who did, it’s sometimes overwhelming to follow in those same footsteps in this day and age. Some women often deprive men of their role as a father. Believe it or not, our upbringing affects us in so many ways. Many carry childhood issues into adulthood which our children are forced to bear witness to. It’s not a coincidence that our communities are experiencing high rates of teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, gun wars and gang violence.
So on Father’s Day, let’s celebrate the fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives and let’s remind those who aren’t just how important it is for them to get involved. I never want to make excuses for men not being involved, but we have to get past the finger pointing. Let’s face it; fathers play a vital role in a child’s life, one that could never be fulfilled by a woman, even with our superwoman capabilities. The roles of a mother and father aren’t interchangeable and both roles are essential in the healthy development of our children. It’s never too late to step up to the plate. We all must vow to get involved and make a change because our sweet innocent babies are being affected every day.
From the mind of Eboni B.