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Black Fathers: Get Involved!
1/20/2016 5:17:28 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

The New Year barely got off to a start and there are three homicides on record in the tri-county area. In light of the recent killings, I have decided to speak out this year against domestic violence and black on black murders. While this was not a black on black murder, I am constantly reminded of the senseless killing of Alex Apps, a white College of Charleston student, killed by black males while trying to sell his truck on Craigslist.

When I think of the number of senseless violence and murders in our communities, I think of the impact on families. The media tends to sensationalized black crimes while playing down white crimes. Crime is crime no matter who is doing it. Admittedly, there is more than a fair amount of black on black crimes. Investigators are still looking for the person that gunned down 26 year old Antwon Green in a West Ashley Barber Shop. The shooting occurred in broad daylight. Somebody had to have seen something. That’s when my thoughts turned to the important role of fathers in the early development of their sons.

Fathers are certainly under appreciated. A “good father” is worth his weight in gold. Every man that has fathered a child is not necessarily a father. Y’all know that, right? A father provides for his children, sets examples and instills values. Fathers teach their children life skills. Fathers should share in the discipline in the home. Looking back at my earlier years, discipline was left up to my dad. Now that I have had time to think about it, that was a mistake. I often thought the punishment did not fit the crime.

In recent years, single moms have had to be the disciplinarian in the absence of fathers. Thus, the decline in behavior and respect for authority are evident. The difference between a mother’s and father’s discipline is most mothers tend to be “softies”. A mother will issue a verbal warning about what action she would take if her child does not follow her command. She will repeat the warning several times to the point of frustration. She may even perform the chores herself.

Fathers handle things a little differently. Old time fathers, not the fathers of today, will issue one warning and before he is finished you are up and stepping. I think the “old time fathers” back then was too harsh but in retrospect, the fruits of their labor are testaments of their love and commitment to their children.

Many young fathers today are not taking the time to shape their boys into men. It takes time to develop a child into finer manhood. It is far from an easy job. Every dad believes his son has the potential to become a great athlete but how many believe their child can become a great scientist? On any given day, you may see dad in the park passing his athletic skills along to his son but how many fathers spend time grooming their sons to be respectful and to achieve beyond expectations? When his son is recognized for a special award, he sticks his chest out and brags about “his boy” accomplishments.

I bet that rascal won’t stick his chest out in court and fess up to being the deadbeat dad that he is. On one hand he has not been around to help guide his son to manhood, but on the other hand he feels disappointed when his child gets into trouble. Oftentimes, the basis for the trouble is the absence of dad. Dads, you have got to stick in there when things are going good as well as when they are not. Your son may not always get it right the first time but if you stick around long enough eventually he will. And don’t be so hard on him when he messes up because his mess just may be traced back to the errors of your ways. You will obtain better results if you encourage and not discourage.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to those fathers that have not abandoned their responsibilities. Let’s give credit where credit is due. There are some awesome dads out there spending an awesome amount of time with their children whether they are in or out of the home. Now for those deadbeat dads when are you going to get your act together? Stop disowning your children to avoid child support. You know darn well those buggas are yours. They not only look like you and act like you, but they count backwards just like you do.

There are dads that work two and three jobs to take care of their children and there are deadbeats who work “no jobs”. Deadbeat dads are so busy running from pillar to post they don’t see the harm they are causing their sons until it is too late. Your son is out at odd hours of the night robbing and raping. Your babies are selling and using drugs. And, don’t forget they are out there bang, bang shooting up each other like they are in the wild, wild west.

You couldn’t get a deadbeat dad to attend a parent teacher conference if his life depended on it. Deadbeat dads won’t hold down a job more than a few months because they know DSS will track them down through their workplace. A deadbeat dad can’t help his children with homework because he didn’t stay in school long enough to do his. Mr. Deadbeat knows all of the street games including denying the authenticity of his children. Even when the DNA is indisputable, dads continue to deny paternity to avoid paying child support. Here is the true DNA test dad. If that child’s hair is nappy like yours, he is yours. If he sneaks and drinks beer at an early age like you did, he is yours. If he is lazy and shiftless like you were, he is yours. What other proof do you need?

Fathers, deadbeat or otherwise, some of y’all live in the house with your children and allow them to do whatever it is they want to do. You don’t have the guts to tell your sons to pull those pants up on their butts and your daughters to get those burgundy and blue horse hair rope braids out of their hair out of fear your children won’t “like” you. If you call yourself a father, be one. Fathers make decisions that are not popular but decisions that are in the best interest of their children whether they like it or not. Fathers, stop trying to be popular and do what is right! Being a good dad is no assurance that your kids won’t go astray or get involved in drugs but the likelihood is at least 70% more unlikely. Let’s work this year on reclaiming our black sons and reducing black murders in our neighborhoods.

Absentee Fathers, it’s not too late to get involved with your sons. It’s time to fess up that you messed up. Stop trying to make excuses for your absence. Your presence is needed to guide your children from birth to maturity and even beyond if that is what it takes.


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