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Real Fathers Live By Example
6/15/2016 11:33:17 AM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with establishing a day to recognize fathers. You might say she had an epiphany in 1909 while attending a Mother’s Day sermon at her church. Her father had raised her and her siblings alone and she wanted to do something to pay tribute to him for the sacrifices that he made. I am sure there are others who can lay claim to the establishment of Father’s Day.

Fathers are certainly under appreciated. A “good father” is worth his weight in gold. Every man who has fathered a child cannot lay claim to the title. Y’all know that, right? A father provides for his children, sets examples and instills values. A father teaches their children life skills. And fathers, for the most part, are the disciplinarian in the home. At least in my home, the 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. I think the punishment would have been a little less severe had discipline been left up to my mother. Well, maybe!

In recent years, mothers have had to add disciplinarian to their many tasks as single moms. Thus, the decline in behavior and respect for authority is evident. The difference between a mother’s and a father’s discipline is most mothers are “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 chore herself.

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

Many of the young fathers today are not taking the time to mold their boys into men. It takes time to develop a child into finer manhood. It is not an easy job. Every dad believes his son has the ability to be a great athlete but how many believe their son can be President? On any given day, you can see dads on the park passing along their athletic skills to their sons but how many fathers will buy their sons computers? When his child is recognized for a special award, he sticks his chest out and says “that’s my child”. I bet that rascal won’t stick his chest out in court while dodging child support and fess up to fatherhood. Of course not, there are consequences to fathers who sidestep their responsibilities. Although some fathers have not been around during the rearing of his son, he feels disappointed when his child gets into trouble. Oftentimes, the basis for the trouble is dad’s absence. Dads, you have got to stick in there during good times as well as bad times. Your son may not always get it right but if you stick around long enough, eventually he will.

A great deal of gratitude is owed to fathers who have not abandoned their responsibilities. We thank those dads for the shining examples that they are.

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 who work two and three jobs to take care of their children and there are dads like you who work “no jobs”. Deadbeat dads hop from woman to woman and bed to bed. You can’t take care of your children but you shack up with someone else and take care of theirs. You are so busy running from pillar to post that you seem not to care that your children are in the streets at odd hours of the night knocking folks down, robbing, raping and stealing pocketbooks. 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 employer. A deadbeat dad can’t help his children with homework because he didn’t stay in school long enough to do his. Deadbeat dads lie, cheat, steal and deal. Oh yes, Mr. Deadbeat knows all of the street games including denying the authenticity of his children. Even when the DNA is indisputable, he continues to deny that he is the father to avoid paying child support.

Fathers, deadbeat or otherwise, some of y’all live in the house with your children and you allow them to do whatever it is they want. You don’t have the guts to tell your sons to pull those pants up on their butts and your daughters to get those purple, green and blue horse hair braids out of their hair out of fear your children won’t “like” you. You know your son is selling drugs and packing a pistol, yet you say nothing. If you want someone to call you Father, be one. Fathers make decisions that are not popular but they make decisions that are in the best interest of their children whether they like it or not. Stop trying to be popular and do what is right for your children.

Fathers, there is still time for you to make amends. Find your children and do the right thing. Stop trying to evade your responsibilities. Mothers should not have to bear all of the responsibilities. Reclaim your children from the streets. Your presence is needed to guide your children from birth to maturity and then some more.

Children never really leave the nest; they leave for a while but return when the going gets tough. So, Mr. Deadbeat Dad, are you going to stop all of your slipping and sliding, peeping and hiding and step up to the plate? Well, are you?

In memory of my loving dad, John T. Gadson, who departed this life eight years ago, I miss you Daddy, but your teachings will be with me forever and so will those butt whippings. In keeping with biblical instructions, you did not spare the rod. Thanks for teaching your children how to fish. We were never without the basic necessities of life-- food, shelter and clothing. Thanks for being a real dad.

And for that, your children are forever grateful. Thank you Daddy! R.I.P.


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