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A Wake Up Call for Real Fathers
10/16/2013 4:36:51 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

In light of all of the recent killings, I have decided to wake up one of my old articles on the role of fathers. I was so moved by the senseless killing of Alex Apps, the College of Charleston student who was trying to sell his truck. At the same time that the murder occurred, the alleged perpetrators were on trial for the senseless killing of Marley Lion, recent graduate of Academic Magnet High School. Lion was planning to attend college in the fall. What a waste of life with such promising potentials. Life cut short by misguided offenders who chose a life of violence as their livelihood. That’s when my thoughts turned to how important the role of fathers is in the early development of their sons.

Fathers are certainly under appreciated. A “good father” is worth his weight in gold. Every man who 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, 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.

In recent years, single moms have had to add disciplinarian to their many tasks in the absence of fathers. Thus, the decline in behavior and respect for authority is evident. The difference between a mother’s and 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 time fathers, not the fathers of today, will issue one warning and before he is finished you are up 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 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 gentleman? On any given day, you can see dad on the park passing along his athletic skills 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 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 going bad. Your son may not always get it right the first time but if you stick around eventually he will.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to those 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 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, 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 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 braids out of their hair out of fear your children won’t “like” you. If you call yourself 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. Fathers, stop trying to be popular and do what is right!

Absentee Fathers, there is still time for you to make amends. Claim your children and do the right thing. Stop trying to evade your responsibilities. Your presence is needed to guide your children from birth to maturity and then some more. As fathers, you can help reduce the number of senseless crimes--crimes committed by your sons that you failed to raise.

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