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Positive Fathers Set Positive Examples
6/11/2014 4:31:43 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Although Father’s Day was created as a follow up to the recognition afforded mothers on their special day, fathers oftentimes do not receive the recognition they deserve. Perhaps, their special day has been overshadowed by fathers that abandon their children leaving mothers alone to raise the children.

Positive fathers are men of convictions. They do not seek to grab the spotlight from mothers but work quietly in the background making decisions, supporting mothers and nurturing their children from infancy to adulthood. That’s quite an awesome responsibility.

Historically, fathers have forged ahead to make sure their families had the basic necessities—food, shelter and clothing. Old school fathers were more concerned about making sure his children received a good education than about designer clothes and two hundred dollar tennis shoes. He was teaching his children how to fish. Old school fathers taught their children how to fish so they would be able to take care of themselves.

Recently, there have been several incidents involving fathers killing the mothers of their children. What must they be thinking? Or, are they thinking at all? Violent behavior exhibited by some fathers manifests itself in their children. While not trying to disparage fathers, there are also mothers who exhibit similar violent behaviors.

Children benefit from having loving, nurturing parents. I applaud fathers who hang in there when the going gets tough and take care of their children. To those fathers I salute you for raising men and not boys, men that give back and are not burdens on society, men that are positive and not negative and men that respect and not abuse women. The sons of good men are the foundation of a good society.

With spousal violence by black fathers on the rise, it’s no wonder that crime among youths are also on the rise. There has to be a correlation between absentee and/or violent fathers and violent children. If dad verbally abuses and slaps mom around, oftentimes the child develops similar behavior. It’s important for fathers to be positive role models in their children’s lives. Virtuous fathers not only establish rules, they set examples. They not only instruct but they discipline. The influence of fathers in the home is immeasurable.

My dad was skillful and a man of integrity. He always had a job and he made his way to that job every day. Dad did not lay around whining about his paycheck or circumstances. Even on his meager salary, he would scrape up enough money to take his children on trips. I was too young to understand the impact of those trips upon my life and that of my siblings. Although dad is gone, we still take family trips. Dad wanted his children to be well rounded and to know that there was a wide world of possibilities waiting to explore. He admonished his boys and protected his girls.

When I first started dating, dad prepared me for the hook and sinker boys. Dad’s talk was more of a fable but there was no denying what he meant. In other words, he was teaching me to be independent, to say “no” and not be coerced into doing anything that I did not want to do.

Tales often abounded about young ladies who gave up their virginity for a chicken box and a Coke, or even less. Dad wanted me to understand that I had a choice. He also made sure I had cab fares to get back home in case slick Rick tried anything.

I often tell this story about my first boyfriend because it is just as relevant today as it was back in the day. It’s about a father’s advice to his daughter. It’s about holding firm to your values. Rod picked me up from my door like the perfect gentleman. We talked about where we were going for the evening and somehow we ended up disagreeing. I told him to take me back home. He said he wasn’t. In my prideful manner, I said stop the car I have my cab fares. I recalled saying it more than once.

There were very few street lights and even fewer cars on the road back then. Here I was on a dark street with no taxis in sight. I thought to myself “mouth” you “done got” me in trouble. As the car came to a screeching halt, I thought surely Rob is not going to make me exit his car on this dark and what seemed to be a desolate street.

When it was evident that he was, I had too much pride not to get out on my own volition. Well, the last lights I remember seeing were the taillights of his car as he drove off.

Did my dad give me good advice? I was so absorbed with the darkness, I did not see when Rob stopped a few blocks away and turned off his headlights.

What good are cab fares if there are no cabs? Within minutes, Rob backed up and told me to get in the car. He told me twice but I allowed my pride to get in the way. I said you are just going to have to throw me in.

After the second time he said “don’t let me ask you again”. You better bet he didn’t have to ask me again.

I told “mouth” this time you get in the car and don’t open up until you get home. I told my dad about the incident and he said the next time something like that happens, call me.

Dad’s advice to call home was like having cab fares. If there are no phones, you can’t call home. I learned the basic principles of life from dad. I know how to take care of myself. Even in the absence of a taxi or telephone, I learned a valuable lesson. Until today, I don’t know if I had called daddy whether he was going to come and rescue me or he was going to “handle” that young man. That’s what daddies do.

They make sure their children have the tools they need to take care of themselves; and, when all else fail, they are willing to stand up in defense of their children.

Thanks daddy for teaching all of your children how to fish so we could take care of ourselves. And for that, your children are never without food. Thanks Brother-in-law, Nelson Bobo, for all that you do to keep our family trips going.


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