Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

This Sunday, June 21, is Father's Day. Unlike Mother's Day, when you can't walk into any restaurant and get a seat, reservations won't have to be made days in advance to take Dad out to eat.

For real fathers (and I mean people who are more than sperm donors) it's a day to celebrate the real men of our community. They are the ones who not only have created children, but have taken on the responsibility for those children as well. And if you're a man who has abandoned your own children to raise another woman's kids, you get no credit from me. Because whatever the reason for doing it is, it's just an excuse!

Father's Day is truly one of the most underrated holidays on the calendar - especially in the black community, where the stigma of fatherless children is so overwhelming. And although the reasons that men abandon their children are as varied as the raindrops that fall from the sky, my focus is on celebrating the men who are fathers.

First, let's give kudos to the men who did it the right way. They met, married and started a family all in that order. No matter how much we as women may proclaim ourselves to be independent; we only marry because a man has asked. My role model for that is our current president, Barack Obama.

Next let's give credit to stepfathers. They are the men who met a woman with children and stepped up to the plate. Be it the woman with one child or even one with eight, they didn't fear taking on the responsibility of raising children. After watching a special on his life, I have to make this year's role model former Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner.

Finally, to the unwed fathers: For whatever reason your relationship with the mother didn't work out, you were there for your children. From the moment of conception to their birth and to this day, you were and are there for your children. You signed that birth certificate so that your children will have your name and not have the space filled in with "unknown." My role models are all the countless and nameless individuals who have taken on that responsibility. So just fill in the blank!

Let's give a word of thanks for any father who no matter the reason made the effort to do for their child even if it meant dealing with "baby mama drama." You showed up for birthday parties even though you weren't the first invited or the most welcome guest. You continued to call to speak with your child even though it mean listening to verbal abuse from their angry mama. You showed up for your visitation day even though the mama played games by making you wait, not having the child ready on time or calling the police when you brought the kid home five minutes late. You paid the child support and held your tongue as you wondered why her nails are always done but your child has holes in their shoes. You made sure that all your children knew one another even if they have a number of different mothers. You were the temporary stand-in father because you were the coach for the team, the mentor at the church, the teacher in the school or just the neighbor on the block.

To every one of you: Happy Father's Day!

3 comments:

Bill Baar said...

thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Arlene,
You are wonderful. What a great piece. Thanks for being such an important part of the Weekly.
Dan

Syron said...

Hey Arlene,

Thanks for buying tissue, please keep ordering from us 1800 861-6541. I did not know you grew up in Cabrini, I use to live at 1158 N. Cleveland. My cousins went to Jenner and my mom graduated from Cooley High.