Tonight I have been blessed to stumble across the gem “From Fatherless to Fatherhood” on ASPIRE and I am really inspired by it! The terrible part is that this film came out 3 years ago and I’m just now hearing about it — but better late than never in this case. This documentary (created by Kobie Brown) addresses some key truths when discussing how fathers being absent or present affect children and their own personal decisions.
The entire film (which is a little over an hour long) is weaving perspectives and raw thoughts and feelings of various men and women on fathers. There were women who admitted to making poor decisions because their fathers weren’t there. They found themselves living the stereotype of “the angry black I-Dont-Need-You independent woman” because that’s how they were FORCED to be by growing up in a household where the woman was alone and doing everything on her own. They also responded to men who say they choose to date outside of their race because they can’t deal with the attitude. One woman simply said that she and other women portray this stereotype don’t WANT to be like that but they never had their dad stick around long enough (or any man for that matter) so they are ready to fight and prepare themselves to do without men because they go into relationships already expecting to be let down.
Black men, which included gospel star Kirk Franklin, were also interviewed and candidly stated that they got into trouble growing up because they didn’t have that balance from their fathers in the household. They were just big ball of emotions and didn’t know what to do with them all so they would act out in school, join gangs, or sleep around on women because they grew up not knowing how to be anything else! The same with the single mothers that were interviewed. They wished they had their child’s father in the household to balance their parenting skills. No one does anything perfectly — and aside from the obvious disparity that comes with a single income household, emotional balance is lacking in households with one parent.
Sex is the smallest part of a meaningful relationship; ESPECIALLY when it comes to having children. If you have a child with someone you can’t even get along with, you should really give your all in thinking if being physical with them is even worth it. Even if you’ve married and divorced — your kids still need to have that constant flow of love, nurturing, and attention from their fathers — from their PARENTS! “It’s easy to have a partner in parenting than trying to do it all by yourself.”
But the lesson that literally screamed at me while watching this film is this — plain and simple. If you are a selfish person it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be a good parent…point blank AND period.
You’re going to have to sacrifice some of YOUR comfort for your child. Your love for them should borderline exceed your love for yourself. You should want to see them succeed in life. Being a good parent takes discipline. If you are a father or mother, you need to be physically and mentally present in your kid’s life. Help them with their homework without having to be asked. Take them to the park to get some fresh air. Take them out for an ice cream cone. Turn on the hose and make a homemade sprinkler. Don’t make your children have to FIGHT to get your attention.
Yes it is true, I don’t have kids of my own and may catch some flack for this but I don’t care — I know PLENTY of grown folk in their twenties and thirties who are TERRIBLE parents! I don’t have to have children of my own to see the effects of a sorry parent or one who’s not present. I am the product of a two parent household where I have grown up seeing what a 30 + marriage looks like. I know FIRST HAND the benefits and differences that come when you have the balance of a present and active father in the household. Though my life hasn’t been perfect and I haven’t always gotten what I wanted, my father was ALWAYS there to give me little hints of wisdom, buy my favorite candy from the convenient mart, bring soup up to my room when I was sick, make encouragement cards to give me when I was feeling at my lowest, teach me how to ride a bike and roller skate — I am the well rounded, loving person I am today because I didn’t have parents who just stuck me in front of the tv, but actually INTERACTIVELY loved me.
I look at my life and some of my friends who have been forced to live in single parent homes and it, and always has, hurt my heart. Though we have all made similar mistakes, I know none of mine were because I didn’t have a father present in my life — it was because of my own strong will.
Watching this film has once again made me realize how thankful I am for my parents, but also stirs up some hurt in my heart because I know so many deadbeat fathers (AND mothers). It’s ridiculous.
And before I end this post I want to point out that being someone’s father or mother doesn’t make you a DADDY or a MAMA.
If you would rather sit and daydream about “making it big” all day instead of help your child with their home work — you’re NOT present.
If you can spend money on clothes and trips and parties while your child looks like they’re one step away from the gutter — you’re NOT present.
If you spend more time with your girl, dude, or friends and always stick your child w/a baby sitter or in front of the tv — you’re NOT present.
If you can’t help your child with their homework or at least find a tutor and throw up your hands while they struggle — you’re NOT present.
If you give your child WHATEVER they want, just so they can “shut up” and “be good” while you sleep your life away — you’re NOT present.
If your kid is wreaking havoc on the mall or office and you don’t correct them YET talk about somebody else’s child — you’re NOT present.
The black community HAS GOT to do better about having good, faithful, strong fathers in the household or else this cycle will continue to repeat itself.
** all photos courtesy of the film and film’s website