Anyone can be a father but it takes a man to be a dad. This week I’m going to expose some personal things about myself just a tad. Usually my blogs are meant to make you laugh and give you a little chuckle. However, this week I want to discuss something that has an impact on millions of adults.
When children grow up without a solid, loving, God fearing, balanced dad in their lives, a lot of times they become insecure, unstable, confused and unbalanced adults. So many of us black women have had to make “I’m a strong black woman” our mantras just to survive and convince ourselves we can in fact do anything. Some are going to disagree with what I’m about to say but the truth is we can do a lot of things but we cannot teach a young black boy how to be a real man.
There’s a saying I often use. Wanna hear? Here it go: ‘Mothers usually raise their daughters and love their sons’. What does that mean? It means in a lot of black single mother families young daughters are taught very early on how to fend for herself. We are taught to cook, do our own laundry and most times cook and clean for the entire family.
I am the youngest child and the only girl. I have four older brothers. My mother taught me very early on how to take care of myself. She told me that I would need to be prepared. She planted that seed early because of her own experience. What she was telling me without saying it was to not expect a black man to remain in the picture for very long. My brothers were fairly independent, but my mother always went that extra mile for them to make sure they had what they needed to get through school and life in general…even into adulthood.
Now let me make this clear, my mother was and is very loving to me. She did everything she could to ensure that I was more than taken care of. However, for my brothers she always went the extra, extra mile. I asked her once when I was grown enough to ask her, why did she always run to my brothers’ rescue when they were in financial trouble or having emotional issues due to relationships or career decisions. She told me well, Tarvenia, you’ve always been able to take care of yourself. I told her because you taught me to early and often. Why not teach them the same thing. She said well your dad wasn’t around much for them. I told her he wasn’t around for me either. I cut my mom some slack because even she could see the importance of having a dad in the picture. Yes she overcompensated for my dad’s inconsistency, but she was really doing the best she could and I will never ever fault her for that.
Now that I’m good and grown as my mom would say and I have a son and an almost ex-husband of my own, I see clearly my mom’s POV (Point Of View). I’m doing my best to raise my son so that he will one day be an excellent man. But the truth is I cannot teach him to be a man, simply because I am not one. I want his dad to be more consistent in his life. I want his dad to see the importance of making it to his singing events and his upcoming piano recitals. I am trying to impress it upon his dad’s heart to call him more and pick him up and simply take him to the park. The park is free! I’ve offered him money when he said he was strapped for cash, his pride made him say no he cannot accept “that money”. When he says he doesn’t have enough gas in his car to come and pick him up I’ve offered to bring our son to him. Most times I’m met with an “I’ll think about it”. Pride is an ugly thing because it deprives someone else of you. My son could careless about money. He only wants to spend time with his dad. He often asks for him and wants to talk to him. Being a man means you will go to the ends of the earth for your child(ren).
One of my brothers understands this in a major way. He would get off of work on Friday evenings while living in New Jersey, get into his car and drive the four hours to Maryland to pick up his three sons and drive back to New Jersey for the weekend. Or he would get a hotel room and spend the weekend in Maryland with his boys. Come rain or shine. There’s no excuse. NONE!
I will say this in closing to all of you who have children and you know you have not done all that you can to be a part of their lives because you are so sure that the mom is taking care of it all…stand up and be a man right now. Do not allow your child(ren) to grow up without your consistent presence. Be a man and teach your young sons how to become men. The word man itself should mean responsibility. There are no magical elves who are going to come along and teach your son how to be a man. Chile Please!
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