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Friday, June 14, 2013

The untold story behind the of the lack of fathers

I know this blog space isn't always the place for the most serious of topics, but since Father's Day is Sunday, this entry is quite timely.

We like to laugh, joke and tease (myself included) about men who have children they don't know about or don't claim, or "baby's daddies" and the lengths they will go to avoid paying child support, but this isn't one of those pieces.  Absentee fathers have a major impact on our communities, and the domino effects that follow are making the world we live in worse.

First and probably most obvious is the impact it has on boys and young men.  While mother's play a significant role in the lives of all children, at some point a boy needs an example of manhood to follow, someone to teach him not only what responsibility is, but what it looks like.  In too many instances, we have examples of dodging responsibility (and subsequently the negative talk surrounding those actions--which have another impact on the child, but that's another subject altogether) rather than examples of sacrifice in the face of responsibility.  Additionally, boys and young men need examples on how to treat women; often this initial impression is made on how the men his mother surrounds herself with treat her.  If the boy/young man observes men smash and dash on his mother, he will believe this is acceptable behavior--after all his mother tolerates it.  Other than the company a boy's mother keeps, an absentee father means a boys only other examples are what the entertainment industry provides--an industry determined to paint men as conquistadors of vagina.  The end result is men who believe women are objects to be used for their instant gratification who don't take any responsibility for the end result that often comes...another child.  And the cycle continues.

Less obvious is the impact on girls and young women.  Because of the above cycle, women are often forced to raise their little girls with a sense of independence.  While that certainly is not a bad thing, when those girls become women, it can negatively impact how they are able to work within a relationship setting (unless of course she finds a man who bends to her every whim).  The whole "I don't need you" attitude is in direct contrast to a situation (i.e. a relationship) that's supposed to be symbiotic--each person relying on the other for encouragement, strength, etc.  What one lacks the other should have...and be readily willing to provide it.  This blurs the line of the roles that each should play, since mom played all the roles that must mean the girl can play all roles too.  That simply doesn't work where two people are involved--a woman can't be the man and the woman at the same time when there is a man involved.  Women raised without a father also lack an example like the boys above of what a "man" should look like.  This can lead to a lot of trial and error and maybe a few baby daddies of their own.  Perhaps even worse you get a situation that breeds domestic violence--two people raised without fathers who have no idea the roles the other should play or how to treat each other with each trying to "show" the other who's boss (i.e. the girl asserting her independence and dominance; the man trying to assert the same).  And the cycle continues.

We honor single mothers for overcoming many trials to do an amazing thing--raise a productive member of society on their own.  But just because its done every day doesn't mean it should be.  This Father's Day if you know someone who needs to be in their children's lives, encourage them to be active participants.  Because despite all that mothers continue to do, the lack of fathers is hurting our communities more than we can tell on the surface.

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