Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Celebrated Father!

Thanks to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, we have observed and celebrated Father’s Day in the United States on the third Sunday of June since 1910.  Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day took some time to be fully recognized and accepted.

Although men provide the sperm necessary to fertilize the eggs women carry in order to formulate one of God’s greatest creations—children, their day of celebration is not revered as strongly as Mother’s Day. And many might pose the age-old question…why??  We can most certainly assume many reasons for the discrepancies in the treatment and the celebration of fathers, compared to Mothers.

Mothers carry their children for nine months (on most occasions), they provide the pains of labor, and are generally the primary caretakers of their children during their formative years, and beyond. This intense and emotional involvement between mother and child provides a connection and a bond that fathers cannot rival.  And because of the roles we tend to slot women and men into, it is expected that women will mother their children and form nurturing relationships, while men are expected to ‘head the house,’ assume the role of ‘bread winner,’ and leave the emotional and spiritual guidance of their children to mothers.

These often skewed and misrepresented beliefs about the roles of mothers and fathers in the lives of their children many times handicap fathers in their God-given abilities to display emotions with their children. They also prohibit fathers from experiencing their human side, and sharing it with their children.  As a result, we have experienced generation after generation of children either growing up with fathers who are emotionally absent, physically absent, or totally unknown to their children (for one reason or another).  But, whatever the case, every child is created with the help of a man…the man called father.

Many fathers are given a bad reputation based on their seeming unavailability in the lives of their children. They are often ascribed negative labels when they are not there for their children—emotionally, physically, and financially. Some of these labels range from being called, “sperm donors,” “dead beat dads,” etc. Sadly, seventy percent of African-American households are headed by single mothers; there is no father present.  Whatever the reason, there are too many children without fathers; and there are too many GREAT men who are not with their children!   

According to a Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 report, 18.9% of fathers who are unemployed are caring for their children without a partner in the home.  Further, 81.6% of employed fathers are in households with mothers.  And what about the ‘house husbands?’ These are men who for one reason or another, have opted to stay home with their children, reversing the stereotypical roles of fathers. There are even many more men who, through death or divorce, have taken on the role of primary caretakers for their children.

Then there are those fathers who desperately want to be with their children; to parent them, guide them, to play a major role in their children’s lives, and above all, to love them unconditionally. But, for many fathers, circumstances foreseen or unforeseen have rendered them incapable of doing so or unable to do so.  Nonetheless, to those fathers who have weathered the storm and beat the odds to not only father children, but to play an integral role in the lives of their children, we take our hats off to you. Are they doing anything spectacular? Not necessarily...this is just what GREAT fathers do!

Fathers are not perfect! As a matter-of-fact, who is?!?!  Let’s celebrate fatherhood and the men who have stepped up to the plate and continue to step up to the plate in the lives of their children.  It is incumbent upon each of us to remind fathers that we expect no less of them as fathers than we do of mothers.  As you embark upon the occasion to celebrate Father’s Day, here is your opportunity to celebrate the man who was instrumental in your existence as a human being…your father.

Whether your father played a major role in your life or not, you cannot deny the fact that he contributed to your life in a major way. HE HELPED TO CREATE YOU! And, it is acknowledged that there are many of you who don’t know who your biological father is; you’ve never met your biological father; you know who your father is, but either you could not or did not claim him (or vice versa); or you are estranged from your father for one reason or another. Either way, Father’s Day is the time for you to celebrate the man who assumed the role of father in your life.

Here is your opportunity to pay homage to the man who has shown you love, guided you, spent quality time with you, didn’t give up on you during tough times, and has been a shoulder to lean on.  This man doesn’t have to be your biological father; but if he has shown you the qualities of a father, he is worth celebrating. You might know him as dad, granddad, uncle, an older brother, a trusted male neighbor, a male family friend, or a male mentor; take the time to thank him and celebrate him!!

It is also important to recognize that there are many fathers who have not only stepped up to the plate when it came to their biological children; they stood by the plate, as well as on the plate with and for their biological children and non-biological children. It is time to recognize these AWESOME men for the wonderful job they have done and/or continue to do as fathers!

If you are not sure as to whether the man who has assumed the role of father in your life deserves celebrating or not, consider the characteristics below of Fathers Who Step Up to the Plate.”

A Celebrated fathers who “Step Up to the Plate”:
·      Acknowledges his children
·      Is responsible and accountable for his children
·      Loves his children unconditionally
·      Spends quality time with his children
·      Prioritizes his children
·      Is not afraid to be human
·      Is willing to recognize and admit that he is powerless; there is a power greater than hi,
·      Is willing to admit it isn’t all about him; it’s about his children
·      Is willing to set a strong foundation for his children
·      Is a role model for his children and others
·      Is a positive example for his children; sons and daughters
·      Strives to go from good to BEST as a man and a father
·      Are not normal, but EXTRAORDINARY in their role as father
·      Takes a stand for and with his children
·      Sacrifices for his children
·      Recognizes that he has a moral and spiritual responsibility to his children
·      Recognizes that his relationship with his children entails more than money
·      Is willing to forgive himself and others for the role he played or didn’t play in the lives of his children
·      Is willing to apologize to and ask his children for forgiveness for the role he played or didn’t play in the lives of his children
·      Is willing to start where he is to have a healthy relationship with his children
·      Is willing to listen and learn
·      Is not willing to avoid his child support responsibilities
·      Takes precautions to not continue to make children he cannot take care of
·      Shows his children that the greatest love he can show them is the love he has for their mother…no matter what the situation or relationship
·      Respects himself, his children, and their mother