Father’s Day should be an indiscriminate day of celebration. However, the celebrations will be few and far between in black households … The devastating single parent rate of 72 percent among black women all but guarantees it. Further, the inescapable barrage of “Happy Father’s Day” messages that are being transmitted today are likely to incense the fatherless, triggering anger and resentment that may otherwise lie dormant. But maybe it’s good to expose the silent killer, so “he” can be dealt with.
The absence of you, the father, the man, the teacher causes devastation in the lives of your children that may not be realized in the immediate. Single mothers use the gift that God gave them of nurturing love to attempt to fill the void, but the fact of the matter is it’s just not enough. A mother simply can’t give to a child what you, the father, are designed to provide. Take a look at these statistics from Children-our investment.org:
63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes;
90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes;
85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes;
80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes;
71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes;
75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes; and
85 percent of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes.
Single black mothers are loved and appreciated for what they do, but, based on those startling statistics, the brokenness abounds when black fathers are absent.
African Americans are obviously resilient beings and can find ways to survive hardships, as throughout history we’ve endured and overcome challenges to our basic human rights. But the difference is the harm done by absent fathers is self-inflicted and avoidable. Short of untimely death, when you’re absent as a father, you choose to ravage the lives of your children and, ultimately, of your community. When you walk away and avoid your responsibilities, you visit certain destruction on the black community at large.
Sure, relationships fail and personalities clash, but there is never an excuse good enough to abandon a child and leave just one parent holding the bag. The repercussions economically, as well as on child-rearing, make it virtually criminal to do so. If the courts need to be involved to mediate a workable visitation solution, it’s your duty and obligation to take that route.
As the number of “lost ones” in the black community continues to swell, absent black fathers, recognize your culpability and be there for your children. You’re the only one who can do what you’re supposed to do. And to those black fathers who are there and are doing their best to help raise their children despite circumstances that could make it easier not to, Happy Father’s Day. –gerald a. radford