The African American father of today still carries a triple load. First, a firm MAJORITY of us are working to support, provide, and raise our OWN families. Second, a firm MAJORITY of us are helping to ‘mentor’ or ‘raise’ children from single parent and/or blended homes. Third, a firm MAJORITY of us are working IN and AROUND many of our local communities to help steer many of our young men AND young women into godly and upright living.
Unfortunately, many—even in the Black community—cry for more from US rather than taking responsibility for themselves. They refuse to go to the well and draw their OWN water for living. Say Amen, somebody!
You will not see many REAL fathers doing their thing in the feminized mainstream mess (FMS) as it is more important–in our view–to get the job done, rather than pose for the cameras, or appear on talk shows explaining why we do, what we do. But it SURE would be nice for many in our communities to take the time to remember that they have gotten where they are thanks to TWO people. A Black mother AND a Black father.
Not only is this the truth, and not a ‘self-esteem’ lesson, but also this is REALITY.
It SURE would be nice to find some peace among our people in many of our own communities. I’ll be happy to explain why, in just a few lines.
SELF-ESTEEM MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRUTH?
African American men in general–and African American fathers in particular– have been poked, prodded, studied, examined, and re-examined over the last 30 years by a host of sociologists, psychologists, MSWs, counselors, “Think Tanks” (both Democrat and Republican), economists, feminists, multi-culturalists, diversity speakers and media pundits–of various races. We’ve been ‘chewed on’ by women (single and/or married), ‘gossiped about’ in various magazines and ‘disrespected’ by our youth (many of whom are the very ones WE are trying to keep from a premature death or a long stay behind bars).
But then—some sunlight peeks through!
But then–along comes Michael Jordan who honors his late father.
But then–along comes Tiger Woods who honors his father.
But then–along comes the Williams sisters who honor their father.
And ALL the critics are at a loss for words.
They are shocked—shocked—to find that the soft, fuzzy, feel good ‘self-esteem rhetoric’ which they have been spouting towards Black folk has been firmly replaced by a strong WORK ethic with VISIBLE results! The critics are amazed to find that there are SOME–if not MANY–Black fathers who still believe: “If you WANT something, you have to WORK for it–and self-esteem DOES NOT pay bills, win scholarships nor championships!”
Perhaps, IF more Caucasian fathers took a page from the Black father training manual, THEIR children would not be dropouts, unwed mothers, transgender, LGBTQ, or blowing their brains out with drugs and bullets. (NarCan, Anyone?)
GOD IS ALWAYS STRANGE—TO THOSE WHO RUN FROM HIM:
The truth? As long as Black fathers led—not followed—their families to church and lived out their Christianity and KJV Bible learning in front of their wives and children, all was well. When Black fathers had a firm relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we may not have had much in the way of monetary gains—but we had a firm grip on our homes and families. Our wives and children may cut up on occasion, but Black fathers—by and large–ruled their own castles.
It still holds true today. If you doubt me, get out a copy of James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”. The LONG version on YT.
Yes, the feminized mainstream entertainment coven may try to portray that ‘Father DON’T Know Best’ (what else is new), but the truth is right in front of them. Fathers are wise men; they have been through the battles of life and keep up the fight!
A GRIM REALITY—GOT TO LISTEN TO YOUR OWN FATHER:
If I may get biblical for a moment, one of the Ten Commandments holds that we are to honor BOTH our father and mother, so that our lives may be long upon this earth. It is the first commandment with promise. To make it short and sweet: we must honor BOTH! Not because it is ‘politically correct’, but because it is RIGHT!
I might as well drop this one in here at this point. Mama is not a paragon of virtue either. Let us tell the truth. There are plenty of Mothers who have been AWOL in the parenting ranks. In a LOT of cases—if the truth be told—it all ain’t Papa’s fault. Nevertheless, Father AND Mother are to be honored by their children.
Many of the problems of today can be traced to three things related to yesterday: Rebellion, Compromise, and a lack of listening to one’s father! Remember this, my young brothers: Your father may not ‘be’ as ‘cool’ as you would like him to be in comparison to the ‘hipsters’ in your favorite Rap/Hip Hop video. What you see on a video screen is NOT reality. It is merely a perception by the Rap/Hip Hop video artists and producer—and many of their perceptions are way off base! The entertainment industry pushes ignorance of a grim reality. God gets involved when one dismisses or makes light of their father. The results of those who rebel against God—and do not repent and humble themselves—are harsh, if not downright deadly and final.
Another grim reality, my young brothers? There is something cool in a father who takes care of his home…whether he’s there in person or not. His influence is not that hard to miss. IF you are blessed, you’ll be a better husband and father IF you listen to the good advice of your own father and extend mercy to the bad. For some of you other brothers: IF you are blessed to know where you father is, and don’t talk with him? You are missing out on the good and the bad he has to share with you.
He’s been…where you’ve got to go!
During my days and nights as a Probation Officer, I was amazed at the number of young men who committed crimes, in the hopes of going to jail or prison to spend time with their fathers in the joint. Mama wouldn’t keep in touch with Papa while he was locked up (sometimes out of spite; sometimes based upon what other members of her family or ‘sistahfriends’ said) and would keep the children from him. Sisters, I might as well make it plain to you. That child needs to keep in touch with their father…even if he is in the joint. Men behind prison walls CAN teach. They can also write letters…IF you would let your son or daughter receive them.
Contrary to popular belief…many men don’t walk away from their families. They can also be pushed away by insecure wives, or pushed away by manipulating children (with encouragement from their mothers or step-mothers).
Just because a man is behind prison walls does NOT mean that your wedding vows have been nullified, sisters, if you are his wife. Further, brothers, IF your wife is locked up; IF you are married to her, you need to continue to stand by her, and let your children visit her and communicate with her. Your children will thank your for it…down the road.
Over the years, there seems to be an annual flurry of articles and commentaries about what fathers ‘should’ be doing, or are ‘not’ doing, or ‘can’t’ do. Well, unless one has walked a mile in a father’s shoes could it be that the critics don’t want to see? One great piece of wisdom: You won’t truly understand what YOUR father went through, until you become one yourself—the ring, the preacher and all!
Many an ‘expert’ has an ax to grind about their own upbringing and try to paint ALL fathers with the same brush, just because they believe THEIR father was not perfect.
WOULDN’T TRADE A THING:
In truth, there are NO perfect earthly fathers. Frankly, until God gets ahold of a father (Psalm 119 KJV) or mother (Proverbs 31 KJV), they will NOT be able to fully to live up to the responsibilities of the parenting vocation. Amen?
African American fathers are NOT the problem: under Christ, they are part of the solution! America has found out the hard way the famed saying of T. D. Jakes: “A nation of women cannot raise up a nation of men!” America is suffering from E.O.D.—an estrogen overdose—and until it gets over ‘feelings’ and gets back to ‘reason’ and ‘logic’, no one will truly progress.
As a father myself, I’ve had my share of heartaches and headaches, but I wouldn’t trade any one of them to be a ‘wise’ critic of fatherhood. Distance nor divorce changes the fact that YOU are still the father of your kids, period. Even IF you have a payment book, they are still your kids. Sure, I’ve had my bumps along the road of life…but you learn from them, and pass on your experiences to your children—including your name.
To those who like to criticize, but don’t have kids of their own, here’s a novel suggestion: Put aside your selfishness and ‘self-esteem’, get married, and have some! Put some of YOUR skin on the line! Then, perhaps, you will understand what your OWN father have tried to tell YOU! Then maybe you will give your father some peace…because you will hope to have some for yourself. Amen?
Great excerpt from a favorite poem of mine that I received a long time ago. I don’t know who wrote it originally, but some of the more potent parts will resonate with the brotherhood:
4 Years Old: My Daddy Can Do Anything.
8 Years Old: My Father Doesn’t Quite Know Everything.
14 Years Old: Father? Hopelessly Old-Fashioned.
21 Years Old: Oh, That Man Is Out Of Date. What Did You Expect?
30 Years Old: Must Find Out What Dad Thinks About It?
50 Years Old: What Would Dad Have Thought About It?
65 Years Old: I Wish I Could Talk It Over With Dad, Once More.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Syndicated Columnist and Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Consultant from Indianapolis, Indiana. Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE: THE GOLD FILES. Bringing back some of the classic THE MANHOOD LINE columns for a new generation of men. THE MANHOOD LINE was and is a syndicated, monthly column, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective FOR MEN. Email welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2002, 2021 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (4).