What does it mean to be a father? Scientifically, it means any male ancestor, that is the simplistic answer. By that definition, there are millions of “fathers” all over the world. If you’re absent from the child’s life are you that child’s father? Biologically, yes you are that child’s father. In any other sense of that word you ARE NOT A FATHER, you are a sperm donor. Now, more than ever before children need their father’s. With the state of the world today, it is imperative for children to have a positive male and female image and presence in their lives. I have always believed that it is never to late to make a change or difference as long as you’re alive.
I am not here to lecture or to preach. I am going to state facts, and things that I know to be true. There are those in the black community that still think that men are gay because they see Tyler Perry and ALL the guys on Instagram wearing wigs. Imagery may allow for confusion of a child when they’re young, but I don’t think you choose to be gay; you’re born that way. No amount of male influence can rewire a person or cause the to be attracted to one sex or another.
Now, that we have that out of the way I am speaking specifically to MEN. If you have contributed half the genetic make up of a person on this planet (excluding actual sperm donors) you have an obligation to that child to be actively present in that child’s life. I don’t care if you did not have a father or if you had a bad father, this is not about you and your childhood. There is no manual on how to be a parent. You do the best you can and hope that you’ve done the right thing.
If you are paying child support, forced or voluntarily, and do not see and or interact with that child, you are not a father. Anybody can send a check, financially supporting your child is only a portion of your responsibility to that child, and the least important of all of your responsibility. My father got my mother pregnant and lost his baseball scholarship because my grandfather said he had responsibility and he (my grandfather) was not going to do his job. That’s how my parents got married. It’s also how my father ended up in the Marine Corps. That was the way things were done back then, and while I certainly don’t say if you impregnate a woman you have to marry her, but you most certainly take care of and be a father to that child.
My father gave me my moral code; he taught me how a woman should be treated, how to deal with peer pressure, how to properly tie a necktie among many other things. For my sister, he provided how a man should treat her and not to settle for ANYTHING less than that. I readily admit that he told her to keep her legs closed, period, while he told me “wrap it up” and do my thing, but not with the “good girls.” Basically, a double standard but he was there! I loved my father, he was flawed like we all are, but he was there.
I am the father that I am because of my father. I love my son fiercely as my father did before me. I am no longer with his mother and am actually raising him on my own, but if his mother had custody it would still be my face he saw at night before he went to bed. I removed him from the United States because it is a violent and reckless place where you are murdered for being a black male.
I am not perfect and find myself second guessing some of my decisions but I’ll never regret and wonder what his childhood was and will be like because I was there, I am there, and I always will be there. Any real man steps up and handles his responsibilities and does not make excuses about what that child’s mother is or didn’t do for you. When you lay down with a woman you accept any and all consequences of that decision. The child did nothing to cause you not to be there.
Any male can make a baby, only a man can be a Father.
artwork courtesy of the Fatherhood Project
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TK’s Bio: Terrence Kyrell Hodge I was born 9/13/79, in what was then W. Berlin Germany, to Qualise and Lieutenant Tyrone Hodge of the United States Marine Corps. He lived in London England and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2000 with BA in English and Political Science. Terrence writes about any and everything. Terrence is planning a series of novels that are works of “faction” part factual (nonfiction) and partly fictional. He plans to bring a dual vision of American and European observation and opinions to PMA. He will bring blunt honesty with a sense of comedy. He says “I will write wherever I’m needed as I am NOT a one trick pony.”