The other day, I came across an article entitled Stop Calling Sh*t Fatherless. The majority of the points made in the article I actually agreed with. The term itself is derogatory at best and inflammatory at worst. People toss it around flippantly on social media (I’m looking at you Twitter), and it has found its way into everyday conversation as well. Yes, there are bigger issues that affect society, and we need to promote an environment that encourages honest discourse.

But…what if the notion of fatherlessness is directly and indirectly connected to some of the social ills communities face? Nowadays anything that gives off a whiff of condemnation is shot down as judgmental and not progressive. Well, is it possible that our so-called progressiveness has actually caused society to regress?

*cue Jeopardy music*

Nevertheless, there are categories to being fatherless. Whatever the case, the term shouldn’t be tossed around as a slur. Calling someone fatherless doesn’t take into account the individual’s back-story. As a whole, men need to step up and be more proactive in their communities, irrespective of their ethnicity. Though my father was very active in my life, for most of my childhood, I grew up in a single mother household. Therefore, I will never slander a single mother doing what she has to do.

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This isn’t directed at the men who are trying to take care of their kids or are an integral part of their community. But men, we have to be proactive, not just do better. Fatherlessness is a problem for homes and communities. Yes, women are holding our communities down, but that’s because they have to. Where are the men who are willing to stand up and take charge? Women shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of holding down the neighborhood, protecting themselves, our kids, bringing home the bacon, and leading. This may come across as patriarchal, but they weren’t originally designed for that. But, we were.

The lack of a father/father figure does play a part in how boys turn into grown men, and how girls turn into grown women. Studies have borne this out. The root causes can be generational, such as when those in our parent’s generation saw Big Mama ruling the house. Or maybe Pop Pop was home but wasn’t doing much. The examples were set, and since that was what our parents saw, it seemed right to them. The fatherless epidemic also stems from issues that some men haven’t dealt with internally. Frankly, they need healing, and some may even need to be taught how to be present in the life of their child.

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Then, there are men who don’t do what they’re supposed to do, period. They don’t see a need to step up, nor do they want to. Other than selfishness, there isn’t anything that prevents them from being present. For those who are “fatherless,” this is what stings most of all. To know that a man could be around, for his family and community, but he chooses not to was unfathomable at one time. Now, we expect it. I’m not sure if that says more about the individual or society, but I digress.

The lack of having a father manifests itself in various ways depending on the person. For young men it could be the beginning of heading down the criminal road, or it could fuel them to greatness. For young women it could lead to frigidity towards men, promiscuity, or inspire them as well. Again, it manifests itself in different ways.

For every person that says fathers aren’t integral to kids, family, and the community, there is a person who will use their own life to refute that way of thinking. It may take time to strip away the muck and get to the core, but I’d bet in some form or fashion, it’ll always be connected to the “dad.” Even if a father isn’t in the home, but he remains active in their child’s life, then their child is on more stable footing.

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We men should be taking the lead in setting a standard that encourages fathering (when able), and we should not let children be fatherless. If it means inconveniencing ourselves to ensure they get what they need, then so be it. Taking an active role now will benefit society later, but more importantly, it will benefit our children now.

Darrk Gable is a man on a mission to expand minds, including his.  He has latent talents that are just starting to arrive on the scene. Darrk looks at life from a biblically practical aspect and shares truths that are self evident. If folks don’t agree, well God bless ‘em anyway.