Friday, June 20, 2014

Fatherhood...Why Is The Importance Questioned?


One thing is for sure, the dynamic of the family is in transition of change. What used to be a "nuclear" family, in tact with a mother (female), a father (male), 2.5 kids and a dog, has now expanded by definition and turned into almost anything that people wish it to be.

Aside from single parent families, which have always existed within the Black community due to many social pressures including the deliberate and planned breakdown of the Black family by societal pressures, laws and means, there are now lesbian families headed by 2 women, gay male or homosexual families, headed by 2 men, and crosses between the two, led by what used to be called "gender-benders" who vacillate between male and female characteristics and personas. 

These are the times when a father can go to bed a man and wake up a woman and vice-versa. Kids are bombarded with a whole host of issues that did not used to exist on such a scale as it does now within the community. It is a confusing time to say the least. 

The above video clip displays that confusion. What I find strange is that when Terry Crews was advocating for fatherhood, which is a bona-fide arrangement, with obvious and lasting implications upon the family and ultimately the community, his remarks were met with disdain by the post modern crowd of "The View". It seems that merely advocating for fathers and the distinguishing factors that fatherhood brings to every family is an intimidating venture in modern society. 

Terry was certainly right. There are certain benefits that only enter a family and the lives of children through fatherhood. A father is not a mother and a mother cannot be and is not a father. The benefits of fatherhood do not come through any other arrangement or "look-alike" family structure. 

From a biblical standpoint, Terry is correct; a father provides a child a sense of place, position, direction and inheritance in the world. Although a child may receive these things from any other source, there yet remains nothing like a father's direction and sense of value in this world. Although many fathers have missed that mark, there are yet millions who have not. 

Fatherhood Reductionism

If you didn't notice, I will point out the fact that Jenny McCarthy only wanted a comparison of outcomes as if "all roads lead to Rome" and Whoopi reduced fatherhood to a "guy figure"... Reducing male interaction and involvement within the family to that of a "guy figure" within the family yet leaves the door open and undefined affirming that a father does not necessarily have to be a man or a physical male. Whoopi's "guy figure" still misses the point being made that fathers, males by birth, deliver something to the family and children that cannot be duplicated by others who are not males by gender and who do not walk in male roles, capacity or vocation in life. For instance, in most healthy families and parental relationships, we know that nothing can replace a "Mother's Love" but at the same time a "mother figure" is not necessarily a mother and is one that does not necessarily have the capacity or ability to display a "mother's love". So by comparison and contrast, a "guy figure" is wholly inadequate as a description of a "father" and in the benefits that a "father" brings to both children and to the family.  

In light of the fact that there are an overwhelming amount of fathers who have not abdicated their place nor compromised their relationships within their families, we must examine why it is comfortable and even expected that the post modern family would interpret fatherhood as an "alternate" option of parentage as opposed to an essential part of the family. We might question and ask what has fed into sentiments that treat fatherhood as if it is a "diversity" of parentage rather than and essential part of child rearing? Why is "fatherhood" seen as an optional part of the family? At this point we may discover a few reasons why this may be so... 

Inundation Of Unhealthy Fatherly & Male Images

This goes back to much of the argument about modern hip-hop and its message. Is the message contained within hip-hop music a reflection of the culture in which it exists, or is the message in hip-hop music the cause or a contributing factor to the actions and stereotypes that exist within the culture? 

I believe we see can ask the same or similar questions regarding fatherhood and the role of the father and the perception of what fatherhood is among and within society especially when we look at the backdrop upon which fatherhood is displayed in modern society.  

Is the lowered esteem of fatherhood a reflection of failing fathers within society, or is the portrayal of these fatherly failures the cause of the low esteem of fathers in general? 

Let's examine a few issues that are obvious when it comes to this issue. 

Scandalous Situations: Good TV, But Not Good Life 

Have you noticed that in countless movies and TV dramas we can observe fathers committing adultery or having affairs and leaving their families and children as a secondary issue? From AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" to BET's "The Game" and one of the most popular series and dramas on TV, ABC's "Scandal"; fathers certainly appear to be in deep trouble. 

Let's take "Scandal" for instance; we often talk about the "whore" (what we now clean up and call a
"mistress"), but we often overlook the father ("whore-monger" or President Grant)  who compromises his country, marriage and family for his own lust? In this series, far below the main story-line, the kids are secondary, off to boarding school, leaving the parents to do everything they do. Neither parent provides direction to the kids, but by intuition one would hold that the Mother "loves" her kids, whereas the cheating President, who is only about himself and his self satisfaction, cannot possibly be a loving father, he is in love with himself. In this series, it is left up to the imagination that the kids will be alright no matter what their President father does. His actions do not have an affect on their happiness and overall well being. Everyone else has that taken care of if nothing else. This is a certain and sincerely false depiction no matter how entertaining some may find the series.  Situations such as those no matter how secret they may appear to be, have a devastating effect on the kids, family and ultimately community. Alas, that is only drama for the screen for advertisement dollars and an audience and from the looks of it, is highly successful, but the picture that it paints overall is in line with what I am asserting. 

Point: A male or a "guy figure" is not essential to a child's development and growth no matter who or how important he may be, but a FATHER is. That is a unique relationship within the family and among the children. A father thinks about the children's identity and what the results of his actions are and how the children's futures and potential is effected.

Christian Drama

For sure, the entertainment industry, under the direction of many Christian "artists" (if there is such a thing) have filled the airwaves with unhealthy and damaging images of men and fathers in particularly. In nearly every movie that is made by artists such as Tyler Perry and T.D Jakes, whom the Black community has held in high esteem based on perceived spiritual and religious ties, we witness men, many of whom are fathers, molesting or abusing their children, both daughters and sons as a part of the story-lines. 

In these movies, we can observe men doing drugs and living street life, and if one were to believe that the movies represent what we find in life on large scale, we would all be doomed. Outside of "Daddy Loves His Girls" or the true story of "The Pursuit Of Happiness" fathers, especially Black fathers, that lead and overcome obstacles and hold their lusts in check are an anomaly on camera and their failures are open season to both secular and Christian producers.

Think about that for a second. In most movies portrayed by the mogul Tyler Perry, the "women", though many times single, are the hero. They are the starling anchors of the family. It is the women that give the best and most lasting advice. In the movie "Mudea's Family Reunion" the leading males are absent for one reason or another whether it be for death, divorce or incarceration. It is the women who give and provide the direction of the family. In one part of the movie the most elderly mother asks "Is this what we paid for?" This was followed by calling the family back to its roots and core values by the other senior women of the family, (the late Maya Angelou and Cicely Tyson) as opposed to the fathers of the family. In fact, in one scene, the fathers were portrayed as lusting after the physiques of their younger relatives, (incestuous perverts) while the women were given to providing a higher set of values and advice to family members.   

This is why I ask...are these images merely a reflection of the culture or are these presentations, though experienced by some of the filmmakers themselves, a cause for the lowering value of the "father" within the family? Are these sort of presentations intended to say that "fatherhood" and "fathers" are not essential and that families can grow and be healed without them? That seems to be a suggestion even if it is not the entire intent of many of these movies. 

The Advancement Of The Homosexual Agenda

We cannot look at this without also observing what damage the acceptance of the homosexual agenda throughout America's courts have done to society in general. Because of changing laws an marital rights of gay couples, any two men by gender can consider themselves "fathers" while neither of the men espouse true male roles. The same is true of women. This is an experiment which has never been done before in modern society.

In fact Friday June 20th, 2014 President Barack Obama sent word to Congress that they were to shore up the language on the "Family Medical Leave Law" to insure that gay couples received the same benefits under federal law that heterosexual couples receive even in states where homosexual unions and marriages are not recognized. This means that no matter what the people in those states think about gay marriage or its recognition, under federal law the homosexual arrangement would be protected. 
"The White House is promoting the (family leave) move as part of Obama's push to expand protections for gays and lesbians by allowing same-sex couples to take advantage of the same federal benefits available to married heterosexual couples. ..."The White House said there are a few benefits that current law prohibits the federal government from granting to same-sex couples. Hoping to end that limitation, the Obama administration is calling on Congress to pass legislation removing those prohibitions." ~ The Associated Press by NPR
Court actions and impositions toward the acceptance of gay marriage and homosexual unions have led to countless agencies with convictions and religious prohibitions against such sins, to be drummed out of business. Take Catholic Social Services of Central Illinois for example. They were put out of business by the Child & Family Services Agency of State of Illinois because of that agency's requirement to deal with vendors and providers who would readily place children in homosexual families in spite of the Social Service agency's closely held beliefs against such actions and activities. I've written about that story HERE.

The fact is that because of these things and others issues associated with it, "fatherhood" has become a diversity of parentage and a diversity of family values. Fatherhood is not considered to be "essential" for the growth, health and stable psychological development of children and the family in general. 

What The Streets Say

In my experience, and after dealing with issues of crime and violence on our streets up close and personal, I could not disagree more with the dissenters on The View, the American Presidency under Barack Obama, or the State Of Illinois. Our young men killing one another daily and our daughters cheapening themselves by displaying their assets openly and without shame, are only showing us what the absence of the father really means to the community.

Young men need an identity and having a mother cannot fully satisfy that need. Why am I here and who covers me? What is my history and what is my expectation in life? Most woman that I know, who are for one reason or another, rearing children on their own, (God BLESS their hearts and efforts) are more than eager to allow their young men to be around and have a "mentor". Public education has realized that mentorship, done correctly and within healthy boundaries, is a wholesome part of a student's life and could make all the difference in the world between what a child is tempted to do and what they aspire to. 

The Inner City

Maybe in other communities, especially among them with a traceable record of achievement and success within the family, these things aren't as important. For example, when a child looks and sees the success of his/her family before and after them, they come to expect that success as a matter of life and living. However, when a child looks up, and has no point of reference for success...either before or behind them...and on top of that, has to search and wonder about his/her identity and purpose, life itself becomes a dangerous proposition. 
"I have the greatest affection for them [blacks], but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years. They aren't. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like." ~ Former President the Late Richard R. Nixon - "Thoughts That Shaped A Nation"
When a young man or a young woman understands that his life means more than a street corner drug sale and that his position and vocation in life is much more than chasing a temporary dollar, that will cause every decision that he/she makes to have a different point of reference and sense of importance. At the same time when a young lady is affirmed by her father, told that she is of such value that she doesn't need to do anything to get attention or that she doesn't need to be shared with everyone and that she is beautiful and valuable on her own, that could be exactly what it takes to help keep the young lady on the right path in life and preserve her life by helping her to see a standard that the streets are not otherwise providing for her. 

For sure, most gang members consider them that recruit them into the gangs, family. The call of "cuz" simply says that we are in this together. We share the same morality and moral code. how can this develop? Although it can happen to anyone, it does happen to those who have no sense of family, community and values delivered by a fatherly figure. Fathers certainly can insure that children will follow the right path, however, the measure of blessing that flows from fathers to children cannot be underestimated or minimized. Unfortunately within this society, the blessing of the father is both underestimated and severely minimized whether that be by the father himself or by those receiving the benefits. 

Conclusion

We are not tricked and or deceived. Fatherhood is more than being a male. Fatherhood is living a life and setting forth principles that are sound and valid. Fatherhood is the difference in the life of many individuals. That is the reason that fathers cannot be satisfied with being absentee, unaccounted for or directionless in their own lives. 

The sins of the father can be visited upon the children. We witness those things within our community. But true fatherhood can change the tide and reverse the curse that is upon us. This is why God has fashioned himself as a father. The Father from whom we receive all benefits of life and living and our inheritance is in HIM. That is fatherhood and this is irreplaceable.

Others may build on other things, but anything that is built on something less than Christ, is sinking sand. I choose to build my home on the principles of the Bible with it's timeless message of love, concern, compassion and protection of the father. This principle is one that has been steadfast down through the ages and is set to make a difference even in this post modern culture in which we live. 

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Blessed!

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