I never knew my father and no he’s not dead, at least I don’t think he is but he very well could be for all I know. I could pass him on the street and not know. As the survivor of a horrific childhood not having a father or even a replacement father figure was just another strike.
I wished so often that my father would one day swoop in, like a superhero and save me from my mother but he never did. As I grew older, his presence was not frequently missed and I would comfort myself with the examples of physically present, but emotionally absent fathers that prevailed my surroundings.
Better to have an absent bad father than a present bad father.
Now as an adult, in all my secret desires and goals, having a family was never on the list. The gamble of having a child was too high, as statistically evidenced by the black community, the end result was often that that child would be raised in a single parent household.
Undoubtedly, this way of thinking helped to fuel my decision to not have kids but I have slowly begun to realise that I have been doing men a disservice. For me, being a single parent meant doing everything on your own, leading to unbelievable stress and unhappiness. That’s what I saw in my home growing up, that’s what I saw in too many homes around me – it was my reality. Only the lucky few had both parents actively at home. I was not about to press my luck to find out what kind of home I would have with my own kids.
But that was then; when I look around now I see our current generation has changed in leaps and bounds. Men are playing a more active role in the lives of their children on a greater scale than ever before. The statisticians and social research papers will verify this to be true. Men are being active even after relationships fall apart – single mothers’ no longer have to bear the burden all alone.
I see examples of great fathers every day. Men who protect, provide and nurture. These father figures give me hope – hope for the future, hope for myself and for so many others.
My brother is one such father, without an example to follow, he has somehow become a beacon of what is possible as he embodies all that a good father should be.
So maybe I won’t wish my own father a happy father’s day, but to the men who are deserving of the label and who represent a figure of fatherhood not just to your own children but to a generation, I say – HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY.