A Father Hoped For
I confess that I restarted this month’s blog multiple times. I was challenged with channeling my focus into a single topic. Then I remembered the blog that I began brainstorming in late April of this year. Those thoughts are what I wish to share with you now, as there seems to be no better time.
Father’s Day will be observed and celebrated this month. I write to you, endeavoring to expand the concept of father because I realize that some people may never enjoy the experience of a doting father, not to mention a present and interactive dad. I anticipate the possibility that this assertion will be negatively perceived by some, but the reality is that single-parent households exist, and the bulk of these environments are managed by women.
According to 2011 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, “there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and they are responsible for raising 22 million children” (Wolf, 2018). Wolf (2018) further mentions that “approximately 82.2-percent of custodial parents are mothers” of whom “42.2-percent are divorced or separated, 36.8-percent were never married, 18-percent are married or remarried, and the remaining 1.1-percent are widows.”
I am fortunate that my grandparents reared me for a considerable number of years and continued to provide varying degrees of support as I transitioned into adulthood. When I think of my grandfather, I see a man who maintained full-time employment and provided for the household as best as he was able. He shared in child-rearing duties, which is how I mastered some aspects of mathematics, learned about animals, fishing, plants and cultivating a garden.
If grandparents, aunts or uncles are not filling the gap created by the absent parent, then the single-parents and children are left to themselves unless the community becomes involved. Considering the increasing number of mass shootings in educational institutions and suicides among youths, activism and outreach must now accompany awareness. Positive role models are needed to fill the socio-emotional gaps created by broken or dysfunctional households and consequently, make a positive impact on the generations of the future.
To fathers everywhere, who are alive and well, I encourage you to continue to strengthen the bond between you and your children. To the fathers, who have abandoned this opportunity, I recommend that you began the journey to contact and establish a positive relationship with the children you sired. Life has a way of bringing people to their knees at various moments. When a person finds themselves searching for help, they are often looking up and everywhere else except down. Imagine that they might seek their children for aid only to come full circle with the past—the time(s) when they were unavailable or simply walked out.
To the many who never had a relationship with their biological father, I can only advise you to find appreciation in the father figures that have or will grace your life at some point. The characteristics of a father can be found in grandfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, teachers, counselors, mentors, coaches and spiritual leaders—wherever these POSITIVE male role models may exist. Help and support do not always arrive in the form that we expect. And, time does not grant us opportunities to change all that has passed. We can only reflect and strive to improve upon the present and future, being informed of all that ever transpired. Allow your experiences to motivate you to fostering healthy relationships with your own children.
Be well in peace and grace.
Blue Wolf Penman
Wolf, J. (2018). The Single Parent Statistics Based On Census Data. Retrieved June 9, 2019 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/single-parent-census-data-2997668.