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“If I Had A Father”- The Importance Of Fathers in Children’s Lives

If I Had A Father

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

A new school year has started and the process of education is important once again in this nations schools. The educational system of this country is at a cross roads between continuing to be re-actional to the changes in society or proactive to saving youth from lives of poverty, unemployment and the media expectations of youth dropping out of school and becoming a part of a criminal justice system. What can be done to change the direction potential educational failures and societal rebellion of youth?

If I Had A Father; represents a dynamic of the involvement of fathers in children lives. This is not a specific cultural challenge it is a national goal to have fathers involved in their children’s education. History and society judges fathers by the behavior of their children, the choices children make in life and the outcomes. A father posses historical significance and importance in the shaping and molding of young minds, guiding emotions and influencing generational success, struggles, failures and even death. What could be worse than a physical death? The emotional death of children that a father does not care, does not understand and witnessing a father disrespect the mother that brought them into the world. Fathers must establish a foundation for a relationship with their children- An understanding with fathers for interaction that grows from love, discipline, consistent involvement and respect.

Fatherhood does not automatically mean that a man is going to be a responsible parent. A man has to want to be a responsible father, there is more to child rearing than creating a child, impregnating a woman or being a sperm donor.

“…parents must keep reminding their children about how important they are.”

-Archie Talley

Educational Needs

Fathers set the foundation for excellence, raise the expectations that children are smart, intelligent and worth educating. Teach children that success is not always making big sums of money, driving fancy cars or wearing expensive clothes. Success also means obtaining a quality education to provide for self and one day family. Education is the key to continued self growth and reliability on skills/talents and not dependent on the government to provide. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Fathers guard your children away from negativity and ignorance and guided them to knowledge of their individual talents, skills and abilities. Malcolm X stated as it applies to the 21st century, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Fathers remember your children will not stay children forever so fathers/daddies must help prepare their children for the Boardrooms, Courtrooms, Classrooms, Conference rooms, Presidential rooms, Mayoral rooms, Senatorial rooms and Surgical rooms of this country and world. In these economic turbulent times stated by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, “The best economic stimulus package is a diploma,” fathers make a difference in the direction their children will take in school.

If I had A Father has become both an excuse and reason for failure for children. The lack of a father is more of a death sentence for fathers that are not involved because their children will execute them from their lives emotionally, psychologically and socially. A father that does not value his children is a man that creates damnation on his family history and heritage. Children are incarcerated mentally, jailed socially and emotionally blaming their life circumstances on “If I Had A Father.” The darkest depths of loneliness in a child’s heart because their father was not there for them. Having experienced this myself, the only way I survived this emotional death, this potential inner self destruction was to build myself up to try and be a good father for my children. Even though divorced, I did not divorce my children; I did not divorce my responsibilities to my son and daughter I did not commit fathercide to my children by leaving them.

Fathers Impact of Involvement

Fathers, Daddies, Stepfathers need to be involved in their children’s lives, spending more time with children will help keep children from dropping out of school, engaging in multiple sex partners and experimenting with drugs. Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.

Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Culturally ALL races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in children’s lives. This is not just a Black, Hispanic or other cultural issue.

JCCI Study and E3 Forums

JCCI (Jacksonville Community Council Inc.) study shows the affects of absence fathers in children’s lives and it’s impact on infant mortality, educational success and poverty levels of children. The statistical evidence that the absence of responsible and mature fathers contributes to continued poverty of children, increase involvement of juveniles in criminal behavior, increased dropout rates among school age youth and infant mortality rates similar to that of third world nations JCCI – http://www.jcci.org/

The recent E3 Business Group Infant Mortality Making It Real and discussions about the fathers responsibility. These dialogues play an important part of the openness and honesty that needs to be displayed. http://www.youtube.com/user/e3businessgroup-Listen to the discussions from community members about fathers.

History and Heritage

Fathers your history, your heritage and your future presence either positive or negative rests within your commitment to be a real father. No one can make you do what you should do as a father. It is a responsibility that is only accountable through the efforts that you make. Fathers, consider if your children can afford for you not to be involved, will their potential be missed, the course of their destinies missed because they were without your guidance and wisdom?

“A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.”

-Edwards, Jonathan

Million Father March

A great quote by Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent over the Indianapolis Public School District stated, ”Fathers, take your children to school on the first day and don’t stop there. Become active in the education of your children all year long.’ Fathers across the country read these words, “All men, regardless of the skin you might be in, but especially Black men, can improve low-performing schools, increase graduations rated, lower jail sentences by getting involved in the education of their children.” If I Had A Father should not come out of the mouths of any child, they should not feel lost, forsaken or alone. Fathers, get involved, get active and get where you belong, with your children.

Written by:

William Jackson, M.Ed.

My Quest To Teach

Educator with Duval County Public Schools and Edward Waters College

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