5 things that black sons who didn't have a father in their life growing up need to remember
you think you’re the first one to grow up without a father? tuh. most of us have, so what makes you special? despite what the media tries to convey, growing up without a father isn’t a death sentence. it doesn’t define who you are or what you’re able to accomplish in life. only you can do that. and even though the road isn’t always an easy one, here are some things to remind yourself of when you find yourself looking back over your life and thinking things over.
5). mama can’t teach you how to be a man.
if nothing else, us black men love our mamas. in our eyes, she can do no wrong. she’s our first definition of strength that we were exposed to at an early age. she was (and in most cases, still is) the hard worker who stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done when our father was outta the picture. and that’s what’s up. i would never be one to take from that truth or challenge the great influence single mothers have over their sons. being raised by a single parent mother myself, i know how amazing that relationship is. like most of us, i learned so much from my mom growing up and still go to her today with issues i face. however, in all of her glory and with all of her strength, our mamas can’t teach us how to be men. there’s some things you gotta learn from a male figure. that could include someone you trust from your church, an uncle, a neighbor or coach…pretty much any positive male figure you look up to that knows what it means to be a black man in amerikkka.
4). you have to be the example for your younger siblings.
if your father isn’t in the picture and your have younger siblings, you’re gonna find yourself having more responsibility earlier than you probably would have if he would’ve stayed around. it’s a fact of life. i know you may not have asked for that…but hey, it was beyond your control. even though you aren’t their parent and it’s certainly not your job to raise them, it’s still your responsibility to be more cognizant of your actions because you have younger siblings looking up to you. and if your father isn’t around, guess who they’re looking at? you. and that means you can’t always do what everyone else is doing, unless you wouldn’t mind them doing it right after you. you're like the “leader of the siblings” and attitude always reflects leadership. and i get it. it sucks. but it be like that sometimes.
3). at one point or another, you’re going to have to forgive him.
some of our fathers did some really messed up ish. they walked out on our family, they forgot birthdays, they disrespected our mamas, abused us, contested to paying child support and probably a whole lot more. but guess what? sooner or later, you’re still gonna have to forgive him. you gotta keep in mind that forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you. forgiveness is for you. hatred in your heart for your father (or anyone else for that matter) takes up too much space and keeps you pushing forward despite what happened to you. you can fool the people around you into thinking that you’re “over” it, but if you haven’t really accepted things for what they are and forgiven your father for doing you bogus, you’ll find yourself never being able to remember without becoming angry. and that brings me to my next point…
2). going to therapy may not be such a bad idea.
black people love keeping “family business” to themselves. and it’s my belief that this mindset has kept too many of us bound up in generational curses, anger, fear, depression and everything else. absentee fathers have become so common within the black community that we don’t even address it as an issue anymore…it’s just expected. however, this is a threat to the sanctity of the black family and i’m not here for it. if you have displaced emotions toward your father for not being there, talk to someone about it. and when i say someone, i’m talking about a therapist…you know, someone who’s actually trained and licensed to give you feedback. it’s too many life coaches out here and not enough credentials to back up these assertions. don’t get caught up talking to someone who is untrained and unequipped to talk to you about what you’re going through. this isn’t a job for big mama, uncle buch and cousin kk. that’s what therapists are for. they help you dissect an issue and then aid you in figuring out how to solve it. we all know that life can sometimes throw a lot at you at once. and it’s nothing wrong with getting professional help in handling problems or stressors in your life. like lauryn hill said, “how you gon’ win if you ain’t right within?”
1). you can still be a good father.
your father not being there for you doesn’t give you the right to not be there for your own children. there is no law of inertia that indicates men who grew up without a father have no choice but to return the favor to their own children. you have the power to end that cycle. you may think that your father not being there means that he couldn’t teach you anything. however, that's not true. through experience, you know exactly the type of father you wish you had growing up -- so be that for your children. your father's absence provided you with a clear example of how not to be to your own sons and daughters. and at the end of the day, the choice is always yours. you'll either rise to the occasion and be better or be just like him.