Fathers have notoriously received a bad rap and, in some cases, the bad rap was justified. We consistently hear of the “absentee fathers,” “dead beats,” and “sperm donors” who just “don’t show up for work,” and more often than not, they don’t see the point in the effort to do so. According to an article entitled “The Extent of Fatherlessness” (National Center of Fathering website), “57.6 percent of Black children are living absent their biological fathers,” and “according to 72.2 percent of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.”
All of this may be true–but those stats do not apply to all situations. When my family and I first moved to Chicago from Memphis, Tenn., it was shocking for me to listen to my grammar school friends talk about going to visit their fathers for the weekend, or learning that kids were living in homes where there was no father present. It always made me think about how much I couldn’t imagine my life without my Dad in the home every single day, let alone having to go and “visit” him. But let me tell you…a father is a major support, especially one in the home every day. Yes, Dads love to be able to show their sons different things that will help them to be strong and responsible men, and Dads love to be able to bond with their sons over sports, talking about what happens during puberty, and how to show a young lady they are interested in her, to name a few things.
But a Dad isn’t just a jewel to a boy child; he is also a very important factor in the way his daughter grows and matures. A Dad cannot effectively teach his daughter how to be a young lady, but he can certainly show her how a young lady is to be treated. My Dad married my late Mom in 1974, and in 1977, they gave birth to me. As I grew up, I was able to see a healthy relationship between my parents, and even though I was small, I saw how well my Mom was treated by my Father.
I was able to count on my parents coming to band concerts, choir concerts, and track meets. And if my Mom was ever unable to be present, my Dad was always there. He was the one who gave me the pep talk when I lost track races, and his belief in me gave me the encouragement to keep going, until I eventually starting winning those races. When I started dating, I could count on my Dad staying up until I came home (my Mom was always sound asleep lol). My Mom could sleep, though, knowing that my Dad would be on the lookout for his only daughter. When I had my first real heartbreak, it was my Dad who gave me comfort in knowing that everything would be alright. When I had a scare from another ex, both of my parents hopped in the car at 2 a.m. and came to my home to make sure that I was ok. My Mom didn’t ever have to go alone…because my Dad was always there.
My Dad being in the home also served as a deterrent for those guys who meant me no good; when young men figure out that a young lady has her father in her life, it makes them rethink causing her any stress or strife…because then THEY will have to deal with her father. Dads are powerful beings, and to have a good Dad is a total and complete blessing. They offer protection, stability, security, and the love that only a man could give as the leader of his household. A Dad’s presence alone is a huge comfort, and he is such a force to be reckoned with. If I had to say that any man was the modern day “Superman,” I’d have to say that this title would belong to my Dad. Shout outs to Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr. for being such an amazing and still-present Dad!
Elle enjoys early morning drives, her daily cup of Starbucks, writing, listening to oldies, and tending to her ShihTzu Bella. You can find more about her via her Digital Marketing Firm page at @ ellesdigitalagency_ & also her Chicago Black Restaurant Week Page at @officialchicagobrw.