According to the National Center for Fathering, “More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency (The Extent of Fatherlessness | National Center for Fathering, 2018).”
With statistics stated above, it is imperative in today’s society that we help strengthen the lives of fathers in America. Although the research above does not identify specifically which race regarding absentee fathers, in this week’s posts about family, I’d like to use my platform to highlight on a more positive note, African American fathers between the ages of 30-40 years old.
I recently asked my friends and family on my Facebook page, to tag the following in the comments, African American fathers between the ages of 30-40 who they felt were amazing fathers and to also share why they chose that person (if they cared to share). Before I share the results of that post, let me explain why I chose those demographics.
In my opinion, so many mothers are always highlighted for the roles they play in their children lives, daily and unless it’s Father’s Day, you don’t see much posted about the positive things that fathers are doing in the lives of their children. Mothers have everything from products, therapists, classes online and offline, books, blogs, websites, etc., dedicated to helping them become better parents. How much better would the world be if fathers had those same resources available to them?
Although fathers don’t have as much information out there in the world as mother’s do, from the men tagged in my Facebook post, they are learning how to be great fathers from something or someone. Usually when we picture fathers, our image is drawn more to an older man in his 60’s playing with his grandchildren. But rarely, do we consider the fathers who are between the ages of 30-40. My social media timelines are full of men either giving me a glimpse of fatherhood through co-parenting, as a couple, inducted into fatherhood recently or as a single parent. Overall for me, to see men being a part of the children’s lives is truly a blessing. I grew up in a two-parent home and my father is still a part of my life even as an adult (as long as I don’t ask him for money –lol )
When I Googled “African American fathers” so many negative headline titles and images popped up and although most of those headlines are true, I just believe in shedding more positivity and light on this platform. Nothing is better than a father’s love for his children. After my continuous search, I stumbled upon an article on CNN website written by contributor, Aaron Paxton Arnold, who is an entrepreneur and lifestyle consultant. In his article, he stated, “But if we look at the ground level, black fathers are there all around us. On the streets and in hip-hop culture, “the Block” is celebrated and used to describe a neighborhood. Black men, young and old, take pride in their hood. If you come to my block you will see black fathers and husbands celebrating with their wives and spending quality time with their children (Arnold, 2015).”
I’m in total agreement with Arnold’s declaration that black fathers are there all around us and we as a community have to show more and more dedication to speaking on the positives that they are doing in our homes and communities in order to dispel the myths that black fathers are extent or absentee. This is a new generation where fathers are being very present and engaged in their children lives, and not just as the disciplinarian in the home. A father’s love is precious and I am committed to learning more ways, to tell more positive stories about African American fathers in our society.
What positive images in the media or in your neighborhood do you see of African American fathers? What’s your favorite memory of your father from your childhood? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Aaron Paxton Arnold. (2015, July 20). Dispelling the myth of black fathers (Opinion) – CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/opinions/arnold-black-fathers/index.html
The Extent of Fatherlessness | National Center for Fathering. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-extent-of-fatherlessness