Should your job ever take priority over your family? Ever?
Bill is a successful attorney, but he’d tell you it’s much more important to be a successful father. But he didn’t always think that.
If you're a stepfather, you're part of the most rapidly emerging group of fathers in our nation. Recent estimates have placed the number of divorced mothers who remarry at around 80%. Every new stepfather walks into an emotional mine field as he tries to simultaneously recover from the wounds in his own past, build a new marriage with his wife, and settle into this new family situation with his wife's children and possibly children from his previous marriage. And all this takes place in the aftermath of your wife's ex-husband, who still seems to linger mystically—if not physically—in the shadows of this new household. It isn't surprising that a large percentage of abuse cases occur in step or mixed families.
"I'm at the park. I'll call you if I need you-over," says my nine-year-old son into one of three state-of-the-art walkie-talkies that I recently bought for our family of five. "Roger. Be back home in 15 minutes for dinner-over," is my reply.
I did not ask to be or not to be
a man lies with a woman.
Unfathered before I was born
like a slave who does not own a father's name.
Recently, I was scheduled to update the Jackson County Legislature regarding our fathering program through the county prosecutor's office. In the program, first-time offenders can defer prosecution by attending life-skills classes, and I teach the one on fathering. The legislature was evaluating the program, and wanted my brief presentation to include a few words from one of the program's participants.
You make me so #*@$! sick. Some nights I be wanting to kill you with my bear hands. The evil things you done to me makes me want to kill you even more. I blame you for the #*@$! up thoughts I have. Sure enough my life is better then what you said it was going to be. The way you treated me makes me sick. I should've been worser, but I have a stronger mind than what you thought. All you done was made your son more stronger and wittier. Love from your son, you #*@$!.
The role of the father or father figure is critically important to the task of taking our African American boys from boyhood into manhood. The vacuum of this required fathering role has had a devastating impact on our urban communities and it is time that we fill this role.
The Gate Keeper
"I'm tired of the way you treat me-like a criminal!" he shouted into the receiver, "you're tired?" I shouted back. "I'm tired of your bull…you expect me to trust you?" "It ain't a question of you trustin me—why should I trust you?!" he angrily replied. That did it! He wasn't getting it, he wasn't going to get it- "forget it!
There are many perspectives on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Perspectives about which we continue to explore, write and speak. Pastor of the people, Philosopher of non-violence, Ph.D. in theology, Peacemaker of Nobel Prize quality, Protester of racial injustice, Councilor to Presidents and a Promoter of economic equality; responsibilities he shared not only for people of color, but for people of all color.
The African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child" reflects the truth that many lives shape and mold the life of a child. But no stronger impact is made on any child greater or more permanent than the impact of that child's father and mother, regardless of whether that influence is good or bad or whether that parent is present or absent in the home.