The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

For Father’s Day

 

Back on Mother’s Day, I put a post on FB that said something to the effect of, “Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, especially those fulfilling the role of both mother and father.” I felt that appropriate, as a reflection of the society that we live in where there are a lot of single mothers doing the job of Mom and Dad.

I’ll say something similar for Father’s Day tomorrow, because there’s also single dads holding down both roles, and doing that admirably. But, just as I didn’t tell any single dads “Happy Mother’s Day,”  I won’t say “happy Father’s Day” to the single mothers that I know…and for good reason.

For half my pre-adulthood life, I was raised in a single parent home; I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my dad between the ages of, oh, 12 and 20 (when I enlisted). And I’ve said before that, for most of those years, he was a role model in a negative sense; that for all the good there was as a young child, I didn’t want to end up being what he became. It took his death-a year ago this month-to remind me of a simple fact: without him, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to serve my country, graduate next year, or have a family of my own…because I wouldn’t exist.

That’s what I think the purpose of Father’s Day is…for good, bad, or otherwise, it’s an acknowledgement of those people who brought us into being.  It’s a day for us to say to those men to whom our existence is owed, “thank you.”  Yeah, we men have a bad habit of relieving ourselves of the responsibility of fatherhood (and that’s not a good thing; more on that later), but we can never divorce ourselves from the reality of it.

And as much as we revere and acknowledge our women as mothers, they can’t be fathers. Father figures, yes; a woman can teach, to some degree, the responsibilities of manhood (as my mom did), or surround her son with men who can (as my mom also did).  But the sense and knowledge of fatherhood can no more come from a woman than the sense and knowledge of motherhood can come from a man. That’s just not how our species works.

 

Too often, we guys give ourselves a bad reputation. As I said, we relieve ourselves of the responsibilities of fatherhood way more than we should. Even in the cases of the single dad, the question that’s often raised is “what did you do so that she would leave you?” For all men-but especially black men-the stigma of being the “no good, good-for-nothing man” follows us in our news, our music, our movies; I can go on and on. And yeah, sometimes, some of us live up to that stigma.

But it doesn’t help when people try to take the one thing that is uniquely ours-fatherhood-from us. In fact, I’d suggest the opposite-if you show a man the appreciation you have for him for the moment of your conception, it’s possible that the acknowledgement of that may spark a desire to try to mend a broken relationship, to do what should’ve been done in the first place. If we’re going to demand accountability from our men, we can’t try to remove it from them in the next breath.

So, much love to the mothers out there who, by whatever circumstance, have to fill a void and are doing it admirably. As a product of one, thank you all for what you do and have done.

But to mine, and all the others out there…Happy Father’s Day. It’s the one thing no one can take from us, and that we can never truly relinquish.

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Written by Coby Dillard

June 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

Posted in Editorials

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