As a young man there were times I’d cry myself to sleep at night thinking about my father and the fact that he didn’t want me. I mean he obviously didn’t want me right? If he did he would have been in my life. All my friends had their dads bringing them to football, showing up for Sports day and teaching them to drive, why not mine?
Growing up without a father was not a choice, well it was a choice but it wasn’t my choice. Growing up without a father is a burden that one must carry throughout their entire life and it can either be a burden so heavy that it weighs on one to the extent that it consumes them or it can be a burden so heavy that it inspires and uplifts them to strive for greatness. Me! I chose the latter. Although it can take time to come to that realization and you better hope that a teenage mistake does not lead to a life of misery
As a now mature man I look back on my youth and realize that I was first and foremost lucky to have had the mother that I have, a strong black woman. I was also lucky to have had the grandparents that I have and to this day my granddad to me, is the greatest man that ever lived, but I digress. Lucky that when I did go astray during my teenage years I didn’t get into the kind of trouble that could have really set me back in life. That’s not to say that this is all due to not having a father in my life as there are many boys that do have father’s in their lives that still do and will go astray but the odds are in your favor if daddy is around.
See, there are so many things that a child will miss out on without a father in their lives, young men especially. A mother can try her best but will never replace the male perspective. How to deal with conflict, how to treat a woman, how to show emotion and many more things that youths to teens to young men go through. The simple things that we some times take for granted but are missing from so many young males lives. A simple “well done son” so much power in 3 little words, all the more powerful by omission. With the male influence missing from their home life they have no choice but to seek it from outside sources and who’s to say that this influence will be the most wholesome.
Personally there’s a feeling that I experience whenever I think about my son or someone asks me how he’s doing. A feeling that I can’t explain in words, it’s an emotion unlike no other. I’m sure there are parents out there that understand what I’m talking about and as such it makes it that much harder to understand why some men will not stand up and be fathers to their children. There’s a saying “to each their own” but technically if you are the one that planted the seed then this is your own. As a father I try to remember to tell my son at every opportunity that I love him. I love him for who he is but I also love him for breathing new life into me and creating a desire to be the best possible person that I can be so I can show him someone to be proud of and aspire to be. In a weird way though there is a part of me that is thankful that I lived an experience of not having my father around. As becoming a father now myself, it lets me realize just how special I want to be for my son.
Unfortunately my own father is no longer with us but if he were here today I know he would be proud of the man I have become. Not having him in my life throughout my formative years and having reestablished contact in my 20’s I knew who he was and I knew that he was a good man, maybe I came at a time when he wasn’t ready for fatherhood, maybe there were other factors involved that didn’t allow him to be in my life. To be honest with you I will never know the full truth, I do know however that without even knowing it he taught me something invaluable and that is that fatherhood is to cherished.
This is something that I would want for all men who at some point in time have had relations that have led to a child being born. I therefore leave you with one thought, if you are a man who is not in your child’s life. Those of you who grew up with a father, could you imagine for one second that he had never existed? Or those of you like me, can you remember what it felt like not having a father? I certainly do, as there is one regret that I will always have in this life and that is that I never got to Dance with My Father, Period!