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Monday, April 6, 2009

The Sins of Our Fathers

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"(Heb.11:1).
The sins of our Fathers

There are many that enjoy speaking about the plight of young people , particularly as the media projects stories of wanton abuse , and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of government, business , strangers, or even parents and close family unfortunately. One area that’s often ignored is that of parental neglect committed by large percentage of fathers across the globe. I recently had an interesting conversation with a young man that I knew for quite some time , that never benefited from having a father in his life to serve as mentor, or as a concrete example of what it means to be a man. He is however fortunate to have a steady middle class mom who was prepared to trade in her own happiness to ensure that this her only son become as comfortable can be , as they both strived to ensure he achieve his own elusive dreams. One of these was to be a sporting hero . Unfortunately , this young man lacked the drive , hunger, commitment and or discipline that was required to succeed. There are those that would say that this young man was doomed from the beginning , in that his mom was way over her head in trying to raise a son by herself , and might have done better if she had not tried to do the impossible of trying to teach a boy to be a man. Are they correct?

Who suffers most in the absence of a father in the home, boys or girls? It is a subject I have been thinking about for quite some time , and this spirited conversation with the young man with the obvious lingering demons started me thinking that it was time to put some focus on it via writing and solicit some reactions by more informed others on the subject. Now what prompted the dialogue was when during the exchanged I told the young man that we both suffered to some degree , just like our new American Black President, and millions across the globe due to the absence of our useless fathers. He became outraged , and informed me that I should speak for myself , as his father was a great man even though he was never in his life. I in contrast, that stuck it out to try a be a good father and role model, he dismissively described as a blatant failure , due to the fact that I was unable to totally curb some of the youthful indiscretions of my own kids that grew up in one of the complex urban inner city environs of good old developed USA. He dismissed by theories and arguments as being without merit , for as he concluded , I had nothing but contempt for single parenthood.

On and on this conversation progressed for almost an hour , via texting , as we tried to convinced each other of the validity of our forceful arguments. In the end we agreed to disagree as I had to remind him that he lacked a point of reference as to what constituted a good father . I reminded him that I held his hands as a snotty nose kid , and taught him how to go into the dark kitchen to make a sandwich as a kid when he was so scared so to do ,many moons ago. It did not convince him , so I again had to stamp my feet in consternation and inform him that he was so dependant on poor mom , and could not even go to the toilet unless she was close by to pass the toilet paper to wipe his butt. Now I thought to myself , it was certainly wonderful to have a close , smothering mom, at one’s beck and call ,but can we envisage a few problems down the road for this young man in terms of a meaningful relationship , as he attempts to replicate the dependency syndrome with another human being- hopefully a female?

Get over it ,I murmured again silently, you are making too much out of this issue. The man has found closure with his bumbish dad . On the surface , he is happy , and may simply move on by writing a book called ‘Dreams of my Father’ to launch a political career himself , become a good husband ,and eventually a perfect father for his own children , with no lingering dysfunctions . Yes , but I have done my own ethnographic studies and observations and noticed the vast array of angry young female , that are incapable to developing healthy relationships because they have never seen a positive relationship played out in the home , and the presence of the lingering emptiness . I have seen the countless directionless young men especially at the lower rung of the social class that have suffered immeasurable at the hand of frustrated and often overwhelmed mothers devoid of the necessary support mechanisms of mentors from an extended family or larger institution of sports, religion , or education capable of providing relevant support and outlet safety valves.

In the end , girls with all their dysfunctions become high achievers , due to the sound role models of extremely strong and resilient moms, while boys are lost through smothering like our young male example or took the brunt of the frustrations of this mom and found solace in the arms of rouge gangs and other destructive elements outside the home .

The statistics are devastating where children have become useful pawns in war torn African countries where some are used as child soldiers , and others as sexual toys for adults soldiers where necessary . Like wise, in peaceful tourist oriented sexual paradise enclaves in parts of Asia and Latin America many have conveniently served as useful fodder for domestically moralistic Europeans and North Americans that would start WW111 to protect their own delicate flowers at home , but turn a blind eye to this malady internationally.

Child labor is not as rare today as many of the global conglomerates or INGO’s ,would like us to believe, ,so think about that the next time you sit in a baseball park and try to catch a home run by the drug user millionaire slugger , or lay on that beautiful with a warm body close by on that Persian or Kashmir rug with the delicately woven drawings. When next you hear of the Utah incest cases , and the cults that encourage child brides in the Midwest , or parts of the pristine Southern Bible belt, cringe if you care , or bang the walls and scream if it tugs your hearts string. Condemn if you wish that callous gun manufacturer , and insensitive small arms mine dealer that avoided devastating rippling effects of our present global recession due to his lucrative markets that destroys kids in failed states of the Global South. However please remember that there are numerous ways that child abuse is manifested across our nation and global village. One such is fathers abrogating their roles when they abandon the homes and their children.

Something to also ponder is whether catharsis can occur by simply forgiving the culprits , and embracing them years later, or should we think that part of the dysfunction is acceptance of despicable behavior by parents as the norm , and therein lies the possibility for replication on our part.
I stand corrected, and welcome critiques of this viewpoint.

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Uniondale New York, NY, United States
Speaking truth,as one major prerequisite, to concrete justice. A novel form of social advocacy.