I wish I was able to celebrate Father’s Day.
My dad was never in my life. When my mom was married to him and pregnant with me, he denied that he was my father. When I was a young child, he called occasionally, and my mother didn’t want to be bothered with him since he didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I wasn’t upset about his absence because I thought the way he treated my mom was despicable.
Since I had female relatives around me (my mom, grandmother, and sister), I thought their presence was enough. My mom was the one who spent time with me, taught me about men, gave me advice about various situations, and disciplined me if I acted up. Years later, I remember hearing the results of a study which stated that kids who don’t have their dads in their lives are prone to having emotional issues, aggressive behavior, etc. I thought I was the exception to the rule.
Turns out that wasn’t true.
I dealt with self-esteem issues for several years and I also kept choosing the wrong types of men to date—older men who usually wanted to play between the sheets. For some strange reason, I thought (or hoped) that it was better to date older men because they were more mature and ready to settle down. Deep down inside, I was not happy with myself but never really understood why, especially when I had a mom who tried her hardest to raise me the best that she could.
In my 30s, I started to wonder if I would’ve struggled with these issues if my dad (or another father figure) had been in my life. Now I’m not blaming my past issues on my absent father; I believe that the other issues stemmed from not knowing who I was and allowing other people’s perceptions/comments to define me. But I can’t help but wonder how my life would’ve been different with a father in my life—perhaps he would’ve shown me what it means to be confident and what I should look for in a healthy relationship.
It wasn’t until I developed a relationship with God that I began to discover who I truly was; I eventually learned to value and accept myself. God has taken the place of my biological father by loving me, encouraging me, protecting me, and guiding me. Psalm 27 says, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up” (KJV).
Today, most people have sex but are not prepared for the responsibility of raising a child. Some men deny that the child is theirs or stick around for a short time but walk out of the child’s life. I can understand how frightening it must be to learn that you’re about to have a child when you’re simply not ready or never wanted a child in the first place. However, dodging responsibility is not the answer. On the other hand, I can understand how hurtful it is to the expecting mom when she has to take on the responsibility of raising a child alone.
I really wish that men and women would consider the positive and negative effects of not having both parents in a child’s life. Most of us tend to think that women can do it all—they’re strong, independent, capable of being both parents, etc. But a child needs his/her dad, too; we think that one parent is enough, but we don’t even realize how much the child is affected by not having his/her dad around.
Happy Father’s Day to the dads that truly care for their kids and make a difference in their lives.