Monday, June 22, 2009

Can Dads Have Their Day?

Can the Dads Have Their Day?

Yesterday was Father’s Day and I am getting the idea that the day is being hijacked. Maybe it had something to do with the numerous messages on Face Book and even, in passing from strangers, when in reference to Father’s Day, almost in the same breath, invariably someone would comment “Happy Father’s Day to the women who are both mother and father.” I have heard that comment countless time over the years and it always rubs me the wrong way. My initial thought is always, Mother’s Day is in May; mothers had their day, can the dads have their day without being infringed upon?

Last week, I attended a graduation awards show for a community organization that mentor young people in track & field. My nephew, who just graduated from high school, was one of the ones being feted. The moderator of the event was thanking different people; she thanked the team mother and others who helped and she gave a special thanks to the Dads of the kids. A group of women sitting in the center murmured something like, “What about us who are both mother and father?” The moderator was very diplomatic and said yes, to you too, and I thought, dang, can fathers even be recognized without women’s bitterness, anger and insecurity getting in the way? I know where this is coming from; so many women and their children are in pain because the helpmate and fathers are missing from their lives. But if they could step away and realize, it’s not about you and your feelings, but about celebrating those men who stepped up to the plate and were fathers.

My reality was my father was present and truth be told, most of my peers, friends, and cousins had the same reality. True, this was back in the day but I do not want to forget nor take that for granted but by all means I do not think this far from the norm, even these days. There are many black fathers in their children’s lives; it is simply one-sided and provincial to assume that the majority of black fathers were MIA.

I wrote comments to that affect on Face Book today and got some positive comments. One friend wrote that even though her mother was a supermom, she could not replace that void of not having a father in her life. Another one said, even though her biological father wasn’t there, she had both grandparents and later, a stepfather who stepped in. Another agreed that Father’s Day is for the MEN in your life and that everything needs to be in context.

There are numerous essays and blogs from black writer to and about their fathers and fatherhood. Some are lovingly dedicated; others are bitter and sad. Some folks have not been able to move on. I found several on The Root website-

Type in Father’s Day in the search section.


Yasmin said...

EXCELLENT Dera...thanks for speaking out...!

Uranie said...

Great post Dera

Beverly said...

As usual - very good post - yes it is their day and they need to be recognized.

And yes, there are women who are both mother and father to their children and if that is how their family celebrates fine but we do need to keep giving our men their due.

'Cilla said...

I saw your comments on FB. I was also wished a Happy Father's Day and I still don't know how I feel about that. Yes, I am a single MOM and I do what i have to do but I also recognize that there are things that his DAD has to be held accountable for and things that only he can share with my son. All in all, it was a nice gesture but I am more that Happy just being MOM!!

Great post, Ms. Dera :-)

Angelia... said...

Another great post Dera,
I don't think people even realize how they sound when they say the stuff they say....


Dera Williams said...

No they don't know how they sound. I think they hear it so much it becomes repitious and they just don't think. A woman can raise a son but she cannot be everything to him. (sigh)