Saturday, July 29, 2006

Where Was Dad?

For centuries, eons, generations and possibly even since the beginning of time, the general model of what would become a Homo Sapien family is that the female stays home with the children while the male goes out and hunts (works). This was the way it has been since the beginning of history—history being the point at which the stories were written down.

This seemed to work too, didn’t it? Equal jobs, equal partnership, neither job harder than the other (but in some cases less fulfilling), and the job got done. The kids grew up with morals, the food was put on the table, the household belonged to the woman, and everything worked out fine…

Actually, no, it didn’t.

Let me tell you why this doesn’t work today, and why it worked “way back when.” In fact today, this is probably the worse economic system that we as a society can chose to hang on to. We’ve pretty much mostly gotten away from it (at least my generation sorta has), but isn’t it ironic how America usually chooses to hold on to the most detrimental traditions?

This system of home economics worked so well “way back when” because at that time in history, father’s were for the most part just not involved in their children’s lives. In fact, in the 17-18th century, it was common for children to rarely see their father or meet him for the first time in their teenage years. The father would show up to bestow his blessing in Creole society and then return to his practice. This was “way back when.” As recent as the 50’s, this philosophy still held root. Father’s were involved in their children’s lives but just not really. Father’s places just weren’t with the children.

However, now we have this syndrome that has been popping up in Modern America that is blind to social, economic, and gender status. It’s called the “I’m Angry at my Father” syndrome, and it is most common among teenagers and young-adults. It radiates in the rock and rap music that young ears tend to listen too, and supposedly it is the music that is the cause of the syndrome...but someone had to write the music and where do you think they got the idea?

Now, a father figure (it doesn’t necessarily have to be male, just so long as it is strong) is necessary to serve as a role model. Families lacking a father often produce delinquent youths. A father in today’s society acts as enforcer of the rules, while mother acts as the maker of the rules.

Father’s need to be there for their children today. Little Girl’s need daddies to serve as a model for what kind of men they want in their lives, just as little boys need mothers for the same reasons. Both need to have two strong parents to model themselves after, and if one is more frequently absent than the other, they are going to wonder where they are. Fatherless son’s are born under the mark of the outcast because they will never be able to learn the social skills that are essential to make friends, and fatherless daughters are cursed under the mark of a loner because they will not know what qualities to look for and to not look for in the people they surround themselves with. Children without a father grow up missing something and end up getting in trouble that could have been avoided by having a father there to give counsel. The kids know this, hence the “I’m Angry at My Father” syndrome.

Today, Mother’s and Father’s need to be equally involved in their children’s lives, or else the child will grow up asking “where’s my father?” One parent can’t be completely involved with the child while another parent be completely uninvolved, it must go both ways now. It is the only way to raise a healthy, productive young person. To both be there for them.

I don’t care if YOUR FATHER was never there for you, I don’t care how many reasons you have that can justify it. There is NO excuse or reason, cultural or economical, not to be there for your child. Both Parents, if you cannot be there for your child, you should not have had it. There is no excuse for why the child should have to have only one parent in their life and wonder where the other one was when they were in need of guidance. Half a family equals half of the problem-solving skills and good advice.

Like Cat Stevens put it, “There were Planes to Catch, and Bills to Pay, but he learned to walk while I was away…and as he grew, he said I’m gonna be like you.” No child should have to walk while you’re away.

My mom quit working so that she could stay home and “raise me.” My dad went to work full time as a painter. All I know about my dad to this day was that he doesn’t know how to be a Dad because he never had one, and I didn’t start talking with my dad until I was 17. Now I’m a little lost in my life and at the same point my father was lost at in his life, but there was no way to keep history from repeating itself, because by just talking to me he couldn’t teach me the lessons that he learned from experience, and now I only have half as much confidence as I should have because I only really ever had half a family and one parent, and she was drunk half the time I was a kid. When parents aren't around to show their good sides to the kids, the only things the kids inherit from their parents are their parents bad traits which they will never be able to control because it is part of them. Did I get my parents good qualities? Hell no. I got my Dad's temper and my Mother's self-esteem...which has brought me nothing but failure. And I cannot say that I don't know why.

At least my dad didn’t up and leave like a lot of kids parents did, but those kids whose parents did leave them for real that I know have scars on their hearts that don’t heal. I know my dad grew up in a concentration camp and saw his family shot and came to America in the 60’s gang lifestyle with nothing, I know he doesn’t know how a good father is really supposed to be…But that shouldn't be an excuse. There’s no reason to not be able to be there for your kid. There is no excuse. There is no justification and no reason a child should have to grow up without a father. None whatsoever.

The question is: how is suffering the pain of not having a parent be there at all because he left different from the pain suffered from not having a parent be there because he was working? Either way, he’s not there, and it seems as if “he doesn’t love me enough to have time for me.” And parents wonder why their kids disappoint them, because they were NEVER THERE FOR THEM.

And we wonder why the majority of Americans are depressed and obese, and why the crime rate is 10 times as high as it is in other developed countries. We wonder why less civilized, "traditional" countries have such massive poverty problems and are at the top of the Third World list. No, I'm not blaming all of this on Dad...well maybe I am, just a little.

Now standing in the shoes of my father and not knowing what to do or how I’m supposed to wear them in my life, I feel for the rest of my generation, and for the fact that the old ways need to hurry up and die. I find myself looking for hero’s in my life, for people to take the place of a father who was never really there because he didn’t know how, so that I can know what it feels like to be protected and built up, so that I can know what it feels like to have someone’s strong arm hold me up when I’m weak and stumble, my mom is just not strong enough alone. But these hero's never stay long because friends are like soap that slips through your hands if you try too hard, and though my mind is desperate for teachings, my heart can’t take anymore fake father and older brother-figures. Through and through, I join the choir, and can’t help but asking the age-old question…

Where was my Dad!?!?!?!?

2 Comments:

Blogger Babs said...

Oh brother...you should print this out and show it to dad. Love, your sister

5:48 PM  
Blogger Nikki_Jilton said...

R U CRAZY!!!! Through this and me going to military, it'll surely stop his heart this time (we need him around remember). Don't show this to him!!!!!!!!!! or mom!!!!!!! Everyone must know about this blog EXCEPT our parents (duh)

xoxoxox

3:06 AM  

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