I need my father

John R. Gray | 6/18/2015, midnight

As an Afro-American grandfather, I now understand that fatherhood is a privilege, not simply a right. I realize that being a father is an institution, professorship of trust, culture, and emotions attached to DNA. There is no question that each child born is entitled to a living, breathing father to provide that link to the greater world.

A father is family law, and must set each child on a specific path to learn dignity and respect for one’s self as well as others. This is the beginning of growing into a young man; then a father. For the female child, it is the father’s role to teach her she is worthy. The father’s job is to teach her to grow to be a young woman of strength, and character, which will allow her to defend herself against those who would exploit her being.

Of course, there will be many who do not have that father in the home. But again, a father is needed to groom young men to work hard, be dependable and to be motivated to achieve. For young women, a father’s shoulder will be the first male shoulder to cry on. Their relationship with a daughter may determine all future interaction with men. Those not having a father as a positive influence will gravitate to uncles, aunts, athletic coaches, and school teachers for growing information. This is not good enough. Each child should learn his/her place in the universe by straight-line DNA to his/her father, where there are no family secrets.

We often hear young Afro-American men, boasting, saying, “I take care of my children.” That’s fine; that’s what a father is supposed to do. You don’t get a medal for carrying out your responsibility. Afro-American fathers must break the post slavery-time habit of leaving out-of-wedlock children strewn across the land, looking for, and asking where my father is. After all, becoming a father is a life-choice. So if you don’t know where your children are, you don’t deserve to celebrate Father’s Day.

Moms, we love you and you have your job. But this idea of “I don’t need a man” while it might be okay for you, you must remember, the father is for the children, not you. So, let’s allow the father to do his job as well as he can. It’s not all (about) money: It’s support, love, and belonging, and as a human being, one needs the benefit of an active, involved father.