By Wayne Edge
As we celebrate their day
Throughout much of the world Sunday, June 19, is Fathers Day. Most folks run about the place finding cards, and gifts or making dinner arrangements for their mom on Mother’s Day, but many are completely ignorant of even the existence of Fathers Day.
While it is indeed appropriate to pay tribute to our loving moms, please don’t ignore the old man on the one day of the year devoted to dads.
Fathers are important: they often define the relationship one has in life with both men and women. As the quote above, from the world renowned Muslim scholar, and African American political activist, Malcolm X, notes, any man can make a baby with a woman, but a father is responsible for the growth and development of his children.
Although it is sometimes said that, ‘in female headed households the women is both mother and father’ this is a huge error. A woman may try to serve in the role of a man, but she will under most circumstances act in her skirt as a mother. Without the experience women do not know what a boy goes through to become a man, and without a man in the household the entire family is missing a valuable piece; a loving, caring, male role model.
This does not imply that a father is at home all the time, because some dads, like the migrant mine workers, are forced to find jobs or seek education far away to support their families. Yet his spirit floats through the family house each day.
Some seem to think that it’s only young boys that need fathers, but this is not right. Girls need fathers too; a male in their lives to show them what a man is supposed to do, and what they should be looking for in future with their husband, or intimate male friends.
No man is a Saint, but a father is the one that is trying to help a youth move through life and become an adult. A father doesn’t have to be biological; he can be an uncle, a kindly neighbor, a friend of the family, someone who looks out for the child and brings them close enough into their sphere where they can see what a loving, caring, responsible man, looks like, an how they treat them with dignity and respect.
I was blessed to have two fathers, Waymon Edge, my biological one (who is deceased) and M.K. Mpho, my Motswana father. Both of them took care of me, pointing me in the right direction when I needed help, and giving that extra effort to insure my wellbeing and security, without asking for anything really in return, beyond the pleasure of seeing me move into adulthood as a responsible man. When done well Fatherhood is such a great role that it transcends money, class, race, religion or even culture, and rises to the glorious essence of what it is to be a human being.
So, if you truly value the one man who made it their responsibility to raise you into adulthood, take the guy out for a drink, buy him a meal, send him a card or at least give him a call to acknowledge his contribution to your life. If he is still there make sure you let him know that he is important to you and tell him “Happy Fathers Day”.