Paul Carrick Brunson: A Father’s Voice

A Father’s Voice
by Paul Carrick Brunson

It’s called “No Wedding, No Womb,” but in the effort to fix the broken homes of the African American community we are forgetting an important member – the father.

The last immaculate conception anyone knows of was Mary, but when a debate breaks out over black women and out-of-wedlock births the men who help father these children are either treated as invisible or, at worst, lost causes. But in order to help foster healthy two-parent families we can’t solve a crisis by only having a laser focus on one half.

Men are not beyond help or redemption, and to forget about them in this effort to give our children two involved, loving parents is to both do a disservice to our youth and to the important role fathers’ play in their children’s development.

As a new father myself, I cannot imagine anything ever coming between myself and my young son. I can’t comprehend not being beside him through first words, first steps, let alone first grade, first game, first love and his own first child. The notion of not being a crucial part of his parenting, of loving him and nurturing him is unfathomable to me, and I know, would be unfathomable to many men who also idealize and dream about their role as “daddy.”

Just as women look forward to loving and cherishing their children, watching them grow up, men equally fall in love with those who bear their last name. Your child is your future and your dreams become his or her dreams. And for something to break down where a man is not part of his child’s life hints at a larger problem than a woman choosing or not choosing the right man. How does not being there for your child become an option, let alone a reality, in the mind of a man?

In parenthood, abandonment should not be an option!

It’s not good enough to tell women they should choose better in selecting fathers for their children. Men should choose better in picking who they choose to have children with and when is the right time for those children. Too often a condom is treated as an inconvenience and we are left to “assume” that she is on birth control, that she is being careful as if we have no control over our destinies, as if we are powerless to make the best decision of who we want to share the most important part of us – the dreams for our future – with a woman we know isn’t even the right one, let alone “the” one.

The right woman for many men is the difference between success and failure. When we run into the arms of love, thinking about what is right for us, and not what simply feels good, we make a better future for ourselves and our children. Isn’t it better to look upon the mother of your child with love in your eyes and pride for the child you two created together, than for her to be just someone you spent one drunken, condom-less night with after a casual encounter? Nothing should come between a man and his child and the easiest way to prevent this is to not create a child with a woman we don’t believe in and can’t love. But in situations where a child is conceived outside of a healthy relationship, men should always make the effort to do the right thing. Your child wants you and loves you and you deserve to be there.

A difficult relationship is no reason to walk away. Our daughters and our sons need us. They need our guidance, our love, our protection. We are the first examples of how a man loves and shows respect to others. Of how a man honors his obligations and follows through. How we treat our children helps them determine what makes a good man and what makes a father.

The word father should mean love. It’s our job to make sure it stays that way.

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