Thursday, May 7, 2009

Martin says "Man up and be a real dad."

Roland S. Martin rarely bites his tongue, so I was not surprised to read the title of his latest post on CNN. This week he is discussing Darryl Strawberry's book "Straw:: Finding my Way" and remarking that a constant theme is the missing in action father. While Strawberry's father wasn't missing physically, emotionally he was absent.

Martin wonders aloud "Where are the fathers?"

It has gotten to the point that a mother is considered essential in a family, but a father is optional, expendable, and increasingly irrelevant.

I am convinced that our city streets have turned into killing fields because dads have abdicated their responsibility in the raising of their children. Yes, mom is vital. But there is something different about dad speaking, lecturing, cajoling, disciplining, embracing, loving and caring.

Our schools are filled with children losing their minds, and teachers unable to control them. When that happens, it's typically mom, grandma or an aunt coming to the school to deal with the problem. Ask a teacher or principal today and they will say they rarely see dads.


I've called on pastors nationwide to stop the stream of momma, grandmother, aunts and female cousins coming to the altar for baby dedications with no man in sight. That pastor should say, "Until I personally meet with the father, I will not dedicate this child." Somebody has to hold that man accountable for his actions.

It's time that men hold their "boys" accountable. Actor Hill Harper had a friend who once said that he hadn't seen his child in some time, but he found time to play basketball with Harper. Hill said, "Unless you call your child now, we can't play ball." See, Hill had to force him to accept his responsibilities.

The failure of manhood in America -- fatherhood -- has reached epidemic proportions. And unless our religious and cultural institutions say enough is enough, we are going to see another generation of children growing up with dad absent and unaccounted for.

While I'm down for the cause of mothers, family members and friends holding men accountable for the children, I really think that men should just do that on their own. You shouldn't have to be punished to acknowledge your children. You shouldn't have to have your child put you on blast (twice) in public space for you to acknowledge their presence. You should be a father to children simply because they are your child and you love them.


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