When assessing the energy children put into Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we all know, there’s no comparison. Mother’s Day is not only a holiday, it’s one of the busiest travel days and largest revenue generators, as we engage in actions to show our mothers how much we love them. Father’s Day, on the other hand, which this year is Sunday, June 19, is pretty much just another day.
Don’t believe me. Just check the songs. For mothers: “Dear Mama” (Tupac), “I’ll Always Love My Mama” (The Spinners), “A Song for Mama” (Boyz II Men), etc. For fathers: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” (The Temptations). Wow.
And on top of that, Black fathers, in particular, have been so demonized by society that we (Blackfolk) regularly repeat all the negative tropes others use to label Black dads, even though a 2015 study by the CDC showed that Black fathers are involved in the lives of their children just as much, and in many cases, more so, than white, Latinx and Asian dads.
For generations, there have been Black fathers showing up and showing out for their families. And in so doing, dads say there are blessings that come with fatherhood —realities that are unable for a person who is not a father to comprehend until that day comes.
Here are some of those blessings shared by Defender dads.
“Being a father and grandfather, and being able to witness births! I cried like a baby.” (Steven Foster)
“You learn how to love without the need to control. It also gives me confidence in my decisions because anything that rocks the family boat unnecessarily is something I know I can do without.” (Kambui Moore)
“Hugs from the little ones are the best! Also, when they are showing signs of learning, especially when you are teacher, is heartwarming. Knowing that they will ultimately (even if they don’t want to in the moment) be looking to you as the earthly example, makes your job that much harder, but worth it. It also makes you always think big picture and less about yourself and more about them.” (Jeffery Oribhabor)
“Protect. Provide. Repeat. I’ve learned that being a girl dad is a balance between teaching them that they can do almost anything without pushing them so hard that we break something. Hugs are more powerful than hollering. And daughters have the unique ability to see when fathers are afraid. And that’s when they grasp and hold your hand.” (Kamau Mason)
“Let your children be their own person. No matter what you teach them, you won’t be able to dictate who they will be. If you can dictate who they will be, then you have robbed them of becoming great in their own right.” (Sen Olushola)
“Growing up in Galveston, my dad wasn’t around much, but my two uncles Marvin and David Scurry gave me many life teachings on being a man. The simple act of playing catch with a baseball and a football…I not only learned how to catch and throw, it gave us time to talk about expectations of a Black man in America. I also pass those times to my two sons in the same manner.” (Ronald Scurry)
There’s a fearlessness you gain from fatherhood. Fear is no longer a factor because you must protect and provide for your offspring by any (legal) means necessary. (Gee Joyner)