It Takes A Village By Charlie Costict

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Father’s Day is a celebration of paternal love, understanding, guidance and support for those who lead by example while continuing to be an instrumental building block for future generations. Those lucky enough to have a participating male parent are given jewels and other forms of assistance which can mold one into either a great or terrible person. With that said: structural, institutional, societal, economic and mental factors affect the involvement of possible fathers giving way to children with absentee Dads. We attribute certain behaviors to father-less youth because of it and ridicule or even damn them because of it (e.g. “Daddy issues”). I feel as a community, better yet men, it should be our duty to step in as role models, culture influencers and trend-setters for the youth. It takes a village, no?

It’s irresponsible after a certain age to condemn Father-less children for their lack of knowledge or what we deem to be acceptable code of ethics when those with both parents still exhibit class-less behavior themselves. Under the guise of toxic masculinity, homophobia and “Bro” culture, we blame the lack of Fatherhood when boys dress outside societal norms, exhibit emotion, doesn’t participate in sports, yada yada… when really, we mean “There wasn’t someone there to keep you in a cage”. Plenty men have grown up without Fathers and have become successful celebrities with children of their own whom many respect. As a man, throughout the course of your life you learn through personal experience or vicariously through others how to navigate this here planet of ours and we need to do a better job of sharing knowledge and wisdom. From what I see thus far, us men…especially popular men have contributed to what we know so well. Patriarchy and all its evils, intellectual selfishness and overall aggression no matter the cost. I can’t help but feel like for every moment we degrade father-less people we add onto the pain, struggle and disconnection. What is stopping us from telling our fellow brother or sister “I know what you are going through and I’m here to help”? It’s either “She’s doing this because she has Daddy issues” or “He wearing skinny’s because He ain’t have no Daddy”. Our outlook passes down to our children who then become bullies in school because they inherit our ignorance.

A popular saying going around is “Be the person you needed when you were younger” and I try to completely live by it. We should be experienced enough to know ridicule only places a person into defense mode instead of being receptive. My generation, in particular, still indulges in berating women, being apolitical, perpetual vanity slaves along with encouraging violence through music, movies and social media. We still have a chip on our shoulder so we forget that future generations could be weaned off the problematic behavior if we did our due diligence. It’s time we acknowledge the issues that have caused men not to be involved in their children’s lives and step in when possible. I personally have been in jail and witnessed how badly those men missed their children. Photos on the wall and almost at tears about the situation that has kept them from their seeds. The conscious side of me knows why these (many nonviolent) criminally disposed folks wind up in the system and it kills my soul knowing they want to be that pillar. Another part of me knows that not too many, even participating Fathers aren’t aware of the disconnect given to us by the “War on Black Pe……err I mean Drugs”. We attack the stems for clearance and not the root is what I’m saying but in the process… we still have a jungle.

We as men need to lead by example, if raised by a Father, pass on the gems of wisdom without chastising. Those of us who had little to none interaction with our old man who had to learn things the harder way should share what we’ve learned in our struggles. We need to be weary of what comportment we will to our juvenescent selves. But to set a positive trend, we need to better ourselves. Check your indoctrinated minds and educate yourself so future generations don’t repeat our failures. This includes hypocrisy and judgmental ways when many of us still require guidance or what I like to call “Re-raising”. We should make it imperative to be on one accord moving forward as a people so we can be the type of men that create change alongside our women, respectfully. It’s time to stop being an outsider, letting rappers and entertainers raise our children, related or not the fault falls on us.