I don't normally do this but I want to put a "DISCLAIMER" at the very beginning of this article because I want to make it clear that I do indeed know and recognize that there are single mothers all over the world that do a phenomenal job at raising their sons all by theirselves, and that those children grow up to be strong intelligent men that go on to have wonderful families of their own. I applaud you all. It is a testament to us as women to have done so, standing in the gap of absent fathers to raise our children to be the men that we could only wish we were able to provide for them as father figures and role models in their early years. This article is not to diminish you or any of what you have accomplished or achieved as parents. It is simply to acknowledge the difference that having father figure or role model can make.
Make no mistake about this, I am a strong independent woman who has managed to build and raise my family under some seriously difficult circumstances, but love and faith kept us together. My children, now all grown adults, have all begun families of their own. I have five beautiful grandchildren who I love and cherish, all being raised in loving homes with competent parents, sound structure and a plan for their future, but I am accutely aware that this is not the case for all children.
As a single mother I am speaking from experience when I say that trying to raise my sons to be everything that I believe a good man should be was more than just a little challenging. I was just a child myself when I married their father and had no clue as to what it took to be a good wife, much less a mother, but at the time all either of us could do is take care of our children the best way that we knew how. Age and inexperinced worked against us and the only guide we really had was our own moral compasses, but would that be enough?
The father of my children was physically abusive and after 3 children within a three and a half year period I decided that the only thing that I could do was leave. My first born son had become very protective over his younger brother who would have nightmares about his father coming after him whenever he would hear the tree branches outside scraping against his window pane. He suffered from asthma and on more nights than I care to remember I would find myself in his room after one of these episodes, rubbing on his chest trying to calm his nerves.
What I began to understand is that children learn by mimicking what they see and hear in whatever serves as their regular normal enviornment. So if a child is raised in a violent environment, violence becomes as natural to the child as breathing. Likewise if the child's normal environment is saturated with love, they are more likely to lean towards a more nururing demeanor. That being the case, it becomes understandable how in homes where a positive father figure or role model is not present, the child, who's mind is like a sponge, picks up their traits from friends, neighbors, the streets, gangs, and other outside influences. This point cannot be overstated enough, without a positive role model for a young man to imprint upon, he becomes open, vulnerable and easily confused about just exactly what a real man is suppose to be.
Yes, I can preach and teach to my sons "VERBALLY" how a man should love, respect, provide for and uplift his woman and his family, but our words as mothers pale in comparison to the child being able to "WITNESS" with his own eyes how a man should respect his woman. He needs to see with his own eyes that there is strength and not weakness in being vulnerable to his wife. It is from his father that he should see that a man can be both strong and sensitive. Both a provider and a nurturer. Because from a child's point of view, no one is stronger than their dad and no one is as loving as their mom...at least in an ideal world.
I am now in a relationship with a loving man who is a phenomenal father. And seeing him interact with his son on a day to day basis, teaching him the values of what it takes to be a man of character and dignity, of strength and sincerity, how to treat his sisters, how he should respect both his biological mother and me, to drive a five speed, play golf, ect...I recognize that I am bearing witness to the shaping of a mind, heart and soul...and that the end result, because of who he is being modeled after...will be nothing short of perfection. I can't help but to wonder now how things would have been for my own sons if they had what they needed in their "FATHER" and not just a baby's daddy or a sperm donor,.. but a real FATHER in their life, to show them the way, so that they may teach their sons, what they need to know. Yes I raised two sons and a daughter, but who actually taught them to be men? This was a question that I finally found the courage to ask I ask my first born. His answer was; "You did Ma,...to a point. The rest I learned from the streets." I'm proud of who he has evolved into, but I definitely was not happy with this answer. We need reclaim our responsibility as parents to see things through with our children, even if the relationship between the adults falls through. I know it's easier said than done, but it needs to be addressed and corrected. Not just for our sakes, but the whole world. The children that we allow to go unguided are the ones we are leaving this world to. We owe it to them and ourselves to ensure that they are equipped with correct tools, mentally and emotionally, to carry on whatever legacy we leave behind. And that starts with us as parents. Fathers as providers, mothers and nurturers, teaching, guiding, loving and raising up our children in the way that they should go...so that they don't end up losing their way when we are gone. - What say you?