Chances are, you may know a deadbeat father. He may pay child support, as in the case of my son’s father, but doesn’t care to help raise the child or make himself known in that child’s life. More common are deadbeats who choose to not see their child and doesn’t pay child support.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when part of that village ain’t shit? Far too long in the Black community, we have complained about the lack of quality fathers and Male role models.
Women are being left too often to raise their children alone. Single motherhood has grown so common in America that demographers now believe half of all children will live with a single mom at some point before the age of 18.*
Where is the village? Where is the deadbeat’s sister? Brother? Uncle? Mother? Father? Yes some dead beat Dad’s have great fathers in their lives. Surprising, isn’t it?
From the start, the father of my son wanted nothing to do with us. I was fine with that. He definitely had a choice in the matter. I did, however immediately file for child support once our son was born.
I let the family of my son’s father know about his birth. My son was born three months early and faced an uphill battle to survive his first few months of life.
Most of his Dad’s family had a nonchalant response to my son’s birth. Needless to say there is absolutely no communication between my son’s father and I. But during that period after my son was born, I reached out to his family via social media. I added his sister and father to my Facebook page.
My son’s Dad lost his father recently, whom my son is partly named after. I was saddened because my son will never know the man he shares his name with. I know how much my son loves my father, whom he also shares a name with. I had hoped he could experience that bond with his paternal grandfather as well.
I expressed my condolences to my son’s Aunt on her FB status and didn’t bother to reach out to her further. I reached out to the mom of my son’s half siblings to see how the kids were handling the loss. Her first reaction was where did I hear the news. She maintains she didn’t even know about his passing and goes on to share some details I didn’t need to know. I wished her a good evening and quickly exited the conversation.
After our exchange, I realize, she has been drama and sharing TMI since I initially messaged her to see if our kids could meet a few years back. My son longs for an older brother and he has one, her son. Despite their age differences, I know my son would like to know his older brother. When I ask him does he want siblings? My son always tells me he wants an older brother.
As adults, we need to get out of our own way of successfully raising our children. These vicious cycles are being repeated because the village ain’t shit. A woman’s issues with her ex husband and his family is why it’s so difficult to even attempt a cordial meeting for my son and his half siblings.
Every step of the way I’ve tried to provide a way for my son’s other family to get to know him. I don’t contact them asking for money or anything material for my son. I don’t even contact them once a year. My son’s Aunt removing me from her Facebook page was surprising at best. She did it after I expressed my condolences concerning her father. I was shocked by the act because we never interacted much even though we were “FB friends.”
Even at 5-years-old my son is keenly aware of familiar bonds. In his short life he has attended his fair share of birthday parties, funerals, anniversary celebrations and a few weddings. Though I’m not with his father, I wish the Dad’s village were better so that my son could know that side of his family.
I named my son after his father and grandfather because I wanted his father’s family to know him should they ever encounter him in life. I feel that family names are important. I wanted to give my son a name that meant something. I feel he has a strong name.
In all honestly, I am not surprised at his family’s reaction. Mama’s baby, Daddy’s maybe is a familiar saying to many people. We the village need to discard this way of thinking. The child belongs to the mother and father that created him or her and by proxy the village.
We are the entire village for these young boys and girls growing up without a Dad. We are their uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, sisters and brothers, even if Daddy ain’t shit. The age differences may be great, but we can still try to assist in raising and encouraging these youth. A birthday card here or there could make a difference in a child’s life. There should be no children feeling lost and confused because they have no father. Instead the village should be there for these children. The village can take up the slack where that parent has dropped the ball.
We can no longer sit by quietly and whisper about “Cousin Tyrone” with all the kids he has with different women or “Cousin Felecia” who is on child #4 but doesn’t have custody of her other kids. We must do what we can, no matter how small or big to ensure those children have a village. We must help correct the mistakes of the past. We can turn this fatherless child situation in our communities into a call to action for us all. When part of the village ain’t shit, it is up to those that care and can, to step in and be a village for that child. In 2017, let’s make a commitment to leave no child left behind in our families.