“For my brothers with daughters, I call this, For my brothers with daughters, I call this”, the rapper Nas sounds an alarm in his song daughters. It speaks on the imperative and necessary need for the father/daughter relationship. Langston Hughes asked “What happens to a dream deferred?” I ask, “What happens to a daughter un-fathered?”
In today’s society all we hear is the overwritten tale of the “absent black man”. This article however is the exact antithesis of that idea. It is written to be a beacon. It’s an effervescing, sprightly, testament to the forgotten hero, the present father.
I am the product of a biologically congruent, two-parent, upper-middle class, college educated, loving, God fearing African American home. According to the U.S. Census reporting in 2008 only 38% of black children are raised in a two-parent household. I consider myself blessed. I often refer to my rearing as; the wit and love of the Cosbys, the complexity and swearing of the Obsornes, and the pride of the Kennedys.
Now 28, I have the most beautiful, vast, complex, and awesome concept of marriage and commitment. This experience and upbringing as also birthed the most wonderful view and expectation of the black male, a king. A girl’s first love is her father. He’s a superhero. I say with unmitigated temerity that “I KNOW SUPERMAN!” I’ve been privy to his kryptonite and never seen him defeated.
The unbreakable bond forged between my father and I shaped so many things in my life. I am confident and comfortable around members of the opposite sex. I’ve been taught I am to be respected and admired. I’ve received “true game’’, from a “true Mack”, sorry mom. I know who I am and I’m proud of her. There were expectations of my success that were instilled until they were intrinsic. Now that’s Inception.
My father has given me a plethora of things for which I am ever grateful. The one I hold closest is love. While my father is/was an excellent provider money could’ve never taken the place of the weekends in the park, the teaching of how to get a perfect jump shot, bike riding, and reading. There is not a present or gift that could replace late night talks or crying in his arms when hurt. I am now a woman. I have the most incredible idea of what a man is. I have no desire to search for a father as we so often see in our community. I have one. I long for a mate, an equal. I sit in anticipation of the day when I allow myself to submit to a God-fearing man because I trust, that he trust God.
This is the result of a present father. I am the result of a present father. He is and will always be Superman. True story: One night when I was four my father and I went on a ride. I don’t remember the destination. We rode all the time to simply talk and explore. This night was very dark. I couldn’t find the moon anymore. So I asked “Daddy will you put the moon back on my side”. “Sure”, he replies with no hesitation. A moment later to my amazement there it was! “Wow, Dad you are so cool”. “Baby, you’re my first-born. I’d move the moon, heaven, and Earth if you asked”. Now at four I did not know he simply turned the car around but the experience was awesome. I can tell you at 28, with a son of my own, my father still moves the moon.
I urge the fathers to stand up. The need for the black man in today’s society is more than visible. We don’t need statistics or facts to explain to us how this absence affects our youth. Be the man you want her to look for later. Be the change you want to see. Educate your daughter on just how beautiful she is. Start by respecting her mother so it rings evident. There is not a replacement for the father. You are a necessary and vital part of her existence. Make your life count by changing hers.