Not Just Planting Seeds, But Watching Them Grow 

Devonte Keith| Staff Writer

Vonte, age 3 with his father Richard Keith

Vonte, age 3 with his father Richard Keith

One of the prominent themes in black families is the absence of the father. We hear in the media as well as in music how black children have to grow up without fathers and the struggles black mothers encounter raising their children alone. Many times we think of our mothers as the anchor, as well as the push that keeps us going, but where exactly does that leave our fathers?

Contrary to the popular belief society has developed, I grew up with both my mother and father, and continue to have both equally involved in my life. When I was younger, I honestly believed all families were like mine: a mother, a father, and maybe even some siblings, but as I grew older I began to realize that not all families were. My father told me that his father raised him to be a man that not only started a family, but also took it upon himself to make sure the family was taken care of by no one but himself.

In our music and media, we see that a lot of people grew up in single parent homes. Although there are people that have made the best out of the situation, there are also those who found a negative role model or a negative means of filling the void of not having a father in their lives. Many rap artists including J. Cole discuss their lives growing up without a father in their lyrics. As you follow their storylines, sometimes you may see that they made the best of the situation, but the road to the top was not always an easy one. In fact, shows such as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air depicted scenes of Will growing up, content without a father in his life. However, later on we see how much anger and sadness he felt when he began to feel that his father didn’t want anything to do with him.

The power of the black patriarch is sometimes overshadowed by the power of the black matriarch due to the simple fact that no one can ever take a mother’s place. However neither is more important than the other. There are so many important lessons I learned from my father that I probably wouldn’t have learned from my mother, or even listened to for that matter. My father taught me how to tie a tie, coordinate my outfit colors, maintain good hygiene and basically shaped me into a bright young man. I’m not saying that my mother couldn’t teach me the same things, but there are certain lessons that have to be taught by men, and some by women.

In the society we live in now, the power of the patriarch is slowly dying out because of fear of responsibility. This strengthens the stereotype that black children grow up in broken homes, which may lead to destructive behaviors and more negative black statistics. I couldn’t imagine life without my father and I don’t even want to think about it. The lessons he taught me will be taught to my children, and my children’s children as a way to keep the power of the patriarch strong within the black community.