As we approach Mother’s Day May 13, we will undoubtedly be inundated with commercial advertisement touting the value of motherhood.
One of our society’s unchallenged truisms is that a mother’s worth cannot be overstated. I would never be foolhardy enough to criticize or otherwise disparage motherhood. But I would truly like to do my part in trying to bring fatherhood into the conversation.
I hope the condensed story I tell touches and inspires you even half as much as it did me. Recently, I was conversing with a fellow who just lost his apartment because his landlord sold the property.
So, through no fault of his own, this gentleman found himself homeless and living in a shelter. But the source of his considerable distress had little to do with his new living arrangements and everything to do with a painful separation from his three sons.
Some time ago, the mother of those children chose addiction over her family and subsequently abandoned them. This man did everything and anything he had to do to convince the court that he was fit to raise his boys. The court agreed and awarded him custody. Those boys perhaps know little of their mother but have grown to love and respect their father for the tremendous sacrifice he made for them. He is much too modest to buy into the accolades that I heaped upon him for being courageous enough to step up after their mother left. Moreover, he agrees that one should not expect to be rewarded for doing what was his responsibility to begin with. Yet this story is truly amazing because fatherhood — especially African American fatherhood — is severely devalued.
When he speaks of “my boys” his face radiates with pride. I have not yet met his boys so I can only imagine how much they love and appreciate their father.
I, for one, salute this unsung hero and wish him an early Happy Father’s Day.