Fathers Day? Every day – The Power of the Black Father – By Yvonne Sam

Fathers Day? Every day – The Power of the Black Father

By Yvonne Sam

A father’s responsiveness to his children and his emotional availability are key characteristics of fathers that facilitate children’s development.

Some fathers come home every day wearing a suit and a tie. Some arrive home wearing coveralls speckled with paint or dirt. Others arrive home wearing a blue collar uniform. Yet there are others who come home clad in civvies after a long day of just looking for work.

Irregardless of the circumstances, if they arrive in the spirit of love, they bring a power to the home that cannot be substituted. Regrettably our culture just does not honor fathers as was formerly done. The focus now is on other groups. Yes, feminists groups did more than just secure equal rights for women, they have succeeded in pushing men out of the way as our society becomes more and more feminized, the role of man and father becomes less. No longer is the father a dominant or important figure as he once was in the traditional family structure.   

Whenever I address the topic, I am sure to hear from some readers who want me to know that the problem exists in other communities. Yes, undoubtedly so. You can find fathers in other communities who are not doing what they ought to do. However, they are not the subject of my topic.

The future of our society may well hang in the balance with the advancement of new techniques in cloning and in vitro developments. We may soon arrive at a point where it is finally possible to eliminate men altogether. Thankfully we are not there yet, and to the best of my recent recall fathers remain an intricate part of the procreation cycle. Beyond being often classified as mere sperm donors, the role of fathers in the lives of children especially black males have never been more important or necessary that it is right now. One mummy, two mummies, or twenty seven mummies is no substitute for one daddy. Black men bring power into a family, and the knowledge, the energy, the development when they are there, makes the whole world an unlimited universe. However, when they are absent it takes away from the power of the Black family.

The power of having a Black father or a Black man in the home is tremendous because it gives symbolism. The Black father should be a role model for his children and all children in his community. If you are in the home, then that’s leadership. That is the role of a man— providing, nurturing, caring and teaching.  In the absence of that, it falls to a woman.  A woman cannot understand how to be a man. It is both mentally and biologically impossible. And when that man is absent, then it falls to the uncles, the church, to the community and to the village. The oft repeated African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child has little or no relevance today. There is no village to raise the children….. no collective community effort to ensure that most black children will grow up capable of succeeding in  the 21st century.  Often the village means domineering friends, gang leaders or whatever figures of authority comes into the life of the child.

The power of the Black father can serve as a revolutionizing force, bringing the kind of modelling that a young man needs to see.  Sometimes they will watch and learn more from watching than from hearing what a parent is saying. Home education is the duty of the parents especially the father.  A good strong father can make the difference between a lifetime of disappointment and anger, and a lifetime of fulfillment and good parenting in turn.  Children who do not have a father at home are more likely to do poorly in school than those who do.

One of the hardest truths of fatherhood is that you never know how well you have done until it is too late to do anything about it. When the tot who once clung to your shin or tugged your trousers at knee level, becomes a man looking at you in the eye, you realize with shocking abruptness that the time for molding personality and life wisdom is long past.

So often what a child remembers best and values most is not what a father did or did not do.

Easy over! In no way am I saying that those things do not matter. What I am saying, in truth and reality is what matters more is that you are “there”. Predictably, dependably, reliably is there.

Putting aside, food and shelter arguably the most fundamentally important thing you give a child is simply your presence.

Yes I know that such a statement defies conventional wisdom in a culture that normalizes father absence and happily pretends the interchangeability of woman and man. Fathers change the equation when they are there.  One parent will never do that’s why the Good Lord gave us two.

So to all dads Happy Father’s Day and please be there, that is my fervent prayer. Your presence is power way beyond any 24 hour.

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  • cedric thompson  On 06/08/2018 at 3:11 am

    one of your best pieces.well stated.

  • John JSPS  On 06/08/2018 at 8:31 am

    Sorry wrong addressee

    From: John JSPS [mailto:revsx2@gmail.com] Sent: June 8, 2018 8:29 AM To: ‘Guyanese Online’ Subject: RE: [New post] Fathers Day? Every day – The Power of the Black Father – By Yvonne Sam

    Well, I am the ONLY photographer…so I win… J

    Love, John

  • Ram Jagessar  On 06/08/2018 at 11:06 am

    Those are nice sentiments on the black father for Father’s Day. But I haven’t seen much evidence in Trinidad (a place where I spent 42 years) of black males stepping up to the plate to become the black fathers that Yvonne Sam praises. Even black commentators like NJAC have admitted openly that there is little change in the old model of sperm donor, absentee father dropping children here and there and taking off. It seems like most black men have to have a deputy and they are blasted proud of it too. Not a good model for the young boy or girl at all.
    Now I know there are exceptions, plenty of them, and would venture a guess that maybe as much as 20% of black fathers can toe the line drawn by Yvonne Sam. That would mean, however, that 80% of black fathers ain’t playing ball!
    It seems a lot of black people are not learning from the past, which is admittedly horrid. I thought black people in Trinidad and the Caribbean had admitted that their society was broken by the white man under slavery, and it was time to remake black society in a more traditional and solid base. Eric Williams told them massa day done, black people to take over and lift themselves up by the bootstraps.
    It look like black people forget that last part, about remaking the mould with plenty concrete and steel foundation. The new black Trinidad after 1956 looks suspiciously like the old black Trinidad, but with just some more material and financial resources.
    In comparison, the social/cultural/family structures of the Indians, the Europeans, the Chinese, the Syrian Lebanese in Trinidad seem to be much more wholesome.
    If it’s not being too impertinent, let me ask why the hell black people can’t learn from other people living right next door to them? I haven’t heard too many complaints about the Indian father as father model (except for rum drinking!). Trinidad has hundreds of thousands of such Indian men in every corner. Is it too much to ask that black men take a lil example?

  • Ron Saywack  On 06/08/2018 at 2:02 pm

    Father’s Day approaches — and Miss Sam opts to compartmentalize the subject matter to just the Black father, instead of fathers in general? Why narrow the topic of your discussion to just one demographic, Miss Sam?

    No one can argue against the power of the two-parent, nuclear family structure. Children, not just Black children, need both parents for emotional, financial and cultural, and other support in the formative years. The absence of the father is unfortunate and can, in some cases, result in devastating, psychosomatic consequences for the children.

    Why are so many Black fathers absent in their children’s lives? In America, for example, young Black males are likely to be disproportionately incarcerated for minor offences such as drug possession or a traffic offense, murdered and/or face great difficulty finding employment. Black men have always struggled in American society, going back to the days of slavery when they were crudely and cruelly ripped apart from their families.

    Many Black men have children with multiple partners and as such can only be with one partner at a time. But that does not necessarily mean that they are not involved in the children’s lives. Some of them may send remittances (money).

    Overall, it is a ‘tragic’ circumstance when a father is absent in his children’s lives. It can and often lead a host of problems for the children which can have generational consequences.

    My late father-in-law in Krakow, Poland chose to abandon his family, completely and permanently, from day one. As a result, my wife was raised by a single mother under very difficult circumstances. Her father was happily married to the bottle -Vodka. To this day, my kids’mother periodically struggles with the lingering effects of her childhood abandonment. That is a chapter in her life that cannot be revised or revoked.

    Happily, my two young children always say that they have the best dad in the world. And I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment, every stage of their lives. They blossom knowing that they are unconditionally loved. It cannot be any other way.

    Happy Father’s Day.

  • Hermina  On 06/08/2018 at 10:35 pm


    Did you see that the writer clearly and specifically stated that she knows that there are other fathers in other communities but that is not the topic on which she bases her discussion?. Let me run it by you again so that you understand what she is saying:

    Here we go:
    Whenever I address the topic, I am sure to hear from some readers who want me to know that the problem exists in other communities. Yes, undoubtedly so. You can find fathers in other communities who are not doing what they ought to do. However, they are not the subject of my topic.

    By the way did you see that she wished all fathers not just Black ones. Happy Fathers Day.

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