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The Black Cornerempty posted on: 6.02
Mike Ramey Mike Ramey
Welcome Back--Dad!
by Mike Ramey
The Manhoodline
some text

This is my annual tribute to the Brotherhood on Father's Day. I also hasten to add that this is the FIRST Father's Day after the events of 9-11. So, for those Dads who are overseas in the various branches of military, you get a tip of the hat from yours truly!

But I would also like to take the time to tip my hat to those fathers who are out of the workforce, for one reason or another.

These men are tagged the 'Stay At Home' Fathers. They are still a vital part of the brotherhood, and are worthy of our support. These men, and the men who fill the ranks of Single Fathers, have NOT been getting a lot of respect, as of late. Some think that there is something 'unnatural' about a father not being out in the workforce.

Sadly, there are going to be times when a man's career is changed without his permission. Life DOES happen. A man cannot help that the economy is going south, or his wife decides to 'walk' to 'find herself', leaving HIM with the kids and the household.

These brothers are STILL our brothers, and deserve our support. Every man faces reverses in life, from time to time. It is the responsibility for the brotherhood to support them; not distance themselves from them! After all--if the SAME situation happened to you--YOU would like to know that there were men in your corner, ready to lend a helping hand and advice. If you GIVE support, you will GET support when your time of need comes around!

Over the years, America has evolved into the perfect 'disposable' society. If anything goes against the PC crowd, or other venues of conventional wisdom, it is quickly discarded and dispatched.

A few years ago, fatherhood fit that description. Thanks to the socially ignorant in Washington, the social eggheads in academia, and the social engineers in the ranks of the Left and the Right, fathers and fatherhood were routinely 'dissed'. Then came the studies from the Halls of Science.

Psychologists, MSWs, and even Criminologists touted not only the need for active fathers; but general support for two-parent families. Some of the studies suggested that Dad had more on the ball than many had given him credit for in the recent past. Their end analysis: Father REALLY knew best when it came to keeping the family going and growing.

I might also add this word of warning: DON'T expect the feminized mainstream press to show much support for fatherhood. Recently I came across an article that pointed out that Hollywood is still turning out shows that show fathers as buffoons, idiots, and know-nothings.

It's going to take more of us, brothers, NOT watching television, and NOT going to movies to pound the point into Hollywood and the entertainment industry. I don't like to go to films where fatherhood, and manhood are treated as an afterthought.

The reason why the new film 'Spider-Man' has soundly whupped 'Harry Potter' at the box office: Peter Parker's Uncle Ben taught the young man during his formative years: "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility." That phrase has done a lot for me over the years.

Stan Lee also gets a tip of the hat from me. When he created this hero some 40 years ago, he put that driving principle into public display. You can't have Spider-Man without realizing that his Uncle Ben--a surrogate father--played a major role in his life.

In April, 2002, the Sunday edition of the comic strip 'Curtis', by Ray Billingsley pointed out the true need for fathers in a straight-up funny way. Curtis is the young hero of the strip; having to wrestle with growing pains natural to a pre-teen. In this particular strip, Curtis and his dad are talking about the youth's latest mishap; deciding to 'cut' school on the advice of a friend. Of course, word about this gets back to his parents. His dad takes him out on the streets of their hometown for some conversation and observation. The father and son happen across an old-looking street person, and Curtis tosses the man some change. The father proceeds to tell Curtis about the guy who led HIM to cut classes, and the temptation to do the right thing; stay in school.

Needless to say, by the end of the strip, Curtis asks his dad whatever happened to THAT guy; the guy who had 'all the answers', and seemed to 'get away' with his bad attitude, rude manners, and 'drinking, drugging, and chasing'. The father sadly replies, (and I'll paraphrase): "THAT was the guy you gave the spare change to".

For the young people in the house, 'Dad', just like 'Mom' has been where you've STILL got to go! Many teens quickly forget that their fathers had to wrestle with a host of temptations when THEY were growing up. While the temptations of today may 'seem' different, in reality they are only 'souped up' versions of what WE had to face 'back in the day.'

That strip is a proud part of my 'advice' file; just ready for any young person who thinks that skipping school will lead them to a better life. In reality, there MAY be a street corner with YOUR name on it--IF you don't listen to your Dad!

That same advice can also be transferred to the marriage relationship.

Mothers and fathers are different when it comes to discipline in the home. It is a wise wife who realizes that her husband is the one who is head of the home, the way God intended it to be. The wife that works to 'undercut' her husband to please her friends--or her children--is courting TROUBLE with a capital T. This is especially true in second-marriage relationships where children are involved, and Dad is a Stepfather.

I have personally witnessed incidents where second marriages have taken place, and the wife 'blocks' her new husband in the area of parental discipline. Sadly, I have also seen, and heard of instances where second marriages have been split up because one parent or the other let the children rule the home, instead of the new spouse. After all, it's 'socially acceptable' to paint step-parents with a dark brush. Even in fairy tales, the step parent is looked upon as being 'evil' or 'hateful'.

Let me weigh in on this.

A Step father is even MORE of a father. He entered the situation by choice; to raise another man's children and attempt to mold them into decent, hard-working, upright young people. A Step father should NOT be abused, but should be commended. He examples the BEST qualities of fatherhood and deserves our prayers and support. A Step father CAN make a difference IF he is given his respect, and heeded.

Oh sure, it may be socially acceptable to 'dis' Step fathers. But it is not wise. Nor will it help your children in the long run. Because the day WILL come, sister, when YOUR children grow up, and may be in that situation themselves.

 But, let's move on. If there were one trait that my father passed on to me, and I have passed on to my children, it is the trait of perseverance. In other words, you keep on working at the job you have been handed, until it is finished. Yes, racism exists. So does laziness, drunkenness, and all of the deadly sins. Add to this list the fact that there ARE people out there who are just plain old MEAN, and 'get their kicks' by trying to inject their poison into others.

However, because they DO exist, a father must teach their children to work hard to bypass the negatives, and focus on the positives of life. To develop a 'thick skin' against these sins--and the people who carry them into the public arena.

It takes a Mother to turn a girl into a woman. It takes a Father to turn a boy into a Man.

In our post 9-11 America, the lesson taught in the biblical illustration 'The Prodigal Son' is ever more needed. That story is contained in the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. While much of the focus is on the son that strayed--and the son that stayed--the father in the story is a model of what fatherhood should be.

THIS particular father understood both of his children. He knew that one needed to forgive himself, and the other needed to forgive his brother for being human. It's not enough to teach a child to forgive themselves, but to not 'cop an attitude' toward those who have strayed off the path of life.

The most beautiful part of fatherhood is showing our wives and children how to destroy those OTHER sins that folks don't like to talk about. Bitterness. Revenge. Self-righteousness. Blaming others when the fault rests with the individual. These sins ALSO creep into families on the sly. It takes a father to call sin what sin is--and show their children and their wives how to get the log out of THEIR eyes, whenever they spot a splinter in someone else's eye.

To the Dads in the crowd--enjoy your Father's Day. We still NEED you! And a hearty WELCOME BACK.

Mike Ramey is the author of: "The Manhood Line", a monthly, syndicated column written for men from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective. To correspond, drop email to The opinions expressed are those of the author and are used on by permission.
©Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications, 2002

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