HE’S STILL THE FATHER OF THAT CHILD…NOT YOU

This is going to ruffle some feathers, I know. Especially when there are a lot of emotions involved, but I have to speak on this, because it is a real issue.

First, why is there always a discussion surrounding Father’s Day, and if the day is a day to celebrate fathers, why are there women out here seeking to be celebrated for being a father on that day?

The original concept of Father’s Day was actually inspired by a single dad who embraced the challenges of raising his six children alone after his wife died. By including mothers, who are single and raising children without proper assistance from their children’s father, on a day designed for fathers, helps the male role in the child’s life become further devalued.

Contrary to the cultural campaign identifying single mothers as candidates for Father’s Day, this day is designed to honor the men who acknowledge their children and hold their roles as dads in high esteem. Men who are actually involved in the upbringing of their children should be honored, celebrated and appreciated – not undervalued or diminished on their special day because there are men who have not stepped up and been a responsible father. When it comes to mothers, I can’t honestly recall a time where I have ever heard people refer to mothers as anything other than mothers.

I mean, I see select fathers get called things like ‘My Baby Daddy’ or ‘Deadbeat Dads’ – particularly when they have seemingly fallen short in some areas. I also see fathers get called things like ‘Sperm Donors’ or other demeaning or disparaging terms when they haven’t met the standard of fatherhood.

Again, I can’t speak to what the mother of a child has gone through, or what the mother of a child is currently dealing with, and I’m especially never going to justify a father not fulfilling his role as a father because of various reasons, but we need to make something abundantly clear. Although there are many painful and legitimate reasons women find themselves raising their children alone, that does not qualify them to be considered fathers. Often women are thrust into the role of a single parent due to circumstances outside of their control, but many times, women find themselves rearing children alone as a result of their own decisions and the consequences thereof. If a woman chooses to enter into a sexual relationship with a man, without protection of any kind, there is an extremely high likelihood she will get pregnant and have a child as a result of those choices. That child didn’t choose to come into this world, but there were two consenting adults who chose to have that child – whether the woman got pregnant knowingly or unknowingly. None of us would be here, and none of our children would be here, if it wasn’t for our fathers, or our children’s father. Both of you made a choice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge the magnificent contributions of single moms, and how difficult it is to have to raise a child with no assistance from the father of that child, but I don’t believe that women using Father’s Day as an opportunity to bash their child’s father, and seeking to be acknowledged on Father’s Day, as that child’s ‘father’ is the right thing to display to your child.

Using Father’s Day as a chance to refer to your baby’s father as a ‘Sperm Donor’ or your ‘Baby Daddy’, and spewing vile and demeaning rhetoric about your child’s real father, while facetiously wishing yourself a Happy Father’s Day, is extremely hurtful to that child and oxymoronic in my estimation.

Many of the women who display this type of behavior are being driven by anger, hurt and disappointment, in my opinion. I can understand how being forced to raise a child by yourself, and provide for that child without any assistance from that child’s father, can be extremely overwhelming, but regardless of the circumstances, when it comes to your child, you are still just the mother of that child – not the father, and you will never be the father.

Many of you have seen the syndicated tabloid talk show hosted by Maury Povich called “Maury”, where for over 20 years you’ve heard the infamous phrase – “You are not the Father!”

One of the most famous issues that is regularly covered on the Maury show involves paternity testing, where a mother comes on the show attempting to prove (or disprove, in some rare cases) whether a man is legitimately the biological father of her child or children.

Often the mother will bring the child or children to the studio to prove her claim to Maury. After the initial accusations are made, Maury sits down with both parties to read the results of a paternity test performed before the show’s taping by the exclusive DNA laboratory, DNA Diagnostics Center.

After the results are revealed, the parties react accordingly to the news, with the results either being:

“You are the father!” or “You are not the father!”

Notice, the results weren’t based on how good or bad the man was. The results were based on whether that man was or was not that child’s father…period!

If you are a Star Wars fan, you probably remember deep into the original movie series that the hero of the series, Luke Skywalker, finds out that the evil villain in the series, Darth Vader, is his father, after Darth Vader reveals that to him during a battle as they are trying to kill each other. Check it out though.

Who Darth Vader was, or who Darth Vader had become, had no bearing on the fact that he was still Luke Skywalker’s father. No matter what dark path Darth Vader decided to take in life, or how evil he had chosen to become, the fact remains that Darth Vader was still Luke Skywalker’s father, and no level of anger, disappointment or opinion could change the fact that he was Luke Skywalker’s father. The same applies to us in real life. No matter what a man has decided, or decides to do, he will always be that child’s father, and they are just as much a part of that child being in this world as the mother is.

As I stated before, a father is a father, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. A man’s seed makes him that child’s father, not our personal experiences or opinions. We must accept the responsibility for the cards we are dealt, and then deal with it, so as to not hurt or stifle our children’s future. It’s a tough thing to do, and it’s a hard pill for many to swallow based on what they’ve gone through, but unless you change your perspective, it could negatively impact you and your children for years to come.

By all means, as a society we should continue to find ways to strengthen, empower and honor single women who continue to hold it down for their children. They deserve honor for their extreme commitment and dedication – just not as an equal to a male on Father’s Day, because this day is for men.

There are many who may disagree with my thought process, primarily because many of their emotions are tied to their responses, but to me, the definitions are clear – a male parent is a father and a female parent is a mother. I know everybody has a story, but those are the historical facts that can never be altered.

When a mother is the sole party responsible for her children, she is being a parent – a great parent, but not a father. But even if fathers aren’t being the fathers they should be, mothers everywhere should release them, and at least acknowledge them for the role they played in bringing your child into the world.

According to the dictionary, a father is a male who has child, a male parent or father-in-law, an adopted father or step-father. Any person that does not fall under those guidelines, Father’s Day is not for them.

At the end of the day: He’s Still the Father of that Child…Not You!

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at jboney1@forwardtimes.com