Yesterday being Father’s Day and all, I found myself struggling with what to say in the pulpit.
I don’t like to do Father’s Day or Mother’s Day sermons. Those are not good “church days.” Mother’s Day is generally sad, and Father’s Day has over it an air of indifference.
So, I had to struggle yet again on what to say and how to say it. I ended up talking about men being fathers “after God’s own heart.” But I found myself veering over to have a conversation with the women.
True, in the African American community, more fathers need to be present and “step up,” to be not only baby makers, paternity firmly established by DNA, but also involved in the experience called fatherhood. I think the damage done to family structure during slavery has had serious and tragic repurcussions, and one of the most serious has been the phenomenon of the “baby daddy.”
But if there is a “baby daddy,” there is a “baby momma,” too, meaning, too many women willing to have sex with anyone, just anyone, even if she knows he is not the man she’d like to marry. There are still too many of us women who are so starved for love, and so confused about what love is, that we will settle for anyone, get pregnant, and then be stuck with raising a child alone.
We create the “baby daddy.”
So many of us know going into the bedroom that this is about to be a wild night, and for some reason, too many of us still think that it’s OK to have a baby when we are not ready. Anyone pregnant this day and age wants to be pregnant, which leads me to believe that too many of us do not believe that raising a child is hard work, an art form, actually, a job about which we ought to think long and hard before we enter the ranks.
It angers me, then, that, once the baby is born, and the “baby daddy” takes off, that we take on the victim role and begin to criticize the man for not being around. It also angers me that if the “baby daddy” wants to be involved in his child’s life, we use the baby or babies, as it were, to punish the man for not being our Prince Charming. The one who suffers is the baby; the culture that suffers is our own.
There is nothing fun about raising one child alone, let alone more. My two children were very young when theire father and I divorced, and it was a bear, trying to raise them to be well-adjusted, well-educated and well-taken care of while trying to be a pastor on a limited income at the same time.
When I see, then, women having baby after baby, sometimes with different men, my cheeks get hot. I get angry because those kids will not have a dad, but instead a frustrated, overworked mother who has no idea how hard it is to raise a child, or how important it is to raise a child who can compete aptly in this society.
Pro-lifers don’t care about kids without fathers. They want babies to be born, but throw them to the wolves and rather blame them for their course in life once they are born.
It is unfair and unkind to bring a child into the world when we cannot take care of them. It is selfish to bring them into the world when we cannot take care of them, and it is unfair to put all the blame for the absence of the father on the men. Too many of us know, going into the bedroom, that “ol boy” is not the one we want to live with for the rest of our lives.
Oh, I went back to talking about the importance of being a father after God’s own heart after I had the heart to heart with us women. Were we not to allow them to have sex with us… no, let me say it another way: were we more discriminate in who we have sex with, the “baby daddy” phenomenon might quietly fade into oblivion … which is where it needs to fade.
That’s just a candid observation.