In most families, mom is always the most valuable player. Mom is the fixer and the enforcer, she is always present and accounted for. Many of us brag on how mom’s love, strength, and knowledge guided us to becoming our absolute best. I can testify about the greatness of mothers because I have a great mother, and I was raised by many great mothers. However, I have to tell you that I would not be the woman that I am had I not been my daddy’s little girl.
In our culture, mothers receive most of the glory when speaking about parenting. I am sure that the lack of celebratory vibes surrounding fathers can be credited to generations of absent fathers by way of prison, death, separations, and abandonment. While the reasons may vary, the absence of fathers has created a new normal in the African-American community. The absence of fathers has left a void in the lives of many children and created a playbook for boys that makes it okay to leave kids fatherless. The lack of fathers has also birthed a single mother culture that often downplays the importance of fathers.
Ideally, a girl’s first experience with male love is courtesy of her father, and while this love isn’t romantic, it helps build expectations of what love should look and feel like. My daddy’s love has always been strong and unconditional, his love taught me that I was special, unique, and beautiful. My daddy’s love guided me and helped me understand how to love others and how they should love me in return. He showered me with lovely things and would always say, “Daddy is giving you this because I love you, you are a good daughter, and when you are good, you deserve good.”
As a girl, I didn’t understand what he meant, but now I do: love is fueled by action and it’s showcased in many ways. You can see and feel love when it’s authentic. I always felt my daddy’s love and I expect the same of any man who claims to have romantic love for me. Even today, I am a 41-year-old woman whose heart still skips a beat when my daddy says, “Daddy loves you, baby.”
My daddy was born in 1934 in rural Georgia. He was forced to drop out of school in the third grade, and he doesn’t read and write well. His generation was encouraged to work hard and provide for the family, which is what he has always done. I remember my dad saying, “A woman shouldn’t have to tell a man what she needs him to do in his home, he should know.” Whew. That word has stuck with me and directly affected every guy I was ever in a serious relationship with. The moment I realized any guy I dated wasn’t a man willing to commit to doing his manly duties in the relationship and around the house, I began planning my exit. I refused to get stuck with some selfish, lazy negro who in the words of my step-daddy, “ wouldn’t work at a pie factory, tasting pies.”
I thank God my parents found a way to co-parent because I know without a doubt that having my father in my life made all the difference. Because this man crowned me as his princess and treated me like royalty, I transitioned into the queen I am today. I know for a fact that I look at men and grade them based on my dad’s actions. Even though I have kissed my share of frogs, I never expected them to turn into a prince because I knew they didn’t have what it took, thanks to my daddy. My dad fostered the growth of my self-love and worth, So I never felt pressured to settle in relationships that didn’t serve me well.
Oh, and he always stressed the importance of hard work and education. My dad knew first hand that hard work built character, but most of all if promised stability, which is something that he wanted to assure I possessed with or without a man. He wanted me to thrive in an area that he never had the opportunity to which is why nothing was more important than me receiving an education. Throughout my entire life, my father has taught me lessons in love and life that I carry with me and apply to life daily. When I act and react to the world, I give much of what I was given to me by my first love, my daddy.
So yeah, even as a single mother, I have to emphasize the importance of fathers because being a daddy’s girl help mold girls to become great women. Ladies, how many of you agree?