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He Said: RealGoesRight

Recently, an explosion of comments took place on relationship and dating expert Tony Gaskins Jr’s Facebook page. Gaskins Jr’s page, home to over 200,000 “likes,” posted a comment which garnered 44,000 shares, 2,400 comments, and 27,000 likes. The comment, which was sent to Gaskins’ inbox said this:

This is to the SINGLE MOTHERS.. If your child’s father wouldn’t give you his last name then why did you give your child that man’s last name? You’re giving that man a false sense of fatherhood. If you have to take care of your child alone then your child should have your last name, not an absent man’s.

This…was a mouthful and it got me to thinking about the importance of giving children the last names of fathers who aren’t involved in that child’s life.

To start, I want all of my children to have my last name. Admittedly, this isn’t something I’ve ever thought about, since I’ve always had the goal of being married before I had children. With that said, even if I wasn’t going to be in a relationship with the mother of my child(ren), I’d still want them to carry my last name. I have every intention on being there every step of the way with my kids, so them carrying my name is part of our lineage. Although I’m not concerned with carrying on the legacy of our name, it’s something that may be important to them and as such, I’d like for them to have the option to do so.

Now, if I were a man who had a child and didn’t want to have any involvement in his/her life, I wouldn’t want them to have my last name. Besides the obvious reasons of not wanting any association with them, I also wouldn’t want the kid to have to carry the burden of having the name of a father who wanted nothing to do with them. I recognize this opinion may not be a widespread one because it doesn’t mean another man wouldn’t want “his” kid to have his name. However, I honestly don’t think a man would care. After all, if he didn’t care enough to stay in the child’s life, why would he care about the child’s last name?

Politics surrounding the last name of children took me to Twitter where I thought seeing other people’s perspectives would help me flesh out this post. Most of the men that answered said as long as they were involved in the life of their child, they wanted them to carry his name. Interestingly enough, I got a very different answer when discussing it with women. Most of the women who responded, said looked at the child carrying the father of the last name as an honor. A few of echoed similar sentiments that was sent to Tony Gaskins. The ladies felt that if a man wanted the child to have his last name, then he should’ve married them to ensure that it would happen. One of my responders (a mother) said all of her children have HER last name and only one of her children’s fathers took issue with it. He took issue with it because he was the only grandson and he wanted the lineage of his name to be carried on.

From what I gathered in my impromptu survey, it matters a great deal to men that the kids carry their name…if they’re involved in the kid’s life. If they’re not involved, then it doesn’t seem to matter. For me, I would want any child I went half on to carry my name, regardless of whatever happened between the mother and I.


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