Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Fatherhood in the 21st Century.


A Father is , biologically, the male partner who mates with the female to produce a baby .
Fatherhood entails much more than the sexual aspect of baby-making.
Fathers were made to " rule as lords , priests , guides , providers and protectors over their households".
Their children should be "arrows in their quivers and polished stones in their courtyards".
The ideal situation after a child is born would be for the father to be present and be willing to cooperate with his child's mother to rear their offspring by contributing not only his money, but also his time to do this.
Millions of fathers worldwide can be credited for doing an excellent hands- on job of caring for their children.
This millennium has been an era for changes and for a continuation of positive advancement in leaps and bounds in all facets of human life; especially technologically , financially and socially.
Fathers and mothers have to work harder than before to meet the demands of modern living which include giving the best to their children.
Despite the challenges of modern living , the demands of their jobs or professions ,most fathers , make time off to bond with and to spend quality time with their wives and children.


In the absence of conscious efforts and determination by men to perform their roles as fathers, what could happen is they could miss out of sustaining a loving relationship with their children .
There are various reasons given by men who have decided to abandon their parental roles.
This write up is not about the reasons for couples breaking up or about the "pros and cons" of strained love relationships or marital upheavals.
Whatever the reasons for the break-up or break -down of a relationship, the children of the union suffer the adverse effects more than their separated parents do.

For every man who is an unwilling father , there are ten fathers who are very willing and very involved in bringing up their children.
Different men have different reasons why they have decided to abandon some women and their children but these same "reluctant men " are known to have moved on to form long-standing and loving relationships with other women and even set up happy homes with other women and the children they have had with the new women in their lives.

The worrying phenomenon of absentee or run-away fathers is a not recent one and is not peculiar to the 21st century.
For centuries , there has been cases of unwilling fathers and abandoned pregnant girls, or pregnant women , pregnant wives and their children.
Men who are sexual predators , think it is the woman's problem to "take care of herself" and so they would not want to hear the "P" word!
When men like that they hear the word "I am pregnant!" from any woman; the woman would not even see their break lights , for dust!

Increasingly in this era, responsible governments world wide , have set up laws to curb the adverse effects of the problems arising from these social problems.
Unfortunately, all through the ages , there have been men and women who are obsessed with sex; but are not bothered about the repercussions of unbridled sexual liaisons.
The present outcry against this unwholesome practice of unwilling fathers is due to the spotlight by the various societies on the plight of abandoned children and the financial burden on governments to provide for the upbringing of children whose fathers have abdicated their responsibilities.

Fathers who miss out on bonding with their growing children could be classified as absentee , run-away or anonymous fathers.
Nowadays ,some caring and loving fathers see their children, occasionally because they work abroad or they work long hours in order to earn fatter pay cheques.
Also, there are fathers who are willing but unable to perform their fatherly duties because they are incarcerated; serving long prison sentences.
Then, some fathers are willing but unable to be involved with their children's growth, because they have been denied access to them by court orders which have classified such fathers as "Unfit fathers" and the courts have given sole custody of their children to the Social Services or to the children's mothers.
These fathers have formed various protest group to draw attention to their plight.
One of such groups in the UK is "Fathers 4 Justice", which demonstrate occasionally ,sometimes using dramatic antics to register their protests.

"Fathers 4 Justice" protesting on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace.



Run-away fathers are those who have deliberately, decided to put as much distance as they could between them and their children .
They would start their decline into being run-away fathers by ,first, refusing to have anything to do with the up-bringing of their own children even when they live under the same roof with them.
Reluctant fathers are men who do not desire a long-time commitment to any woman or to their own children.
Then from being reluctant and indifferent fathers, they graduate to disappearance.
Such men have been known to relocate to foreign lands, thousands of miles from where their children are; just to avoid their responsibilities.
Sometimes they could be men who have been forced into fatherhood by women who deliberately foist pregnancies on unwilling men, as means of pinning such men down in a relationship.
Before , taking their leave, unwilling fathers could engage the mothers of their children in protracted arguments , quarreling and or severe beatings ; because of the fathers' refusal to to commit and contribute to the upbringing of their children.
Eventually , such face-offs would lead to the situation whereby the unwilling fathers would move out of the home and abandon the kids, for good.

Anonymous fathers are those fathers who do not even know that they have fathered dozens of children,already!
These are men who engage, regularly as a life-style, in "one-night stands" or "flash-in the pan" sexual relationships with various women ; without even knowing the real first names or contact details of their female sexual partners!
Such female partners themselves , also , could be girls who desire one-night stand to make babies only ; but they do not wish to have a committed relationship with any man.

Also in the category of Anonymous fathers are those fathers who have fathered children by either donating or selling their seminal fluid to Fertility Clinics, Sperm Banks and Research Institutes.
Very attractive boys and men from all levels and all walks of life, are selected and invited to sell their sperm to Sperm Banks. These banks store the sperm , labelling the test-tubes with the men's specifications and photographs in their data bank .
Some Fertility Clinics and Sperm Banks advertise their services on the Internet and their target-market are girls and women who desire to make and store their embryos, for future use as single mothers.
Such girls prefer to be busy pursuing their education or busy building their careers and they prefer to delay motherhood till they are in their late 30s when they would be ready to take on the responsibilities of single motherhood.

Usually ,when the fathers shirk their fatherhood responsibilities , mothers are left high and dry; left "holding the baby", literally!
When young children are abandoned by their fathers; the responsibilities of child-rearing fall on their mothers or on foster parents , provided by Social Services.
Abandoned mothers would have to either stop working , or take on part-time employment ; in order to find time for caring for the children.
This affects the family income and therefore, the well-being of the children.

There have been stereotypical blanket statements that children from single parent households or from divorced parents , would end up as social miscreants, criminals and emotionally bankrupt adults who cannot remain married.
This is a false view as it is also very unfair to label people with the wrong tags!
Also, the over-used excuse by some adults that they have not done well in life because " you see, I was abandoned by my father as a child"; is no longer tenable !
There are kids who were single-handedly reared by single mothers and today ,they are well-behaved and they are doing very well , excelling in their chosen careers.

Some people would even say ,"It is sinners who do things like this. This is not our portion !"
Nobody would pray for such "portion" in their life.
But is it only "Sinners" who do "things like this"?
What of wife-beating "saints" who live under the same roof with their wives and children but do not contribute a dime towards the family upkeep; they abandon all the child- rearing burdens for the woman?
Then how do we explain cases of children from normal, decent homes with married doting parents ; even Church ministers' children who have turned out to be children of sorrow? Despite their sound Christian upbringing some children have become habitual criminals such as drug addicts ,drug peddlers , robbers , fraudsters and prostitutes!
Millions of children from happy homes have been unfortunate to choose the wrong marriage partners and they have had to , unwillingly, go through the trauma of divorce .

The lot of abandoned children is much better in Western societies where the governments provide for free and subsidised facilities such as housing, medical care , education and weekly cash benefits to the abandoned mother and children.
In the UK , apart from providing such benefits, efforts are made by the Department of Social Services and the Child Support Agencies to trace the unwilling runaway fathers who would have disappeared from the radar of Social Services.
It is a sad fact that millions of men have to be traced and forced by court actions to contribute , at least half of their income to their children's care.
Even these measures have been condemned by those who think they are "Ungodly ,anti-family -values laws which give too much power to single mothers and non-submissive wives to control men and wield authority in the home!"
And what are the "holy and acceptable" alternative laws to solve the problems of abandoned and fatherless children?
Are we advocating that the government should abandon single mothers and abandoned wives and their children to "their fate"; for them to starve and to live on the streets?
Empowering women in every way , to assist them to be in a strong position to take proper care of themselves and their abandoned children is NOT ungodly!
What is ungodly is some women abusing the Benefits system by irresponsible child-bearing.
And what is MOST ungodly is allowing unscrupulous and heartless men and fathers to get away, SCOT FREE, with maltreating their women and children!
These problems of malfunctioning homes could be solved by starting from changing the mind-set of men who litter the landscape with unwanted children and the mind-frames of women who use pregnancies and babies as bargaining chips to get what they desire.

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