As a black father, raised with foster siblings, I’ve taken a lot of time to understand the impact of fathers in a child’s life. And the impact of absence.
Fatherlessness impacts every child it touches but, in our country, it particularly impacts black households. How this plays out in a child’s life affects who they are and how they see the world. The U.S. Department of Education has found that kids from father-absent homes are more likely to struggle academically. According to the Urban Institute, Black children raised in single-parent households face a higher risk of poverty and financial hardship. We understand the implications of fatherlessness on every part of a child's experience, but I recently began to unpack how it hits spiritually.
How does Fatherlessness affect a child spiritually?
In the book Attachments, it talks about how the absence of fathers affects the relationships that people have with each other and even how it impacts their relationship with God. Children without a father have a hard time understanding how a God could love or be present with them if they haven’t experienced a present father.
What’s incredible though is how powerful the impact of black fatherhood is. The CDC verifies that, for homes with a father who is involved in some capacity, black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups. That’s powerful!
Black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups.
If you are a black father, I want to encourage you. I know there are situations of relational tension, I know that sometimes co-parents can’t agree and that creates a gap. But hear me when I say these three words: Your presence matters. To whatever capacity you are able to, stay. Do everything that you know you can. Our children see everything and are impacted by everything, including our absence.
As a single father myself, I understand the temptation for relationships to create a distance between you and your child. But work to be present anyway. Our children can learn from our decisions – good and bad.
Your presence matters.
Stay in the physical and stay in the spiritual. One of the BEST ways to be present besides being physically present, is by doing the inner work to be spiritually, emotionally, and mentally healthy. One day I realized the best way I can show up for my son is to heal what’s hurting inside of me, and it will be something else I can teach him to do when the time comes.
I’ve realized that one of the greatest plans of the Enemy is to weaponize a broken family against the destiny of a child. But we don’t have to let him win.
I understand that the story doesn’t always look how you expected it to. But the reward of knowing I am showing up for my son every day gives me peace in knowing that he will grow up knowing he didn’t walk alone. And because of that he will grow up watching me trust God with our lives and have reason to do the same.
I realized the best way I can show up for my son is to heal what’s hurting inside of me...
In 2018 I formed My 10 Percent, a charity to support and empower the forgotten youth in society and to give back to my foster brothers and sisters who have had to walk through life alone. But I’m not stopping there. I’ve been working on some projects that are close to my heart and to the heart of God that I believe will be a megaphone from God’s heart to youth experiencing fatherlessness.
Let's amp up the importance of fatherhood and its role in our children's lives. Stronger families lead to strong futures. It's time to make sure our children have the love, support, and guidance they need to hustle and thrive.
I’m beyond thankful for those who are invested in this journey and work – stay tuned for more!