Do They Know How Much We Need Them?

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ve seen at least one headline or heard one conversation about Tiger Woods’ off the green activities.  If you’re like me you probably wondered why this was news.  It wasn’t any of my business.  Tiger wasn’t my husband, so why did someone at ABC, NBC,CNN, ESPN think I’d be interested in how many women other than his wife he chose to have sex with?  When the media grabs hold to stuff like this and takes up news coverage with it, I always wonder what else is going on in the world that I missed that might really impact my life?  Good…now you’re wondering, too.

I said all this to say that what was on my heart about all this the most was the importance we place – and allow our children to place – on men; usually athletes and entertainers.   They are paid to hit or bounce balls, play characters or sing songs.  Yes, it would be nice if they’d do something that could inspire (and many of them do) us to be and do better, but that is not always the case.  As a parent, I was always attempting to live my life so that I would be the role model; that when my son had to name the people who had inspired him, I’d be on the list, if not at the top. 

Then today (or yesterday, since I’m posting the day after I wrote this) Jim Brown summed it up during an interview he was holding while being honored in Oakland for work he’s doing with incarcerated brothers.  Now, before some of you start sucking your teeth at the mention of Jim’s name (given his past history of domestic violence), hear what he had to say about people’s reactions to Tiger’s infidelity….and I’m paraphrasing and summarizing :

“…we can’t look at one man and have corporate America make a billion dollars off that man and tell us that’s a great man.  That’s not a man.  That’s an image.”

This comment made me jump up and wave my hands like I was in church on Sunday morning.  This resonated so strongly because in the last several months, I’ve been in conversations with several women about “missing men.” No there’s no reward for their return.  Actually, you may have one in your view right now.  When I say missing, I mean men (and in this sentence the word men is used with great generosity) who have failed for one reason or the other to step up to the plate – they have children who they don’t care for financially or emotionally, wives or women who are left unprotected and  carrying the weight of the family on their shoulders, etc., etc.

Mr. Brown went on to say, “that a man goes into the bowels of the beast and makes changes that give children male strength to hold on to; changes that rebuild communities.”

Considering the number of children that go without the male strength in our communities it is no wonder that children are looking to/have looked to Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and O. J. (Mr. Brown’s examples, not mine) – images created to sell cars, tennis shoes and sports drinks, but men that our children should hope to emulate?  I think NOT!

I wonder if the men know how much we need them.  Can’t they see it in the scowl on the young brother’s face as he holds up his sagging pants to walk across the street?  Don’t they recognize the loss of their strength in the young sister’s pregnant belly as she boasts about not needing a man?  It’s all over the brother who refuses to grow up even though his own sons and daughters are nearly grown.  Can’t they hear it in the voice of the mother who yells loudest at the children who look like the man who made them and left doesn’t even remember how much she needs him?

Mothers it is time for us to think of the man our sons will become, as we hold them in our arms for the first time.  It is time to teach responsibility and accountability to our sons as they begin to stand on their own, knowing that one day they may have to lead a family, maybe even a nation.  It is time to set aside the bitterness that makes us teach our daughters that they  need not expect to count on  a man.   Dads it is time to stay.  It is time to do whatever it takes to keep your families together.  It’s time to get that extra job when the bills aren’t being paid on time.  It’s time to help with homework or pay for little league sign ups with the money you were saving for that flat screen TV.  It is time to move beyond the mistakes made with the mothers of your children, and honor God’s gift to you by remaining a force in your child’s life.  It’s time to teach respect and honesty to your sons and tell your daughters they’re beautiful.

The solution is in our hands.  My prayer is that men will come back.  That our children will no longer have to look to men on TV screens who don’t have their best interst at heart.  That we’ll commit to raising sons that will grow up and be their children’s hero so that they won’t ever be disappointed by corporate made images.  My prayer is that our daughters will expect their choice in mates to treat them with respect and stand with them to raise their babies.  My prayer is that one day real soon, our families will be stronger than they are today.

3 Responses to “Do They Know How Much We Need Them?”

  1. Dera Says:

    Wowp! Powerful! This sure packed a punch. I just hope the ones that need to hear it do so. There needs to be a movement of build better black families. Young black men need to be taught to admire and respect black women, be responsible and fully father their children. One of these days. Great post!

  2. Erin Mitchell Says:

    AMEN! La Rhonda

  3. Gina Says:

    It’s my prayer too! I also pray that other brothers are reading, even if they don’t have the courage to comment.

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