“I Don’t Want To Be A Father Anymore”
The Challenges of Child Rearing-Do Not Have To Be Challenges at All
Anyone who has children understands the responsibility involved in raising them. It appears, the older the child gets the greater the responsibility becomes. Ava and Ishmal were the proud parents of two very handsome boys. The couple married at a very young age and immediately after marriage, Ava bore young Ishmal Jr. Of course, Ishmal Sr, like most fathers was ecstatic and joyful about the occasion. His dream was to have healthy sons who would finish high school, go on to college and advance to the National Football League. Ishmal himself had played some college ball but had to give up the sport because of a bad knee injury.
Unfortunately, Ishmal’s dream was interrupted. Complications arose in the marriage, largely because the two married so young and were not prepared for the responsibility involved in sustaining a marriage. Ishmal and Ava divorced after six years of marriage, leaving Ava to raise to small boys by herself. Ishmal Jr.and Jonathan who were six and four years old. They were at the ages when they needed their father and had just begun to enjoy their relationship with him. They wrestled and played football in the house together, breaking household items and hiding them so Ava wouldn’t find them. They tried to do push ups and crunches like their daddy and they even use to have eating contest. Now all of those things ended in devastation-not just for one, but for everybody.
The youngest son, Johnathan had severe separation anxiety and acted out in school. The oldest internalized his emotions and became very sensitive. Ava became “Head of Household” and now the “ Father’ figure” as well as the mother, while Ishmal Sr ignored the situation just so he could cope. Well, time had passed and Johnathan and Ishmal turned 11 and 13 years old, when Ava decided she did not want to be the” Father” anymore.
She had done all she knew how to try to keep her home healthy, happy and peaceful, but she felt the dual role of parenting was too much. The situation greatly began to affect her demeanor naturally and mentally. At times she said she felt like a group home leader who constantly had to be strict and a hard disciplinarian. She said the majority of the times she had to deny her inner feminine desires and emotions, that wanted to calmly tell Ishmal and Jonathan to stop fighting when they weren’t getting along.
But instead she had to become a drill sergeant and act as if her boys were in boot camp to incorporate some form of justice, discipline and control. Even though she was aware that if she spared the rod she was subject to spoiling the child, Ava said she did not enjoy those moments and at times it made her feel masculine and unattractive. In addition, she said it required a lot of energy. She felt the ego of a man is vastly different from that of a woman and she does not enjoy power struggles. She replied, “ Boys just naturally respect their father or the presence of a man.”
Ava knew it was time for a change; especially, since Jonathan was still having problems in school and still very bitter because of his father’s absence. It appeared the older Jonathan was getting the greater he began to act out. Ava was on the brink of becoming overwhelmed until she decided to quit her job, that is, her job as “Father”. She stopped trying to compensate for the absence of Ishmal Sr and for the demise of their marriage. Instead she began to educate her sons on the pitfalls divorce has on the children instead of enabling them.
She explained to them that she could not do everything. She expressed to them as their Mother, her desires are to love, caress, nurture, feed, clothe, support and encourage them. She told them that bitterness, depression, anger, rebellion, and even disobedience will not bring their father back. Nor will it aid them in becoming happy, healthy or productive young men. She taught them, they would have to learn how to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Further, she explained to them how God requires and demands that all children obey their parent and taught them to have reverence for the Lord.
She went on to explain that life might seem unfair at times, but things happen and you have to keep going. She added, “you can’t give up nor can you give in”. She taught them how to pray, have faith and that it was okay to cry. Just make sure you take care of your business when you’re done. Moreover, Ava encouraged her sons and reassured them that they were the most important entity in her life next to God and that they come first.
However, Ava knew her sons desired and needed male companionship. So, she encouraged her sons to get involved in sports at school and allowed male teachers and coaches to spend quality time with them. She allowed men at her church who were fathers, to father them as well. This proved to help considerably because Jonathan, as well as, Ishmal both graduated from high school with scholastic and athletic recognition and currently attend and play college football. They still adhere to their mother’s words of wisdom and love and respect her for the “WOMAN” and mother she is. Because Ava did not give up, she helped a fathers dream become a reality.
An Apology and A Promise
An APOLOGY for the times
When you were misunderstood.
An APOLOGY for the times when you were judged
and treated too harshly
An APOLOGY for the times when you were not given a fair chance.
A fair chance to be LEADERS, a fair chance to be FREE because the expectations of others
became the dominant CREED.
An APOLOGY for your BRILLANCE and CREATIVITY being mistaken as REBELLON.
An APOLOGY for those who have tarnished your HEART and SOUL and caused you to doubt your PURPOSE and the existence of your very being. You are the FUTURE and because of your VISIONS-WE shall live and YOUR DREAMS shall become our DESTINY.
An APOLOGY for the ignorance of man who CAN NOT ACCEPT YOU in your ERA of CHANGE, DIFFERENCE and INDIVIDUALITY.
An Apology and A Promise
A PROMISE to be OPENED MINDED and OPEN HEARTED.
A PROMISE to be FAIR and IMPARTIAL
A PROMISE to SET BOUNDARIES and CHALLENGE YOU to become the
MEN and WOMAN GOD desires YOU to be.
A PROMISE to help you become SUCCESSFUL.
A PROMISE to HELP you GROW and MATURE into your POTENTIAL.
A PROMISE to give you DIRECTION and ENCOURAGEMENT.
A PROMISE to be HONEST and UNDERSTANDING.
This is dedicated to you ,Mothers, Fathers and especially The Youth, Our Future
Short story and poem by Djuan Perry.