By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses
This past week, I was facilitating a discussion as an instructor in a seminar that I designed specifically for women of color. The topic of the discussion was how young women of color experience being fatherless and it was centered around a great film by Janks Morton, called ‘Dear Daddy’.
In the film, we see some of the young women, who are all roughly between the ages of 16 and 25 discuss the role of their fathers in their lives. Aside from just a few, all the girls and young women have experienced the absence of their fathers. Although I have facilitated this same discussion several times, in this particular discussion, I was struck by how some of the young women in the film and in my seminar said that they did not understand what all the fuss was about.
The young women in my seminar who said that they did not understand why other young women were crying when they spoke about how they missed and yearned for their fathers were all from single parent homes and most if not all of them were raised by a mother who had also grown up in a single parent home.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that a man has no place or role in the home. Actually, my belief is the very opposite of that notion. That being said though, let’s consider that if I had been raised in a home with no father and I was raised by a woman who came from generations of fatherless homes, maybe I would have different beliefs. What I’m asking you to think about is exactly what I had to consider while I sat in front of a group of women and heard several of them say that they did not miss their fathers or that they didn’t want them in their lives or that they did not think it was necessary to have them in their lives.
In the film, ‘Dear Daddy’, there is an author who describes a young woman that came to her and said, “I am destroying my marriage and I don’t know how to stop.” The young woman who talks about destroying her marriage is a young woman who grew up without her father so she has never seen the role of “wife” being modeled and now she is in a marriage and can’t figure out how to conduct herself in such a way as to be a good wife and partner.
Of course there are women who grow up without their fathers for various reasons and then go on to be what some might call model wives and then there are those who grow up with their fathers and a mother who modeled being a wife almost perfectly but they still end up being the wives from hell! What I’m more concerned about is a young woman who grows up in a home without a father and then adopts the false belief that being without a father is “better” than having one or that there is something wrong with “all men”.
Sadly, I see young women who have a desire to love a man and be loved by one but they are so conflicted by what their mothers have said to them and what they have modeled for them. They have been told that they don’t need men in their lives or that if they have a man in their lives, they will always end up disappointing them. Unfortunately, the course of our lives is directed by the thoughts and beliefs we are most faithful to. And so it often turns out that what they believed turns into reality.
At the end of the day, we all have the freedom to choose what we want for our lives. My intention when I have the great responsibility of speaking into the lives of young women is generally the same. I want them to thrive and I want them to realize that they can have what they want out of life. I want them to broaden their thinking and to think bigger in terms of what is possible. Among those possibilities is a healthy, loving and functional relationship with a man.
There is a very big difference between not wanting something and saying you don’t want (or need) something because you do not believe that you can ever have it. Wanting and needing a man is no exception.
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com