Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fathers Are Appreciated ...

... by whom is what really matters.

No doubt, when 'Mother's Day' rolls around, inventory clears the racks at stores, online vendors, and restaurants, you name it - with everyone looking for a special gift or show of appreciation for their mother, grandmother or the female guardian in their lives.

My husband, Ali and I with our children, Ra'eesah and Mustapha at Saviours' Day 2008) in Chicago, IL.

This week on the Guy Black Morning Show at Radio Free - 102.3 KJLH, Bro Guy and his team, Nautica De La Cruz and Adai Lamar, probed whether or not fathers go unappreciated.  Some callers thought they were often unappreciated, others felt more gratitude could be shown, starting with a greater acknowledgement of  fathers by society, and one caller shared how  single mothers had called each other to wish themselves a happy father's day on Sunday, June 21.

Their debate was interesting and funny, but also a very serious one.  It made me wonder why we still rely on any calendar dates designated by society to show gratitude to our own fathers and our children's fathers...Mother's Day, and so on.  

A lot of times it's the little things that fathers do that make all the difference, and in talking with a lot of sisters, seems it's the seemingly little things that we do for them that they appreciate most.  When was the last time we cooked a wholesome dinner?  Drawn a hot bath? Said 'thank you'?

Mablean Ephriam (formerly Judge Mablean of Divorce Court), holds a brunch for fathers every year.  It's called the HUF Awards ("Honoring Unsung Fathers") and features an awards presentation honoring fathers who were nominated either by their wives, children, significant others, their community.  

And there are, though not quite as many compared to mothers, various churches and organizations that hold celebrations for fathers.  But the one that struck me most was the Children's Institute, Inc.'s Fatherhood Solution Conference.

It was sponsored by Project Fatherhood and held Saturday June 20 at the University of Southern California.

The conference was hosted in part by Dr. Hershel Swinger, Senior Vice President of the Leadership Center at the Institute, and dealt with unmasking Hollywood images of fatherhood, reintegrating incarcerated fathers, homeless fathers, fathers of traumatized children, and how to work with teen fathers and ex-gang members.

Not a lot of cards, flowers or jewelry, but what a great way to acknowledge the importance of fathers and show them appreciation by helping those who have lost connections with their children find their way back.

My brother-in-law Keith Vernon, with his children, Jessica (a 1st year nursing student, Jeremy, a graphics design artist, and Juliana, a 10th grader).

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