As he exited the building and stepped into the warm sunlight, he couldn’t help but acknowledge the beautiful day. He looked around the neighborhood. From the sights and sounds of children playing, he knew he wasn’t alone in his appreciation.
He walked down to the sidewalk to get the day’s paper, careful not to interrupt their games. Some waved at him while others only smiled.
“How are you guys doing today,” he asked.
“Fine,” they replied in unison.
He looked them over and thought about their boundless energy and a future filled with possibilities.
“May I ask you kids a question?”
Jump ropes stopped dancing through the air. Marbles remained between thumb and index finger
“What do you want to ask us Mr. Hoyt,” asked one of the more outspoken children.
“I was wondering what you kids wanted to be when you grow up.”
The answers continued to pour in as one by one the children answered.
Mr. Hoyt noticed that one boy had not answered, so he closed the distance between them and asked him directly: “So what about you? What do you want to be?”
The boy looked up at Mr. Hoyt.
“A son. I want to be a son.”
Mr. Hoyt did not know what answer he had expected, but he knew it wasn’t that. The sun seemed to lose a bit of its warmth. Mr. Hoyt’s smile slowly faded from his face. He turned his face to hide the tear that was forming in the corner of his eyes.
As quickly as he could, he tucked his paper under his arm and walked back inside. The warm fuzzy had been replaced with harsh reality.
That is a true story; it happened to my friend. What is sadder still is that it isn’t an isolated event. It is all too common in our society nowadays.
I recently attended a citywide conference at New Liberty Tabernacle. The theme was about fathers fulfilling their roles and being faithful to their duties.
I sat in the rear of the room and listen to speaker after speaker practically beg the men in attendance to man up and be a dad. They spoke of living legacies and the importance of passing things on to the next generation.
Unfortunately there weren’t many of the next generation in attendance. In the absence of fatherly guidance, many youngsters have found solace with peers, gangs or drugs. It should come as no surprise that things as simple as dress, manners, respect of elders and work ethic are missing in the lives of the un-fathered.
It reminds me of passages from that old song, “We’ll get together real soon, son.” But “real soon” never comes. Of course, later once the roles are reversed, the son says, “We’ll get together real soon, dad.” That “real soon” never comes either. In a strange twist of irony, there is no passage of wisdom or vision, only apathy and immaturity.
Not long ago there was a movie titled, “Mars Needs Moms.” I am convinced that Earth needs dads. Just this week Bill Cosby stated, “Black men need to rear their sons.” I agree with Dr. Cosby, only I would amend statement by removing the adjective and include all men.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that a mother cannot raise a strong man – they can and have. I believe as one poet once stated, A woman can be stronger than a man, especially when love is involved.” But having said that, I don’t believe that was the way it was intended.
The Bible states, “I chose the young men, because they are strong, and I chose the old men, because they know the way.”
The simple truth is that predecessors have an obligation to fulfill to the successors.
Whenever God would do something for His people as a reminder to future generations, stones were gathered or certain landmarks were made.
When people asked why, they were told, “Tell your children this is where we were blessed with water. This is where God made a way out of no way.”
The people were instructed to tell their children when they got up, and when they walked along the way. That’s how faith, hope and a standard endured.
I once asked a friend who grew up without a father, “Did you like growing up like that?” “No,” he replied.
“Well, if you didn’t like it and you know all too well the pain and heartache you endured as a child growing up that way, why would you subject your son to it?”
It was a topic we discussed from time to time. It was layered, deep and complicated, but take away all of that and you had a boy out there in the world who wanted to be a son.
I am happy to say, my friend tracked down his son and started the healing process. He faced the music and made his apologies. I wish that all absent dads would summon their courage and do the right thing. What was that old commercial? “If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the loved ones in your life.”