“As the mug shots of the alleged killers of NFL star Sean Taylor were shown on television, I kept wondering when we were going to see their parents step forward. I saw a couple of mothers, but their dads were missing in action. Dads matter, and it’s ridiculous for us to act as if all it takes is a loving mom.
“Now, I don’t know what it means not to have a father in your life. I’m not familiar with a mom being strung out on a crack binge. And when my parents were called to the school when there was a discipline problem, Mom and Dad didn’t go off on the teacher or principal. In fact, I can still feel the pain of my elementary school principal’s paddle being applied to my butt when I acted a fool. The principal could only pop me three times. Dad? He had no limit.
“Bottom line: I can sit here today and celebrate them and enjoy a wonderful life because my parents were hell-bent on raising their children to do right by them, especially my dad.
“We can spend all day talking about the ills afflicting urban America — and there are plenty that are institutional — but the decaying value of life in inner cities clearly can be traced to the exodus of fathers from the lives of so many young men. Excuses often are tossed about as to why black men leave their children (and their children’s moms) to fend for themselves. But a lot of them are just sorry and refuse to accept the responsibility that comes with raising a child.”