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Fatherless Daughters, Forgiving and Healing | originally posted, March 23, 2007

Updated: Jul 20, 2019

The experience proved to be, cathartic, energizing, and ultimately paving the way for my journey to forgiveness and healing. Along the journey, I discovered that I was not alone in my experience with father absence, and more particularly, I was not alone as an African American female. There is extensive data available that speaks to the impact of father absence on the male child, but by comparison, very little data is available with regard to the impact for females and even less for the African American female. Statistics tell the magnitude of the problem very clearly. In most large urban cities where significant numbers of African Americans are concentrated, sixty to seventy percent of households with children under the age of eighteen do not have fathers in the household.

I grew up without my father. I can’t ever remember living in the same household with him. I’m sure I did as a very young infant but unfortunately my cognitive competency and ability to comprehend and remember was compromised by my youth. By the time I began to walk, my father had by his own accord walked out of my life, never to return. Fast forward approximately forty-nine years; I have forgiven my father for his absence. Forgiveness, however, did not come easy. Anger got in the way and transformed itself into an anchor, dropped deep in the ocean for forty-nine years, rusty, dug in and firmly embedded. I was secure and comfortable with my anger, holding it, squeezing it and owning it with every ounce of my being. The thought or concept of forgiveness for many years never crossed my mind. If I couldn’t have him, then perhaps I could have my resentment toward him. It was mine.

In 1995 my father passed away and for the first time, I had the opportunity to have insight to his life. Funerals have a way of doing that. This insight however, further instigated my anger but it moved me to action. I began writing my first book titled Papa Was A Rolling Stone: A Daughter’s Journey to Forgiveness. The experience proved to be, cathartic, energizing, and ultimately paving the way for my journey to forgiveness and healing. Along the journey, I discovered that I was not alone in my experience with father absence, and more particularly, I was not alone as an African American female. There is extensive data available that speaks to the impact of father absence on the male child, but by comparison, very little data is available with regard to the impact for females and even less for the African American female. Statistics tell the maginitue of the problem very clearly. In most large urban cities where significant numbers of African Americans are concentrated, sixty to seventy percent of households with children under the age of eighteen do not have fathers in the household.

When you consider that the American population consists fifty-percent of females, at least half of African American girls in these urban areas are growing up without the benefit of a father’s presence. Certainly, there are some men (and women) who, if they were present, would not provide benefit for their daughters; however, the number can’t be sixty to seventy percent. Early involvement in sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, drug addition and other activities that result in contact with the legal system are linked to father absence. Our daughters benefit from father involvement and the resulting template that is essential in guiding them through their male-female relationships whether personal or professional. When you consider the vital role fathers have the opportunity to play in their daughter’s lives, father absence is a plague inflicted upon the African American family and families world wide. Irradiation of the father absence epidemic is complex. There are no easy answers. The plague is fed and energized by the lack of education, unemployment, drugs and addiction, teen pregnancy, crime and numerous other factors including anger.

Anger exacerbates the chasm in broken relationships between spouses, significant others and those just ‘hooking up’. The outcome is the victimization of children who end up with one parent, typically the mother and the father walking away. Forgiveness is the tool by which these outcomes can be changed. Forgiveness has the power to remove the anger and to enable adults to focus their attentions on the welfare of the child(ren) involved. Children need their fathers. Daughter’s need their fathers. Forgiveness is a starting place.


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