So apparently Sunday was International Men’s Day. Did you even know? If not, why not? No, seriously, why do we not know these things? We are living in the throes of an era where “who run the world, girls” is the theme song in most single parented households. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with having (or being) a strong single mother. Heck, I was one for a good couple of years! But ladies… females… can we be honest? Our children need strong father figures in their lives. Fatherhood needs to be celebrated in South Africa! It is with this in mind that the Fatherhood Foundation of South Africa decided to celebrate men with an annual ‘Dad of the Year’ awards ceremony.
The event was launched in Nelson Mandela Bay this past weekend. Yo! Media, who helped to pull it all together, invited a bunch of us to attend a family picnic at the MTR Smit Children’s Home, where we would join in to celebrate with the award winners. The aim of the event was to honor men who contribute to the tremendous effort it takes to raising children in today’s society, and to elevate the role of fatherhood and encourage a legacy of responsible fathering.
Founder of the Fatherhood Foundation, Zane Meas (famously known to local TV soapie fans as Neville Meintjies), shared his heart and it totally hit home for me! Zane said that mothers are doing to much, referring to the vast number of single mothers who are responsible for raising a large portion of the fatherless youth in South Africa. He passionately shared: “It’s not her job to be mommy and daddy. Once we get men back into their rightful place, we’ll see change!”
Zane explained that in most impoverished communities, men who grow up without fathers end up having children of their own, who they in turn abandon too. He said that the #menaretrash social media trend totally broke his heart because it implies that all men are bad and that is not the truth. There is a perception that men aren’t good enough anymore, so women feel like they don’t need a man in their lives. He ended off with saying that all children want to know that they are loved. They need to know their identity, in order to find a sense of belonging and worth.
So what are your thoughts on this, single moms? I know, all to well, the struggle of trying to be all things for my child. And even though my kid’s dad was very much involved, he lived in another city, which meant that a lot of the heavy lifting had to be done by me. It’s not easy, guys. Can we do it? Yes, we can. Should we be doing it? No. This new normal should not be the standard. I also found that Kyle seriously looked forward to spending time with his dad, because he needed that male bonding time. He needed a male role model… someone who “got” him in ways that I never could. (And thank God that Chris came along, but that’s another story for another day.)
I love the concept behind celebrating fatherhood and I am looking forward to the 2018 Dad of the Year Awards!