I had a nice lunch today with my 6 feet, 4 inch, dreadlocked “little” brother. He’s my stepbrother, but with us both being children of divorce, the prefix “step” is only used for explanation purposes. His (our) dad has been married to my (our) mom for thirty years.
We haven’t been very close over the years, mostly due to my being away from home and due to the different paths we each had taken in life—he’s spent some time “away from home” as well. Nothing violent or horrifying, but his waywardness had angered me for a long time. One might understand why I am as hardcore as I am about chronic lawlessness.
I was ticked at him for a while. He’s not stupid, nor poor, nor fatherless. He just wanted to do wrong and he admits as much. The good thing about him is that he blames no one but himself for his misdeeds.
For the “good” child, watching one’s misbehaving sibling taking up the time and resources of one’s hard-working parents builds a lot of resentment. I had told my parents to “let him swing” after he messed up over and over again. They finally listened. He would either make a hard u-turn or he would end up in prison for a long stretch. Or dead.
Due to a lot of prayer and to his own self-determination, Little Brother still here and is upright. What finally got to him is what should get to all bad actors: he became a father. Additionally, his daughter was born several years ago while he was “away from home.” My niece means the world to him and he takes his responsibility seriously. Real estate and construction are now his forte (and he’s been pretty successful at it); he decided that other areas of salesmanship just weren't his cup of tea.
Much is made of how the absence of a father can harm a boy’s life. However, I see everyday just how adversely the lives of girls are effected due to this lack.
Being the father of a girl, I hope my brother realizes how his abilities as a father will influence her later attitudes toward men. For her, he is the hero and the protector and, often, the sterner disciplinarian. Without him, or through his indifference (or abuse), she will likely grow up to believe that most men are weak and/or untrustworthy. She may even grow up to believe that she doesn’t need men at all.
So the next time you hear a woman cutting down all men, ask yourself where her father is and what he’s done for--or to--her. Ask yourself whether she even knows who he is. And, if you’re really brave, ask her. The answer might not be a surprise.