A few months ago, I was asked by a good friend to write an article for his website. When I asked what the topic should be, he told me to choose. So after much delay, I have decided to write about fathers. Hopefully I can keep this short and sweet.
As a single mother, it would be a chance for me to air my grievances against my child’s father. After all, he did abandon us for his mistress which threw our world into chaos. However, my story is not unique. Unfortunately, it is played out in many homes across America and the world. I see it every day at the child care center I work for. It is alarmingly common, as well as very sad; and I believe is happens so often because men do not truly understand the impact they have on their children’s lives.
Our society is amazingly anti-Dad. If you watch TV long enough, you will see that there is an overwhelming message to men that fatherhood is not as important as motherhood. Though I was unable to find statistics, if you watch TV long enough it is easy to see that commercials featuring children are dominated by the presence of a mother while the few commercials that feature fathers usually portray them as incompetent when it comes to raising children. It is a phenomena that has not gone unnoticed.
If you google “Attack on Fatherhood,” a plethora of articles will appear. Sadly, it does not take a rocket scientist to see how this subliminal indoctrination is affecting not only men and women, but also our little ones. Our media, along with what I believe is our society’s inability to view the genders as separate but equal and women’s failure to respect men as fathers (that’s right ladies, I said it) has helped to produce a generation of men who are uninterested in being fathers. It is such a problem that even the U.S. Government recognizes and has spent taxpayer dollars trying to rectify with their responsible fatherhood campaign which can be found at fatherhood.gov. Unfortunately, their efforts are going largely unnoticed. So as a single mother, I have decided to do something about it. Not because I think fathers should pay child support. That is just one very small aspect of a bigger picture. I have decided to do something because I am tired of going to work every day and seeing how fatherless homes are producing angry, over aggressive children which I firmly believe is linked to coming from homes where the father absent in one or more forms-mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.
Right now, you may be wondering what my action will be. So do I, but I believe that this article is part of it.
My first action would be to encourage women, especially single mothers, to allow their children’s fathers to be a part of their lives. As women, our power lies in our influence, not in our dominance or ability to control of the situations in our lives. If your child’s father is not hurting you or the child, there is no reason why you should not allow him to be a part of their lives. Fairly recently, I actually overheard a single mother talking about ways she could destroy her child’s relationship with her father just because she had the power to do so. Ladies, he may not do everything the way you want it done or when you want it done, but as long as the child is not harmed everything will be alright. Do not destroy your child’s relationship with his/her father because you are an emotional train wreck. It is not fair to the father or the child.
Also, NEVER use your child as a pawn to get back at his/her father. I have watched this scenario play itself out more than once and it is never good. If you can’t handle the emotions that come from interacting with your children’s father, consider allowing a friend, relative, or courts to step in and mediate. The last thing you as a mother need is an angry child directing all of their anger at you as they get older. It may be hard now, but you will be thankful for it later when your children are old enough to judge your particular situation for themselves.
Conversely, I would like to encourage men to do whatever it takes to actively participate in their children’s lives. As a single mother of a small daughter, it is heartbreaking to hear her ask where her father is, and I can already see how not having a father in her life has negatively affected her. She is keenly aware of his absence and rarely a week goes by without her mentioning it. I am fortunate to have a father, her grandfather, who has stepped up to be there for her mentally, emotionally, and physically. Not only am I grateful, but I can tell the difference in her demeanor after she spends time with him; she is more stable emotionally. Though I cannot explain why, I have heard several times that the presence of a man in a child’s life add balance to a child’s perspective on the world. If this is true, the positive impact of a father on a child’s life can be immeasurable.
If any man out there reading this is skeptical of my advice, let me say one last thing about fathers. My father is one of the BEST men in the world-hands down. He is the definition of step-father in that he stepped up to the plate when my own father did not. Without him, I would not be the woman I am today. Everything I do has been influenced by him- from reading the newspaper to finishing my graduate degree. He was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he was there molding me into the person I am today. Looking back on my life, I am gratefully to have been blessed enough to have a man there who understood the importance of being a father. Do you recognize how important you are to the lives of your children? If you do, take action.
Marine and Iraq War Veteran takes on the fight against PTSD through music: John Preston releases 5 song Veterans EP with proceeds going to charity
Beneath the blistering Iraqi sun back in mid-2004, John Preston earned his sergeant stripes, a non-commissioned officer in the Marine Corps. John, a member of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), had taken the role of sergeant of the guard for the 2/7 guard force as well as mission squad leader for the 2/7 Headquarters & Service Company reaction team and mission squad. A corporal at the time, John volunteered to take on the job well above his rank to lead his Marines into more than 120 combat missions. These missions ranged from opening of Iraqi schools to providing security for Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) units in the disposal of improvised explosive devices. Though running several missions a day, John was yet to be aware of his greatest mission in life.
John brought music along with him as a form of stress therapy while dealing with the pressures of war. When not conducting missions outside the wire, John’s weapon of choice is his guitar, writing songs of his journey and playing them for his Marines. John described: "We would spend hours just playing and singing making stuff up as we went along. I'd like to think it was therapeutic for the whole squad."
Within months after his return from Iraq in 2004, John's music became a national topic. John's debut song "Good Good America," inspired by the chants of Iraqi children, was well received by radio and television stations across the country. "Those years of my life are a blur," John said. "Almost like a dream. I was still dealing with my transition to civilian life while using my music to spread the word about the great things we accomplished in Iraq. The media focused primarily on the tragedy of the war at that time yet, I wanted a more honest view to be heard. An honest view from someone who’s been there."
Today, John has re-energized his musical career, and has chosen to confront a new enemy through his lyrics and music. The enemy is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a haunting condition that affects 1 in 5 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. With over 22 veterans lost to suicide daily, he is determined to raise awareness of the issue to the general public, and hopefully save some of his fellow veterans from making an irreversible decision for a treatable condition. Earlier this year, John signed with Pacific Records and released the five song EP "Your War is Over" this past Veterans Day. He has partnered with Boot Campaign and is donating 30 percent of the proceeds of the sale of the EP to the charitable organization to directly combat PTSD. John has seen many of his friends affected by this monster including his own best friend who lost nearly everything to drug addiction.
John along with two other Marine band members, Justin Hiesey, and Shane Roberts, have joined forces to confront a silent enemy that plague most veterans, PTSD. As John puts it: "We're gonna do what we can do through the only thing we know how to do and that's rock 'n roll and making noise."
To help support his cause, you can buy John's EP "Your War is Over" on iTunes.
You can also follow John on Facebook at facebook.com/johnprestonmusic to keep up with all of his current events and shows.
"This is for us, all of us," John said. "If I'm successful I will spend the rest of my career assuring that the Heroes of our country are taken care of."