Statistics constantly remind African Americas that women head 70% of their households. Therefore it stands to reason that if the husbands and fathers are 70% missing then the likelihood of the presence of a grandfather or a family patriarch in most African American families is rare and probably at a single digit percentile.
This estimate was reached by considering with 30% of African American husband and father figures in the home only approximately 30% had their fathers in the home, which moves a patriarch figure further away from the holiday dinner table in African American homes.
This dismal fact occurred to me during my family’s recent Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Since I was the oldest male presence I had the patriarchal duty to say grace. It always occurs to me during holidays that I never knew my father; therefore, my children never knew their grandfather but on this occasion I realized that my one son-inlaw and one future son-in-law likewise never knew their fathers, which makes me the sole grandfather of my grandchildren. If I had been the type of man to do a disappearing act on my children then nobody at the table would have had an inkling of their father or grandfather. Years ago, I read somewhere that Asian men prepare their elder son to become the patriarch of the family. The same is true in Jewish families.
With an estimate of 14 million African Americans in this country nearly 10 million female headed households are preparing young males of those households for manhood because the patriarch and/or any patriarchal preparation is missing from our African American families. This leads me to ponder whether or not the onus lies upon the matriarch or grandmother figure to subtly bring into her family a godly, wise, mature gentleman to represent some form of preparation to the upcoming men of the family.
When I think about families passing along honorable traditions, I think about a relay race as in passing the baton. Perhaps I’m out of touch with reality but I think there are more available older men anxious to blend into a nice family than there are younger men. Older men, although many lack financial security beyond their social security check, should have wisdom to bring to the table and such wisdom might prevent sons and grandsons of the family from becoming a premature vital statistic. However, one major problem that I detect is that many older men also lacked proper training and did not acquire good judgment on their own. And in such a case, the worse thing the matriarch can do for her family is to introduce an OG/original gangster or old goat.
My point is this, as you look around the Christmas dinner table in a few weeks, stop to think and ask the question, “Is there a competent man at this table to pass the baton of responsibility?” If not, get one.
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