Every year, the media and capitalism loses its mind with television programs and advertisements suggesting that society recognizes Father's Day. I'm not ignoring the fact that there are some great fathers, such as our president, who are raising amazing children.
There is, however, an overpopulation of families in our society that are obligated to acknowledge a holiday that doesn't exist in their households. And what is even worse is that much of what we hear and see during this time of year is society's self-imposed pity party that we never invited ourselves to.
Coming from a single-parent background, I hear things such as:
"I bet it must be hard not having your father around during this holiday."
"How does it feel missing out on life without a dad?"
"I can only imagine the rough life fatherless children have."
Fatherless. That is often the term used by the media to label people like me. The term in their eyes define me as one who lacks a father, missing a second half and/or incomplete. If you watch any news stories that come out this weekend, it all sends out one big message: You are not whole until you have rekindled your relationship with your father.
And as the single-parent population laugh with me at the atrocity and foolishness of how dumb-down and myopic the media attempts to simplify this situation, it also gave me an epiphany.
For many years, I never really understood what frustrated me about this messaging. Yes, it was true that my biological father isn't involved in my life. In fact, I think I'm better for it. After my parents divorced, I now understand within my own coming of age why having a leading mother was more conducive to my maturing.
And perhaps it is within recognizing this that I have now become accustomed to turning the channel when I see these pseudo televised self-help councilors weigh in. In the very frank words of Tyra Banks, "You don't know where the hell I come from... you have no idea what I've been through." In other words, there are more to single parent raised children than just having a missing father.
In fact, what we fail to consider during the conversations about the self-prescribed Father's Day rejects is the person who was there -- mothers. Sure there is Mother's Day, but that truly isn't enough to describe the work that single mothers devout to raising great children as well. We forget in our banter of how hard it is for fatherless children to succeed, that history has given us some of the greatest people that have.
President Barack Obama was a fatherless child. Halle Berry, Stephen Colbert, Kanye West, Shaquille O'Neal, Barbra Streisand and countless others was able to thrive without the fatherly assistance as well. But that brings me back to that ugly term -- fatherless. What made these critically acclaimed individuals achieve was not so much that their fathers weren't around, but that their mothers were.
So instead of deeming those fatherless, I have decided to give describe them with a new word --motherful.
Motherful is those who were raised by their mothers for most of their life. It was a life without a father, but instead a life with a mother. It challenges the age old ideology that looks at the glass half empty, but instead, looks at it half full.
Being 22 years old and graduating from an Ivy League institution, I have no regrets that I have had the blessing of being raised by a single parent. Although society strives to tell me that this is not idea, I beg the question: What is not desirable about having a strong willed and devolved parent that fosters your creativity and allows you to do great things?
That was the childhood that I can recall -- not the broken-home travesties that much of the media strives to perpetuate every time they discuss single parent households. Although there are disparities in some homes that are single-parent based, so are they in two-parent structures as well. We should begin to rethink what makes these stereotypes persistent.
So here are five things that I am going to start doing for the rest of my life every Father's Day and I hope other motherful peers do so as well:
1. Speaking up about what my mother has done for me rather than what my father didn't.
2. Continuing to realize and appreciate how complete my life is and ignore the notion that it isn't from the media.
3. Embracing the unconventional parenting that went into my ability to thrive and be able to succeed just as well, if not more, than that of a two-parent household.
4. Learning that life isn't defined by who walks out, but rather by who stays in.
5. Telling the world what it means to be motherful rather than fatherless.
This is the Father's Day that I will be celebrating and there is no need to throw me a pity party, Mainstream Media America. I think it is high time that society demand an addendum to the obligatory social holidays we have placed on calendars and commercial marketing campaigns with the consideration of a Mother's Day Part II.
Perhaps I would be reaching for the stars if I expected the world to get on board with that or maybe not. Overall, today's narrative around single-parent households needs to change. If we are to become a modern society that intends on understanding each other, we can't rely on seeing such individuals as less of anything but instead full of something.
#Motherful = a purpose driven life led by a mother.
Happy Father's day to those who have one -- and those who were lucky to spend extra time with your mommy -- stay motherful!
Follow Ernest Owens on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MrErnestOwens