Quite like myself, Tyler Perry is no stranger to biological father issues. He has spoken candidly about the issues stemming from growing up with his abusive father, Emmitt. The horrendous emotional and physical abuse Perry suffered not only drew him to change his own name from Emmitt to Tyler, but had him on the brink of suicide at age 10. The only problem? Perry has just discovered that this man is not his biological father.
The extremely talented multi-media mogul joined Radio One founder Cathy Hughes for an interview during the Women's Empowerment 2014 conference. He spoke openly about his concerns that Emmitt Senior may not have been his biological father. His mother had even reassured him on her own death bed that the man who raised him was truly his birth father, but still, his suspicions ate at him. He decided to take a DNA test with his brother. The DNA test proved Perry's fears correct. He stated, "I love my mother to death, but she lied to me."
There are, as there always are with father issues, numerous layers to such a situation. Perry must feel a sense of betrayal toward his mother. While we don't know the details, there are many reasons that mothers lie to their children about their child's birth father. It could be shame that they themselves are unsure of who the father is. It could be a selfish hope that "this is the man I want to father my children." It could be in an effort to protect the child from not knowing who his father is. Ultimately, the details of why become unimportant. What's left is that the child was lied to about the man who fathered him. Let's let that sink in -- a child was lied to about who his own father was.
The most important lesson in all of this is that honesty is always key. It needs to be age appropriate, but a child deserves to know the truth about their own parents. During the interview, Perry himself stated, "Some of you have secrets that your kids need to know. Let the chips fall where they may. For the peace of that person, let them know."
Perry is absolutely right. Those who have fathers can never understand the pain that the fatherless go through. Until the healing comes, there is no peace. They are already distrustful. They are already scared. You do not want to willingly (not necessarily knowingly) add to their internal civil war to save face. If you don't know who the father is you address it accordingly by taking the necessary steps to find out. If you'd rather pretend another "better" man is your child's father, keep it in your own head. If you don't favor the biological father, put your own feelings and pride aside for the good -- and the truth -- of your child.
It is time to be honest with your children. It is time to be honest with yourself. Find the truth that is just another soldier in your own civil war and let go of the power that you're giving it. It is for the betterment of you. It is for the betterment of your child. It is for the betterment of the world.
Kyle McMahon, the recording artist known as K.Mac, is a millennial who has recently appeared on a series of Oprah's Lifeclass specials on Fatherless Sons, writes about self improvement for millennials and gives speeches and media analysis on fatherlessness and paternity. He is writing his first book, MAN UP! An Action Plan for Fathers in conjunction with Fatherless. Check out the Kyle McMahon website for more information. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.