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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

What it means to me to be a good man: A call for committed fathers

<od man first and foremost realizes that family is the most important entity in his life. For too often in pop culture, we recognize the greatness of a man by his money and accomplishments. A great man is one who is able to inspire through positive examples and constantly pushes people around him to excel. Family is the most important part of any person’s life; fathers are the foundation. Yet, far too often men have abandoned their roles and responsibilities as husbands and fathers. This crisis has especially plagued the African-American community, weakening the family foundation for future generations. We know the statistics all too well.

Boys who grow up without a father figure are:

20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.
14 times more likely to commit rape.
9 times more likely to drop out of high school.
10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.
9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.
20 times more likely to end up in prison.
32 times more likely to run away

As then-Senator Obama said in his 2008 Father’s Day speech at Apostolic Church in Chicago, IL, “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.” President Obama was referring to the fact that 80 percent of all African-American children will spend part of their childhood living apart from their fathers. An estimated seventy percent of African-American children are born to unmarried mothers, and 40 percent of all children, regardless of race, live in homes without fathers. The absence of good men has weakened the foundation of families and crippled the base of the African-American community.

For examples of a good man, look no further than your local newspaper. Under the headlines of current political bickering, in small print likely on the back fold, you will find teachers, coaches, and mentors who are striving to bring about change in their local community. A change in the status quo of black men going to jail instead of college, and a change in children growing up in fatherless homes. The makings of a good man are not based on race, gender or sexuality, but virtues. Some are heterosexual; some are gay. These virtues differentiate between who a man is and what makes him great.

A good man is one who is willing to sacrifice, and who exhibits enormous yet subtle intellectual strength while recognizing his own flaws. A good man is faithful and reliable. A good man takes responsibility for his actions and decisions, and accepts whatever consequences come along. It is the lack of these virtues that has hindered the African-American community and this country.

-Justin A. Jack is a second-year student

This essay is part of an ongoing series established by Chase Kimball. If you would like to have your own reflections published, please respond to the question “What does it mean to you to be a good man?”in an essay of 400-800 words and e-mail it to [email protected].

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