It’s Never Too Late
We’ve all made mistakes that we wish we could take back.
Whether it was unprofessionalism, a bad relationship or underachieving in life, we’ve all done things that we wish we could do over. Think about it. Who hasn’t said, at least once in their life, “If I knew then what I know now, things would have turned out differently?”
Celebrities, like Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, are no different in that regard.
In the African American community, children born out of wedlock are much higher than amongst other ethnic groups.
According to PolitiFact.com, 73 percent of African Americans are born out of wedlock, compared to 66 percent of American Indians/Native Alaskans, 53 percent of Hispanics, 29 percent of Whites and 17 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders.
Although children born out of wedlock is an epidemic in the Black community and should definitely not be celebrated, what truly matters is what you do after the fact, not how the child was actually conceived.
CNN’s Don Lemon created another firestorm in the Black community for criticizing Peterson who just lost a son to a child abuse death allegedly by the mother’s boyfriend, for being an absentee father.
“The child’s death is certainly tragic,” Lemon wrote on BlackAmericaWeb.com. “And I feel bad for all of those who loved him. But like many people out there, I’m struggling with how I feel about his dad, Adrian Peterson. Because, although Peterson allegedly didn’t know definitively that the boy was his until a few months ago. A few months are not a few weeks, not a few days. A few months are a few months. That’s a long time.”
Although Peterson did not know his deceased son well before his death, at least he made an effort to provide financially for the child and the mother in those few short months.
Many young parents are unprepared and inexperienced when they begin raising their children, but how one starts is not necessarily how one has to finish.
There are many men who were initially absent in their children’s early life but because of maturity many have made an effort to re-enter their children’s life and be that positive male influence that they need.
Although it is ideal that children be raised in a two parent home by a married couple, sometimes the relationship between the parents just does not work out.
However, even if a child is born to a single mother that does not mean that the father cannot effectively be a positive role model for that child even if he is not in the house every night.
Peterson made some youthful mistakes fathering all of these children out of wedlock, but what is important is that he is trying to man up, and make up for lost time with these children.
As stated earlier, what matters in life is not necessarily how you start but how you finish.
In the Black community, we often praise positive father figures and persecute absentee fathers.
However, we cannot falsely believe that there is such a thing as a perfect father figure.
If a man makes a mistake and initially fails to live up to expectations, then we should at least give him credit for admitting those past mistakes and trying to become that positive male figure.
Furthermore, Lemon improperly blamed the child’s death on the fact that he was raised in a single parent home.
“The cold hard fact is that children of single parents have a 77 percent greater risk of being harmed by physical abuse than children living with both parents,” Lemon wrote. “That’s according to the National Incidence Study. And many kids in a single parent household are physically and/or sexually abused by their mother’s boyfriends or acquaintances; the men who come and go and have no connection to the child.”
While that may be true, a child’s death should never be blamed on the relationship status of the parents. If that was the case, women should never date again after a divorce or break up.
What truly matters is that another child has been lost to a senseless death, and that void that is felt in the hearts of his loved ones will never be filled.
However, Peterson and other temporarily absent fathers should not be blamed for the void in their child’s life either when they begin making every effort to fill that void. They should be applauded for maturing and attempting to correct the mistakes from their past.
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