Crystal Willcuts: Native women need men in our families' lives

"Some fathers don’t realize how important they are to their children. Whether they are involved parents or not, their role is critical. If they aren’t there anymore or were never there at all, children miss their dads even if the child doesn’t know what it is they are missing.

When I was fifteen years old, I despised all men who were in the same age group as my father. Boys and old men were okay, but I felt an unreasonable anger towards men in their forties. I possessed a general dislike for my father anyway and since he never lived up to the family man image, let alone faked interest in the lives of his kids, I pushed all thoughts of him out every chance I could. I had no idea what I was feeling at fifteen and I think my mom thought it was just normal teenager crap. Teen crap will maybe get you in trouble once in a while, but it really shouldn’t give you an ulcer or make you want to die. I only realized later in life that what I was feeling was longing for a father.

I don’t want my son to go through that mix of negative emotion and overwhelming confusion. It shouldn’t be a necessary lesson, but the reality remains his biological father dropped the ball. If I could bear this certain pain for my son I would, but if experiencing all that mess meant he would be better or stronger for it, then maybe it would be all right for him to hurt for a while. I don’t know. My experience only scarred. But I’ve seen what happens when you take on too much pain for your child too. They become weak and when you are gone, they are lost and can never stand on their own. Teaching my son to survive without either of his parents seems to be the necessary lesson."

Get the Story:
Crystal Willcuts Cole: Circle of Violence: The Need for Fathers (Indian Country Today 7/28)

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