Roland Martin and Washington Watch traveled to the Potter’s House to discuss the importance of fathers in the African-American community.
In this segment of the show Roland and his panel of guest talk about the effects of growing up without a father and if the women on the panel had problems in their relationships with men as a result of not growing up with a father.
MR. MARTIN: Welcome back to “Washington Watch.”
We’re talking about the effects of growing up without a father, and we’ll take some questions in a moment from the audience, but I want to pick up where we left off on the last conversation, and that is your relationships with men. Have you had difficulties in terms of being able to respond to a man, in terms of dealing with him, because of how you grew up – not having daddy there?
MS. MALONE: I always found myself looking to older men for love and just being used by men, and it – it, I guess, to a certain point just affected everything in my life.
MR. MARTIN: So, because daddy wasn’t there in your life – obviously, daddy’s older — you were gravitating towards older men who were trying to – you were looking for something that you should’ve had –
MS. MALONE: Yes. Yes.
MR. MARTIN: — and their – what was their response, though? Did – did any man say, “Look, I’m not your daddy. I can’t give you” –
MS. MALONE: [Chuckles.]
MR. MARTIN: — “what he should’ve [given] you”?
MS. MALONE: No, because they got what they wanted.
OFF CAMERA: Wow.
MS. PATTERSON: Well, for me, I gravitated in the opposite direction. Actually, I s- — I dated very young, and I’m married to the man that was my first boyfriend, first everything.
AUDIENCE: Wow. [Applause.]
MR. MARTIN: You can go ahead and say it. She[‘s] kinda like, “I don’t know if I wanna say that.”
MR. MARTIN: But what was the relationship like in terms of P- — because, Perri’, you talked about the intimacy, and – there’s a book called Daddy’s Little Girl that talks about that. Bishop has a book talking about – in terms of that impact that young women say – not having daddy there. And so did you have the conflicts in the relationships because you didn’t see that strong male-female relationship, so, therefore, you were trying to figure out how this [was] supposed to work?
MS. CAMPER: I was, and I was actually seeking validation. I think she said older men. I was seeking validation from any man, which resulted in an abortion at 16. And then – because I blamed myself and had so much unforgiveness for myself. I blamed myself for everything. I actually just started being – I lived a life of promiscuity. I didn’t want to, but that’s all I thought I was worth – so, that’s all I gave, because that’s all I thought I could give or that I had to give. So, I was just – I – I was quiet about everything, and I just let them do what they wanted to do and let them play Russian roulette with my body.
OFF CAMERA: Wow.
MS. CAMPER: And that’s how I did it. So, yeah.
MR. MARTIN: Now, Michael, we were talking about how it impacts women; but having a father and seeing the intimacy, seeing the love between a father and a mother is also important. And so, for you, what as the net result in relationships – not having daddy there? Were you sometimes at a conflict in terms of “Who am I supposed to be?” “What am I supposed to do” “How am I supposed to act?”
MR. MOORE: Well, sure, I – because you had no role model, you had no – no – no guidance, no one to sh- – to show you how to be a man. Just it’s you grow up, and you’re there. You’re a man. And – and – and your conversation is not good too – your communication skills are not good in reference to women. You’re not even sure about yourself, because you’re just insecure, and you’re – you don’t have that security of – a- — as a man. And then you grow into that eventually; but, you know, the initial years of my life, it was just really – I was very, very shy and very insecure. So, I – I acted out, and – and did real bad and just acted like I was this bad guy – bad – bad, tough kid, and just – really, just a – you know, just a chump, really. [Chuckles.]
MR. MOORE: Just wanted some attention, you know?
MR. MARTIN: Well, I want to take some questions from our audience here, and so, ma’am, go ahead and stand up. And so I’ll take your first question. All right.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Actually, it’s not a question, but it’s a statement. I’m 52 years old, and I just met my dad in September, after, like, I think I may have been two years old or something when he left.
MR. MARTIN: So, 50 years later.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, and it was very emotional. And like the young lady, I did several things that I wasn’t proud of and everything, and I – but I’ve always, like, just – all I’ve ever wanted was just, like, a protector. In – in any relationship, I always wanted a protector, somebody – I felt like some things that happened in my life, if I’d had my dad, or – then maybe I would’ve been, you know, ju- — I mean it m- — it may [have] been a covering for me. I’d ’ve been protected.
MR. MARTIN: Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
MR. MARTIN: I’m going to go next to you right here. Go ahead and stand up. All right, sir.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, I just had a – a question. I was just thinking about the analogy that Bishop Jakes used about the fact of – you know, when he was pinning on the roses and what have you; and some men came up, as well as little boys, identifying him as a father. And when you look at what the Bible says in the Book of Malachi, it talks about this analogy of turning the hearts of the children to fathers. My question is, is it the fact that there can be a transference of the father image, just like it was in the extended family with, you know, older mothers and grandmothers raising? Could that even be spiritually, with people being a father to men?
MR. MARTIN: All right. Bishop?
BISHOP JAKES: I cer- — I certainly think so. I think that there are surrogate fathers that God sends into your life to speak into your life, to fill voids in your life. That could come from the pulpit. It could come from an uncle, a grandfather. The reality is a child is so thirsty, that he really doesn’t care where it comes from. The father doesn’t even have to be in the home. The- — there’s such a – such a need for male support and mentoring and open, male dialogue, that it almost doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as you get what you need. And that – just like we take vitamins to supplement our diet, there’re supplemental relationships that come in to fill voids to replace what we didn’t get.
MR. MARTIN: Sir, what’s your question?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I actually have a statement, or a comment.
MR. MARTIN: Okay, go right ahead.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You know, me, bein’ that I just got back with my father when I was 13 or what not, I – during that time that my father was gone, I gravitated towards the streets, you know. And that seems like a lot of people’s problem – that they go to the streets, looking for the family that they[’re] missing; but, you know, that’s not the right way. And I just felt that I’d say that – you know, not ’cause I’m on TV or nothin’, but ’cause that’s how I feel.
MR. MARTIN: I gotcha.
MR. MARTIN: And I wa- — I want to ask Michael – thanks a lot. I want to ask Michael to pick up on that because, Michael, you talked about – you talked about acting out or whatever. Did you run to the streets, or did you look to guys who you – who – in the neighborhood, you went to school with, who gave you that s- — that – that – that feeling of male bonding that you needed?
MR. MOORE: No, I – I really didn’t have time to do that. I d- — I had my son at a young age, and so I had to mature early. And in that – having him, it gave me a lot of – a lot of – it f- — it filled me in the places that I had void[s] in. So, my one son did it. Then I had four sons, so me being a father is just – is one of the greatest things that I could – I could be.
BISHOP JAKES: To underscore what the young man said, the stats are alarming. Where there is fatherless, they are far more likely to end up in lives of crime and this and that and the other. And – and I think it’s important that we begin to demystify how we’ve got ten-year-olds shooting each other down in the street.
MR. MARTIN: Right.
BISHOP JAKES: These are angry, little boys who do not see themselves reflected in their own homes, and the stats will really back me up on that. And I think we need to do something. You can’t go back and make the man stand up and be a father if he won’t be one, but the – you have to subsidize your life with something, and you can’t just be angry at the man and act out and talk – “Your daddy is nothing,” “Your daddy is no good,” because what that does to a boy is so damaging. And I think a lot of women do not know that. You’re using the child to be beat the dad that left.
MR. MARTIN: Ah, great point there.