Home > Uncategorized > Yet another Steubenville Fatherhood response…

Yet another Steubenville Fatherhood response…

There have been so many responses to the Steubenville rape trial that I almost didn’t want to write about it.  When the Newtown, CT shootings happened, I chose not to, because I didn’t feel I had anything unique or compelling to say about it that wasn’t already said.  With Steubenville, I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only person to discuss the fatherhood aspects of the case by connecting the situation with what, in my opinion, is the best artistic piece about fatherhood, the song “Be a Father to your Child” by Ed O.G. and the B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S.  Being from the Boston area and a fan of hip hop, I’m biased, but in my defense this song was popular nationally at the time it came out.

If hip hop isn’t your thing and you don’t want to click above to see/hear the music video, the Cliff’s Notes on the song is that it’s a call to action to address the epidemic of single mothers raising children in the father’s absence.  

At one point in the song, Ed says “don’t front on your child if it’s your own, cause if you front now then you’ll regret it when it’s grown”. For those unfamiliar with the slang, he’s essentially saying if you have a son and neglect him, you’ll regret it.  It was widely reported that after the verdict was delivered, the father of one of the players found guilty felt compelled to speak to the court, saying that he wasn’t there for his son, and therefore took responsibility upon himself for what had happened.

The last line of the song is the more compelling part in relation to the Steubenville story, where Ed concludes by saying “It’s never too late to correct your mistakes, so get yourself together for your child’s sake and be a father to your child.”  There are two competing views on this one.  One point of view is that it’s indeed too late.  A life-altering transgression was committed by the son that there’s no undoing and no amount of apology or reparation can ever make right.  Another point of view is that even though what happened happened, It’s not too late for the father to become more involved, as the son undoubtedly has challenges he will need to face as he deals with the consequences of his actions, and perhaps the father can be there to ensure the son moves forward in the best way possible from this.

No matter how you view it, the absentee father thing only accounts for part of the story, though.  I can’t imagine that all of those kids, (and when I say this I’m including those who were watching/tweeting/videotaping along with the two who actually did the actions, and in a broader sense any kids who get into serious trouble), had parents who didn’t do the best they thought they could for their children.  In fact I believe most did.  This is what scares the sh*t out of me as a parent, that no matter how good we intend to do, our own influence can only go so far.  

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