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Fatherhood in a Technological Age
By Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. (Contributing Writer)
Published June 5, 2013

Pastor Mark Whitlock

And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do.  And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” –Genesis 11:6

Seventy percent of Black fathers are not in the home, but this does not mean Black fathers are not in contact with their children.

Every generation has its ‘thing.’  Be it large Afros, free sex or the bad drugs; but elders in every age refused to condone the behaviors of fathers neglecting their children. Fathers, it’s time to embrace fathering in a technological age!

Today, fathers are faced with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, Skype, Socialcam and the like.  Social media and technology have made communicating suitable, simple and satisfactory. With Father’s Day approaching, make it a point to reconnect with your children in a manner that is relevant to them. 

Send them a tweet or post a message on their Facebook page.  On second thought, use these mediums to delve deeper into their worlds.  Find out what’s important to them or what they are passionate about and then start a dialogue. If you are estranged from your children, this is the perfect medium to test the waters. 

According to divorce and blended family expert Jill Brooke, “New technology has also helped prevent or reduce what is called ‘parental alienation,’ in which the residential parent (usually the mother) may—consciously or subconsciously—restrict her children’s contact with their father, either out of resentment or to protect the children’s relationship with a new stepfather.”

Unfortunately, many fathers walk away from their children when they walk away from their relationships.  Platforms like Facebook allow for fathers to connect with their children directly usurping any interference from the mothers. 

If you are one of those fathers who have walked away from your children, reconnect with them online.  Check in on them.  Let them know you are there for them, even if it’s a click away.

Finally, social media is no replacement or substitute for a face-to-face father to children encounter. God instructs us to honor our children. Father, it’s a good thing to take time to visit your children.

To a degree, our elders were right.  Things have changed when we start fathering. Happy Father’s Day!

The Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., is the senior minister of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine.    


Categories: Religion

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