Participants: Xavier Morales (Host), Gordon Fraser, Denry White
Series Code: AFH
Program Code: AFH000004A
00:01 A good father takes time to play
00:05 He has strong integrity
00:07 He is someone that is truly dedicated
00:11 He's not afraid to show his love
00:15 He is a caring provider
00:19 And, he's a kind, spiritual leader
00:22 These are just a few ways to describe a father's heart
00:30 Hi. Perdido en accion. Confused as to what I said?
00:34 That's missing in action in Spanish.
00:36 That's probably how your child feels because you're not there
00:39 So today we're gonna be talking about that missing in action
00:42 and steps for being there for your child.
00:44 And with me today to talk about that are Gordon and Denry
00:48 How you guys doin? Pretty good man. Good.
00:50 Glad to be back. Were you confused with the introduction
00:52 right there with the Spanish?
00:53 Didn't know where you were going with that, yeah
00:55 I'm telling you that's the thing when fathers are missing in
00:58 action, it's like speaking another language to the child
01:01 They don't know where to go, what to do, how to do it
01:04 because they don't understand the world around them
01:07 That's what we're there for. What do you guys think?
01:11 I don't mean to always jump first.
01:16 But I went to Costa Rica, my stepfather took us to Costa Rica
01:20 and I literally felt like a fish out of water
01:23 Everyone was speaking Spanish you know and I'm like Ah
01:27 I didn't know how to communicate I didn't know how to get things
01:31 across like food, I knew one or two words but all I could
01:35 keep saying was agua, poquito just small little things, but
01:40 I had to, it was really confusing and so I can imagine
01:43 when you say how a child feels. Going into this world with the
01:48 genetics that is embedded in him the culture that's embedded
01:51 in him and don't have a father to guide them.
01:55 So when I finally had an interpreter now I felt like
02:00 yeah, ok. This is what I need this is what I need
02:02 what I want to eat, Pollo means chicken and all that you know
02:06 so all these things and when you don't have someone
02:09 and so I guess in this case then a father is almost like the
02:13 interpreter because he's had experience. So dad how do I
02:19 put my shoes on, tie my shoelace dad how do I deal with puberty
02:23 dad I'm thinking about getting married. So a father would be
02:26 like a good interpreter in this case to help us in the language
02:31 of life. Yeah when a father is missing in the home, that child
02:37 is void of a lot of things that a father needs to do
02:42 that a mother can't do and we find a lot of black men that
02:49 end up in prison cells. A lot of them come from fatherless homes
02:54 because there was no one there to guide them, no one there to
02:57 interpret the world for them and so it's very important for
03:02 fathers being there for our children
03:04 What do you do though when you find yourself in this type of
03:09 predicament? Of being without a father? How do we encourage
03:13 our men out there to step up and be better fathers instead of
03:19 being missing in action, being there for their children.
03:21 What are some of the things that some of those guys can do
03:23 as fathers, what can we do?
03:25 I know how valuable what he's saying. Having a father's
03:29 presence, not just the presence but active involved fathers
03:33 I watched a documentary years ago about, in Chicago, about
03:38 why the prisoner rate is so high and they interviewed an inmate
03:42 and he said, and he was like this, he said I never saw
03:45 a lawyer in my community. I never saw a banker or CEOs
03:51 all I saw was drunks, all I saw was drug dealers you know I saw
03:56 all these negative things. So he saw that's the only thing
04:00 he could accomplish in his life and he didn't have his father
04:04 so all he saw was these things so even the presence of being
04:09 active, and the key word is active. Because you can be there
04:13 and still missing. Yeah.
04:15 But being active, you could be something that your son or your
04:19 daughter looks up to. Man. my dad is a good mechanic
04:24 I want to be a better mechanic. I want to own my own mechanic
04:27 shop. You know those kinda things. Something that your
04:30 child can look up to by you being actively involved
04:34 in your child's life. You're talking about Chicago, that's
04:37 my city of ministry. And I tell you the church I pastor on the
04:42 South side of Chicago, lots of young men without fathers
04:49 in their lives. And so you find that their behavior is spiraling
04:55 out of control. You even find that they adopt some of their
05:01 mothers behaviors and mannerisms so a father being in a home
05:07 is very important and being there, like you said you have
05:11 to be there because you can be there and really not be there
05:15 You can be a father with children and in the home
05:20 but you come home, you're so busy with work, so busy
05:23 with church, so busy with all kinds of stuff
05:26 and the child is playing by themselves or you know the child
05:30 is just there by himself and no one is there for them.
05:32 And I think being there and being actively involved in their
05:35 lives and that's one thing my wife would always do.
05:38 As a minister, you can be home and attending to everybody
05:46 else's family but your own. And I thank God for my wife
05:51 she'd say, you know you're here but you're not here.
05:54 And every now and again I have to make the conscious effort
05:58 because of my past because of my father, my father he worked
06:07 away from home so he would come home every weekend
06:10 and even when he was home on the weekend, he was still busy.
06:15 Because he didn't go to church with us, we went to church
06:18 by ourselves. So he would be home but not home. So we were
06:23 still by ourselves. My mom was the one that played cricket
06:26 you guys know what cricket is. Uh huh.
06:29 My mom's the one who played sports with us.
06:31 Not my dad. I didn't have dad.
06:35 So I love him to death because he was my dad, he was my hero
06:41 but still he was busy with providing for us
06:46 Now I can tell you we didn't want for anything.
06:49 We had everything we need because dad was a provider
06:53 but what I needed was him being there. And that's why I tried
06:59 to stay, be in my children's lives because as much as I can
07:03 and yes sometimes you have to work, you have to provide
07:07 but you've got to spend time with your children, you have to
07:10 be there for them and not missing.
07:12 So what you're saying is now is.......I know you guys
07:15 you're pastors I'm chaplain but we all preach and we minister
07:18 so what you're saying is we can minister to everybody else and
07:22 even minister to our family. What you're saying is the fact
07:25 that perhaps the ministry that we're called to do sometimes we
07:31 hang on to the phone a little bit too long in the calling
07:34 and forget about our first ministry, which is our family.
07:36 So we can be missing in action in our own home
07:39 I'm guilty. I mean I'm guilty.
07:43 To be quite honest you've got the phone ringing, you've got
07:47 everybody else calling and you are attendant to everyone else
07:52 but then there's that child at home and you're there in the
07:58 house but you're not there. So that's another form of
08:01 missing in action. But I took some steps, conscious effort
08:06 to make sure that I can shut things down and spend some time
08:13 with them, those precious moments. And for children
08:16 children don't really need hours 15 minutes, 20 minutes but
08:22 once the time is quality time it makes a big difference
08:25 for them. When my son and my daughter were young I spent
08:31 a lot of time. We went swimming, we'd go riding bicycle in the
08:37 yard and doing all kinds of fun things.
08:39 So that is one thing that I thank God for. The opportunity
08:44 to spending time with them when they were young.
08:47 I mean, ministry is my second kind of career but still I
08:52 spent time with them which is very, very valuable.
08:55 It's building that foundation. But there's lot of young men
08:59 that don't have the privilege of having fathers in the home
09:03 and making a conscious effort to be there. How can we help?
09:07 What are some of the things we can do to help them?
09:10 That's my puzzling question.
09:13 One of the things that's true you know we have to culturally
09:16 let's talk about culturally you know. You guys African American
09:21 Hispanic but because of Puerto Rico I come from African
09:25 background. Slavery and all that and slaves were taught you know
09:30 to reproduce and leave. That was their dominant role
09:34 in the slavery, impregnate and leave. Are we still doing the
09:40 same thing our ancestors did? Are we just having babies
09:44 after baby after baby, Mercy and leaving them? yes
09:47 Now we have every excuse in the book as to why we do it
09:51 but the point is how do we break away from that
09:54 how do we become the fathers that God wants us to be
09:58 and leave that mindset behind?
10:03 You know, let me grab my pillow on this one.
10:07 You know you brought out something that we've overlooked
10:13 because of these traditions and sometimes you know we look at
10:18 tradition, we talk about tradition, we talk about
10:20 tradition as in church, proper stuff. But there are some
10:24 negative traditions we pass on. You know speakin of, all the men
10:31 in my family, ok, blood line men of my family, all of them
10:37 when I say all, are rolling stones. Just like you said
10:42 They get with a woman, have children and move on to the next
10:46 Mercy. I had a grandfather who had three different, that's 4
10:51 3 different families at one time
10:57 3 at one time. I have uncles who are the same age born in
11:01 the same month. That was my example.
11:04 And then my personal father, my blood father, right
11:08 six boys, different mothers. Never been married.
11:14 His dad, 26 something children
11:17 So you see our bloodline? This is what the examples we have
11:21 So for me, my uncle had a child at 16, and I was ten
11:28 and I was looking forward to getting 16 so I can have a child
11:31 too. Mercy. But then God intervened.
11:37 My stepfather, as much as I gave him a hard time
11:43 helped me, I'm getting emotional now, that's my deep tissue
11:46 moment. As much as I have my stepdad a hard time
11:51 God sent him at the right time to marry my mother. He was
11:57 not perfect, made a lot of mistakes
12:01 but even his presence and remember we said active
12:05 but just his presence, watching him, when I was a little boy
12:09 you know I went through a lot of things.
12:13 You see everybody, all I saw was women. The women
12:15 going to church, all these things. So I'll never forget
12:17 I saw one picture of myself when I was little
12:20 I was in a dress. That's the first time I was ashamed of
12:24 anybody. I feel I'm at your counseling session.
12:29 Ever. I remember that picture. I remember what was goin on
12:34 at that time. I was playin and my mom took a picture of me
12:38 in a dress and whatever the case may be.
12:40 There were things I went through even at school and stuff
12:43 I didn't know any better.
12:47 I didn't know any better. Some of the memories in my mind
12:51 and I had to go and get help from a Christian counselor
12:55 even now as a married man concerning some of these things
12:58 So I encourage everyone in this room if you're dealing with
13:03 some of these things you need, Bible tells us to seek spiritual
13:06 counseling. And so I had to get help and I realize some of
13:11 the first memories that I had were sexual.
13:16 As a child. My only memories I can lock in were sexual
13:21 Then God sends my stepfather at the right time because
13:26 that was the time I was starting to look at other men
13:29 you know I'd go home and I'd say I want to dress like such
13:32 and such. But I didn't know what was right and what was wrong
13:35 and then he came in at the right time
13:40 and because God used him, even though like I said most of the
13:44 time it was just his presence. He wasn't active until later on
13:47 because he didn't know what to do, this is not my child this is
13:50 is this my child? He didn't know
13:54 But because of his presence, his example, going to church
13:57 having family worship, those things, I was like Wow
14:02 Okay I have something I can work off of.
14:04 If we have nothing to work off of, it's the worst thing you
14:07 could do to a child. Uh uh.
14:10 That's like me wearing high heeled shoes.
14:12 I think it's the same kind of thing because that's what
14:15 was around. And I think our young men are suffering from
14:18 from the same thing and you brought out a good point
14:21 seeking counsel thing. Any young men that find themselves
14:26 or young women in a home where father's missing they need to
14:30 seek counseling or they need to find a mentor, someone that will
14:34 mentor them, help them to look outside of the home. Yes, yes.
14:40 I think that's a good point that you...yeah
14:42 What can we do with our churches because you know
14:45 I'm a former police officer and I remember arresting a lot of
14:50 juveniles. You know we talk about the jail population
14:55 for the grown men but we never talk about the jail population
14:58 for the juveniles. We have a lot of our children in jail
15:02 and it frustrated me. Honestly, I wanted to find a father and
15:07 just beat him. Mercy.
15:09 There's no excuse. And I grew up you know, my mom and dad have
15:13 always been there together for everything but I remember
15:16 relatives that had kids, they had their own village
15:20 they had so many kids. For me it was like, my mom used to
15:24 tell me, don't be like that. My dad used to tell me don't be
15:27 like that. I started almost to be like that but by the grace
15:30 of God I didn't have a slew of kids. I only have two.
15:34 But that's not the point. The point is our children are
15:38 going to jail because they don't have a father figure, period
15:43 or their father in the home is missing in action.
15:47 starting with, and I don't want to seem like bashing anybody
15:51 but the truth is, starting with our churches. Yeah.
15:53 They're called the PKs. You know our own children
15:58 our own children given by God acting like rebellious kids
16:03 and we're not doing anything about it. What can we do to
16:06 call them, ourselves as ministers of God, held to a
16:11 higher standard not because we're higher but because we're
16:14 held to a higher standard by God. What can we do with the
16:17 men in our churches who are elders, the males, everybody
16:20 there's men, 82% of the churches are women. There's something
16:23 wrong with that. Where are our men? We need to call our men
16:27 It doesn't matter whether they are fathers to these kids or not
16:30 you know, we need to start being mentors, to start being
16:33 there for our youth, our children because they say the
16:38 youth, the next generation, the youth are supposed to lead
16:41 the way. And right now it don't look very good.
16:44 What can we do to change that?
16:47 When I was growin up and right around the same time God sent
16:51 my stepdad. Also, He sent other men from the church
16:58 some of the elders, the deacons, the AYS leader
17:03 and these guys, it's interesting lookin back it was simple things
17:08 like how he tied his tie, I want to do that.
17:12 What kind of suit did he wear? How did he treat his wife?
17:15 You know those type of things. There was one guy, I'll never
17:19 forget him, never ever forget him. We had a fire in our house
17:22 so everything was burned out. We lived on the 6th floor
17:25 in Harlem. Everything was burned out of our apartment.
17:29 He took me shopping
17:33 He took me, I'm not his son, he was one of the youth leaders
17:39 at that time, I don't remember exactly what he was
17:41 maybe Sabbath School. He took me shopping
17:45 Got me sneakers, socks, clothes, suits. Took me shopping
17:49 He also, when I became older put me on the basketball team
17:55 Another elder taught me how to play basketball.
17:59 Every Sunday morning he would bring his sons all the way
18:02 from Bronx. This is distance now He burned his own gas
18:07 picked me up with this sons we went to play basketball
18:10 taught me how to play basketball.
18:13 And I'll never forget that.
18:15 So to answer your question, the men of the church
18:18 the men of the church, like you said, need to be mentors.
18:22 Spiritual men of the church because unfortunately we don't
18:27 have, you know we're all growing in grace. But the spiritual
18:31 loving ones that have tasted grace need to be mentors
18:36 and as a pastor too this is something that I'm actively
18:40 involved with in my church. To have the men of the church
18:43 and the ladies be mentors to the young ladies
18:45 and the men be mentors to the young men.
18:48 Because we need each other to survive.
18:51 I look at myself as an extension even I'm in the south side
18:56 Chatham in Chicago. I'm not one of the pastors for the
19:02 church or the mentors for young men in the church, for the
19:04 community. Because the church needs to get outside of itself
19:09 and reach into the community to start to build relationships
19:12 with some of the young men and mentor them. I have my nephews
19:18 two nephews and I've always been there for them, mentor them
19:24 one is about to go into high school now. He is almost the
19:31 same age as my son but I've always been there for them
19:36 because there's no active father in his life
19:40 and unfortunately who's he going to look up to? His mother.
19:46 Single mother. Who's he going to look up to? So I have to step
19:51 in so that he can come out you know. What do you think
19:54 about this? I've been doing this I've been doing that, so buildin
19:58 that relationship, build his self-confidence. He knows that
20:01 with my son there's no difference because I treat them
20:06 I treat them the same. I listen to them the same way
20:10 In church I encourage the young men. We did this one communion
20:15 after the foot washing I said, listen, every young man I need
20:20 you to get with one of the elders. They're gonna be your
20:25 mentors. They're gonna help you because, of course, fathers
20:30 were not there, but our men, our young men need somebody
20:35 to help them to stay out of the juvenile system or prison system
20:40 and unless we get a good mentor program going I think we're
20:46 going to end up doin the same thing because of the way the
20:50 world is going, because of sin because of imperfection
20:53 we're gonna have homes without fathers as you rightly said
20:58 that mentality of just producing and moving on.
21:03 We're gonna have that until Jesus comes. So the church needs
21:07 to form, needs to be the bridge to help these people over.
21:11 I would go a step above that and say if you're married
21:15 if you have a wife, if you're together with your spouse
21:18 mentor your women. It's not just the men, the young men
21:23 that are fathers, it's also women. Yes, yes. And I say that
21:26 because women need a mother figure, they need a father
21:29 figure. Yes we can turn to our father in heaven and that's not
21:33 impossible but realistically our minds need somebody we can
21:39 see, somebody tangible. So if you're married you know I would
21:42 say, step out with your wife and mentor these young ladies
21:46 because how are they supposed to find prince charming
21:49 when they never knew when to begin with? They don't have
21:52 an example. They're just going to find those men that beat them
21:56 or abuse them. So I mean. I definitely agree. A young lady
22:02 spoke to me last week and she is about late 20s and she went
22:07 on her first real date. She's been with other guys before
22:11 But her first dress up date and she told me she didn't know
22:14 what to do. She didn't know about the fork, where to put
22:19 the fork, spoon, all that. She didn't know what to wear
22:21 she didn't know all these things I'll never forget one time
22:25 my wife and I saw this special about these fathers who
22:29 took their 16 year old daughters out on dates, pulled the chair
22:36 out for them. Opened the door all these things, show them
22:40 and they did it repeatedly so that their daughters would hold
22:46 their father in high esteem and whichever guy comes into
22:52 their life now, hey this is what you need to live up to this
22:58 so I agree with you, it does have that impact seriously even
23:03 on young ladies. But there's another aspect that I think
23:06 we're forgetting. We talk about prison but we're forgetting
23:09 about death. Not being a father, not being actively involved in
23:15 a child's life could lead your child to death.
23:17 Within the past couple of years we've heard from Black and
23:21 Hispanic young men and young ladies being killed by police
23:25 brutality. We need our fathers to step up even now.
23:30 Example to our children whether they're male or female how to
23:35 respect authority even if authority doesn't respect you.
23:40 See the conversation we need, and my wife and I had to swallow
23:44 this. I realize the conversation we need to have nowadays
23:48 is not whether you are right or wrong but how to get home.
23:54 How to come home safely to us Fathers and mothers need to
23:59 sit down with their children and say, look when you're pulled
24:02 over by a cop it's not a matter of whether you're right or wrong
24:06 or whether your broke the light or whatever, it's a matter of
24:09 you showing uttermost respect and being prayerful.
24:14 When cop asks you, whether he curses you out, called you names
24:17 when he asks for your credential give it to him, yes officer
24:23 all these things and what he asks you to do, do it, come out
24:30 of the car do it in a respectful nothing suspicious. why?
24:34 So you can come home.
24:37 Then when you get home you can let out all the frustration.
24:40 Then you can be mad at the cops, then you can call the authority
24:44 you can call all of the XXXXXXX you can do all of that
24:48 when you get home. But the point is if the fathers are not
24:52 actively and lovingly involved in their child they lack that
24:57 guidance which is common sense yes we don't live in a perfect
25:02 world. There's a lotta injustice racism is not gonna stop
25:05 until Jesus comes. Culturism, sexism none of that is gonna
25:09 stop until Jesus comes. But we need to teach our children
25:14 how to be upset but how to take care of it in the right way
25:21 in the right manner. But absent fathers, a lot of kids won't
25:26 even think that's an option. They think the only way is
25:29 rebellion and retaliation. That is because they're not taught
25:33 They're not taught. So it's important for us to teach them
25:37 and it's not demonstrated. Not just taught. Demonstrated, yeah
25:40 My dad scared me sometimes when the cops pulled him over.
25:43 He used to be one of those why are you pulling me over?
25:48 And I used to hear my ma, honey, honey stop stop
25:52 And it scared us, my dad, these cops any of them could just
25:58 but now he's, you know, ok and he's that because you
26:02 demonstrate what you want your kids to do.
26:04 We made a point earlier when we were talking about mentoring
26:07 I think mentors are very important but we need to be
26:10 careful who's mentoring our children. I think mothers and
26:14 fathers need to make sure that whoever is mentoring their
26:18 children, they're not, you know they're straight because we have
26:23 a lot of bad people out there and lot of pedophiles so if
26:29 mothers don't have a father in the home in the church they want
26:34 someone to mentor a child make sure that that person
26:38 has been vetted. Make sure that the person is straight
26:42 so you don't have problems, your children don't have problem
26:45 or you'll have greater problems down the line, those are things
26:48 that husband and that wife, even they're together in their
26:53 home and they want their children to be mentored
26:59 by someone that's an important part we need to also emphasize
27:03 I think everything that was said was great making sure that
27:06 they're straight, they're in the good path to be mentors and
27:11 man there's a lot we can say. There's a lot more we can say
27:15 but we ran out of time so if you have any questions
27:18 please send them to AFH@3ABN.org
27:24 Reality is that missing fathers are still missing.
27:28 If your father is not in your child's life stop the excuses
27:32 Stop it, there's no point. You are going to be held accountable
27:37 by God as to where your children are. Be responsible.
27:41 Step up. Even if you're afraid you don't know what to do
27:43 us here we have no idea what to do but we're tryin our best
27:48 with what we have through Jesus, through mentoring
27:51 through learning, through books there's resources and for those
27:55 that are out there that are working, you work, work, work
27:58 guess what? Your children are still missing from your lives
28:01 Stop all the hard work, step up
28:04 Be there for your child. Thank you for watching