Today I took my sons to the park with my husband. This was just like any other ordinary trip to the park with the family except for one specific incident…
It was a beautiful day and the park was full of happy children and their parents. I immediately found a bench to sit on which allowed me to supervise my boys from all angles of the park. My husband and I sat down and proceeded to laugh and talk as the boys climbed on the Jungle Gym and made friends with the other kids.
After awhile, my husband ran into another parent from my sons’ school who has coached intramural basketball with him in the past. The two men stood and talked a good distance from me as they watched the kids organizing a game of baseball, my boys included.
As they were talking, another man sat a few benches away from me with his son. I only noticed them when they came in so I wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation he was having with his son. Eventually, his son walked over to the kids playing baseball and joined the pitching team.
That is when this man became possessed. He began to scream directions to his son about how he should be playing and complained that they needed to change the rules of the game to allow outs even when the ball hits the floor since there were older and younger kids playing together.
Honestly, I just listened to him because I don’t normally get involved when kids are playing unless something is wrong and I thought this megalomaniac father was absolutely ridiculous. He even had the nerve to belt out directions to my son when he walked over to me to have a drink of water. Since he spoke nicely to my son, I did not intervene because I want my children to be respectful of all adults as long as the adults are respectful of them.
Finally, he said something that completely crossed the line as my son was walking away. He said, “It would be nice if these kids had their daddies to teach them the rules of street baseball. Whether these women know it or not, these kids need their daddies.”
Now, at this point, I became livid. I turned to him and said, “Excuse me? My children have their “Daddy” and he is standing right over there.” He seemed shocked to see that, not only had I heard his comment but that my husband was physically in the park. After a nervous chuckle, he responded with, “Oh yeah, maybe him and I can get together and teach these boys how to play properly.”
It was obvious that he was nervous about what he had said and nervous that I would call my husband over to confront him. I didn’t do that because I did not want to instigate an argument but I was extremely offended.
First of all, how dare he assume that my children do not have their father in their life? Secondly, who was he to judge the single mothers who were in the park as if they chose to keep their children from their fathers? Lastly, why was he blaming mothers for the absentee fathers of some of the other children instead of making a comment about how fathers should be more involved in the lives of their children?
The whole thing was just unsettling and speaks volumes about society’s perception of who the responsibility of raising children falls upon. It also spoke to some of the stereotypes that exist about single parents. He just assumed that since I was a Hispanic woman in the park with my sons that I was a single parent. Additionally, he assumed that single mothers make the decision to keep fathers away from their children.
Luckily, I am with my sons’ father and he is raising these boys with me. However, I will always stand in solidarity with my single mothers who do the job of mothers and fathers. Instead of judging them, people like this guy should be judging these dead beat fathers who so easily walk away from their responsibilities because I do agree with this guy on one point: ”Yes, children do need their fathers…”
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