President Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative’s Fatherhood BuzzBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 14 Jun 2012 06:49pm |
An estimated 300 thousand Mississippi children are without fathers. This weekend African American barber shops will be buzzing with conversations about the importance of being a good dad. It's part of President Barack Obamas initiative to disseminate information about responsible fatherhood. MPB's Lawayne Childrey has more.
While hair cuts are the order of the day at Adams Corner Barber Shop in Jackson the shop also serves as a clearing house of information.
"We come to the barbershop to talk about sports politics. I've been coming here since I was a little boy with a little duck tail in the back."
Research shows that growing up without a farther can be devastating for a child. A large number of fatherless boys become criminals, drop out of school and are likely to commit murder. 27 year old Jeremy Fields considers himself lucky. He was just 11 when he made his first visit to Adams Corner and says it’s made a huge difference in his life.
"Cause everybody doesn't have a father around and you know you can come to a barbershop and talk to a man. And 9 times out of 10 that man has children too. You got all the way down here from a guy that's fresh out of barbers school to a guy that's got over what, 40, 50 years experience and so many mistakes that they done made that they can tell you about that you can just suck in."
According to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the absence of a father creates a void in the emotional, economical and spiritual well being of children. All are part of the reasons why Ronald Carral decided to dedicate his life to barbering 20 years ago.
"I got a little boy that comes in here he's probably like 6'3" and 14 years old. I try to work as a mentor for him and some of his friends. I take him down to Alcorn State University where my son goes and we run basketball down there. You know I do it so I can give ‘em something to do but at the same time I do it so I can keep ‘em out of trouble.
Many experts say the psychological and physical absence of fathers is one of the greatest underestimated tragedies of our time. That’s whyDarnell Barksdale diligently works to keep his son motivated.
"He wants to be a physics. Right now I got a bachelors degree from Morehouse College. I have my masters degree and he sees some of the things I do. So it's imperative that I set a good example for him to follow in my footsteps right now so that he can have a productive future."
Statistics from the department of human services shows that of the 300 thousand Mississippi children who don't have fathers half of them are sons. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
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