Paternal Instinct

Theatre II – Black Fatherlessness

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

The second non-negotiable in the War on Racial Dissonance is Fatherlessness.  Fatherlessness in the black community must be resisted and then crushed.  If you can handle the truth expressed in love, welcome to Theatre II of the War on Racial Dissonance—Black Fatherlessness.*

You know all about Mama Bear and her cubs.  You know what happens if you mess with Mama’s boy.  Maternal instinct is fierce, forever and famous.

While you’re very familiar with maternal instinct, you’ve probably never given much thought to paternal instinct.  Yet paternal instinct is just as fierce as maternal instinct, and it’s even more forever.  The only area in which paternal instinct comes up short of maternal instinct is the area of fame; few people know about it and fewer still have ever really thought about it.  Let’s think about it for awhile.

If you’re a man, you’re loaded with paternal instinct but may not realize it—that’s why it’s called instinct.  Now, the reason you’re loaded with paternal instinct is because you are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), and God is the ultimate Father.  Technically, it would be inaccurate to say that God has instinct, but whatever its’ called, a passion for paternity is at God’s core, and therefore it’s at your core if you’re a man.

The essence of the paternal instinct in God, and in the men He created to be like Him, is not just the will to create life but also the will to protect that life and bless that life.  For evidence of the will to merely create life, we need look no further than the penis of any mammal; ain’t no babies coming until that Seed Delivery System is activated!  For evidence of the will to protect and bless life, however, we must become more human:  We must rise a bit higher and look a bit deeper.

A mom’s job—her maternal instinct—is to nurture.  It is her job to make a child feel loved and secure.  Mom’s job is largely finished when her child reaches adulthood.  Granted, she may keep on nurturing until the day she dies, but she is not obligated to do so.  Once her children are grown, hers is strictly a voluntary gig:  Lifelong nurture is an extravagant and beautiful gift from God, through her, to her offspring.

A dad’s job, meanwhile—his paternal instinct—is to protect and bless his offspring by equipping them for adulthood, then to continue protecting and blessing them for the rest of his life.  A dad’s job, if he does it well, is just beginning when his children reach adulthood!

God has written these parental job description and programmed the gender-based subtleties and nuances into us.  They are, then, not so much “instinct” as divine nature.  Look at this beautiful clue as to how maternal instinct and paternal instinct differ from and complement one another.

“My son, do not forget your mother’s teaching and do not forsake your father’s instruction (Pr. 1:8).”  This nugget lays out the distinction between a mom’s role and a dad’s role in the life of a grown child:  Lessons taught by Mom are to be stored in childhood and retrieved, as needed, throughout adulthood.  Lessons from Daddy, meanwhile, are to be ongoing; we are to recall what he’s taught us, but we are also to look to him and pay attention to him as he instructs us during adulthood.

You will not find fathers doting over their little kids in the Bible.  What you will find, time and time again, are fathers instructing and encouraging their grown offspring.  You’ll find this especially between a father named God and a son named Jesus.

Mary’s husband Joseph, the “front” father of Jesus, does not appear in any Bible account of Jesus’ adult life.  The popular thinking on this is that Joseph exits the gospels early because he has done his job and served his purpose, that purpose being to protect Mary from charges of promiscuity and to protect the young Jesus from the stigma of illegitimacy.  While that thinking may be accurate as far as it goes, it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

The main reason that Joseph is absent from the story of the adult Jesus is that Jesus was God’s son, not Joseph’s:  God would never dream of being nothing more than the Baby Daddy in Jesus’ life!  The Ultimate Father would never just “donate the sperm” and then go wandering off to conquer other women and sire more fatherless kids.

God the Father would never, ever knock up a young lady and then leave the job of life-coaching the resultant child to a stand-in, no matter if that stand-in is Joseph or Mary or Grandma or Uncle Victor or the orphanage or DFACS.  God’s love for his son is fierce and forever, and this fierce, forever love is hard-wired into men, and if you’re a man you can run from this reality but you will never, ever outrun it:  If you are a man, fierce and forever love for your offspring is hard-wired into your soul.

The rule of Paternal Instinct is in place whether you are a Christian or not.  It is in place with the same certainty as the law of gravity.  You can jump off a skyscraper because you don’t believe the law of gravity, but you’ll still go splat.  Similarly, you can make babies and then bail out on them because you don’t believe in paternal instinct, but your unbelief will damage you and damage your kids and damage their mother(s) just the same.  Then, at the end of your life, you will groan, just as men are groaning in death beds all over America right now, and as men have groaned ever since Solomon put these words to paper:  “At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent, “Oh how I hated discipline!  How I spurned correction (Pr. 5:11-12).”

Fatherlessness is a major obstacle to racial harmony and a major part of the enemy’s strategy in the War on RD.  It is a growing problem in Mayberry but it’s already an epidemic in Harlem.  Today, when a black child is born, there’s a better than 75% chance that child will grow up in a mom-only home.

Even if blacks and whites can agree on nothing else, we can still turn the tide of the War on RD by agreeing on just one thing:  Every child needs its dad in its life for all of dad’s life, and that will be just barely enough of dad!

Be street smart yet harmless.  Peace.

Tommy Libre

Thomas P. Scribbins, a.k.a. Tommy Libré, is an inspirational writer and businessman living in what Mayberry calls “Hotlanta” and Harlem calls “The A.T.L.” A former engineer and roofing contractor who has worked his way down the ladder, he is married to Kathy—his “Trophy Babe” for the past 37 years—and has three grown sons. Harlem Meets Mayberry will be published around Christmas by Xulon Press. After that, Tommy will turn some of his attention to his next book—“Code Red Christianity”—and some to his lifetime dream, which is to open a substance-conquest ministry called Ugly Orphans. At Ugly Orphans, the cool softball T-shirts will be just the beginning of the fun. WooHoo!