My story isn't unique to many young men who grew up in the 80s and 90s as young boys without fathers. I just never thought about it much because I was spoiled growing up. Don't get me wrong, my grandmother and mother didn't take any shit when I was growing up, but I was the quiet kid on the block who everyone was jealous of because either my mom or my grandmother bought my name brand clothes and shoes while the other boys either sold weed or rock to buy theirs, or did without. Because I had so much love from my mom and grandma, I didn't feel like I was lacking anything with my father not being around.
Now that I'm 29 years old, I miss him, yet I never met him. I didn't realize this until yesterday when I found myself talking with my supervisor at my summer job about my dreams. He's held me accountable for my having not gotten anywhere. Whenever I had an excuse for not going to networking events, for not hustling my books, for allowing to let life get in the way, etc. he'd ask me why. Then he'd go on to explain why to take a different approach and how to overcome my fears, and why it was beneficial to me. He also explained how life can pass you by just by being distracted by non-trivial things in life. I never got this kind of "don't give up" type of mentoring from my mom and grandma. They're strong women --RIP grandma-- and they mean well, but in their trying to steer me elsewhere with the well-intentioned "maybe your book isn't a best-seller and you should move on to something else that's more stable, it isn't your fault" talks for example, I haven't felt the need to hold myself accountable. I could always blame external factors and they would agree and chime in with "yeah, sales is hard you should try something more steady." I've never been told, "Glenn, you're bullshitting! You haven't really tried."
Having my supervisor has made me realize that I miss my father even though I never met him. I miss having him fill in where women are generally deficient because they're trying to protect their son's ego; they're not trying to hurt his feelings. The women that I have been intimate with all shower me with praise and when I admit that many people on facebook haven't bought my book, they'll say something like "maybe its because they don't read" in trying to spare my feelings. It takes a more experienced man to say "okay Glenn, what have you done to sell your book? You had all this energy last year, what happened?" Men don't accept excuses from other men because we can't afford to be wreckless. So as he was asking me some hard questions that were uncomfortable answering, he encouraged me with some advice in moving forward, in reinventing myself, and getting the clutter out of my mind. See, we need our mothers to build us up, and we need our fathers to hold us accountable and be hard on us. Our men are very important people in mentoring us and too many of them are missing from our lives due to selfishness and petty bullshit and it becomes a vicious cycle. Men, parent your children because you rob our society every time you leave a mother to fend for herself to raise her child as a single father.