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COMMUNITY VOICE

Many mothers do well alone; many fathers should not be in the home

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 12:01 am

Generally, I support Kevin Leininger’s position that the father of a child should play a great role in raising and supporting that child. However, I object to his implications that females of any race are unable to raise the child as a single parent.

In his long column (May 11), he gives only one short sentence to the possibility that this may occur. That sole sentence in part reads, “Some children born to single mothers grow into happy …,” etc. In addition, unless misquoted by Leininger, Dr. (Deborah) McMahan disagrees with any possibility that some children may be better off without their father. How naive!

I have two purposes for this letter and one is to defend the thousands of single parents who have successfully raised happy and productive children. We live in southeast Fort Wayne in a very racially mixed neighborhood. On both sides of our residence and across the street are single mothers who have raised their children to become successful adult citizens within our society.

Our entire addition has many more examples of such successes, and, of course, like families all across society, there are also one or two exceptions within a successful family. I can also remember the time when several fathers were abusive and negative influences upon their children. Both were affluent white businessmen who long ago fled to the white suburbs.

Recently was Military Spouses Day, and I can’t help but think about how they must feel about Leininger’s doom-and-gloom portrayal, which would imply that their children must be a problem because their father was absent serving multiple deployments. My daughter was in that situation, and I can tell you that she did a great job raising our grandson in a city far from Fort Wayne.

A short paragraph about the contention that the father should always be in the home. I suggest that Dr. McMahan leave her clinic and either ride the streets of Fort Wayne as a medic or at least volunteer time in the St. Joseph Hospital emergency room. There she will see the effects of fathers who should not be in the home but in prison. My most memorable father was the one who doused his son’s penis with lighter fluid and set him on fire because the 3-year-old had wet the bed.

The second point I want to make is that I also observe that the minority who are involved in street violence have also been raised in a culture of scofflaws. I travel, attend the YMCA, shop and use restaurants in the area noted for gang violence. I can’t help but notice that these violent types of persons also willingly and knowingly create annoyances that are often minor infractions of the law or common courtesy.

They include loud music, littering, graffiti, parking in handicap spaces, using handicap facilities, loudly using profanity, throwing trash at passing cars, playing basketball at 2 a.m., etc. Now with that said, I must also tell you that the majority of the citizens in that area are among the friendliest, most respectful and helpful people in Fort Wayne, regardless of race, sex or age.

What needs to be done and actually could be done? Certainly the shame idea isn’t going to work unless the local religious leaders step up and take on the challenge of visiting homes where outrageous behavior originates. It also takes the black community to realize that being a snitch is a good thing and that it is not honorable to remain quiet. I don’t have much hope for that one. The police must increase saturation patrols to enforce good living standards and accept no breach of law. The feds need to take over the drug and gang investigations to overcome the timidity of our local prosecutor to back up our city’s vice and drug squads. The NAACP and local ministers should embrace such increased enforcement and not threaten the city or the police chief with frivolous lawsuits.

Welfare must become workfare following Bill Clinton’s attempt at changing that culture. If nothing else, assigning blocks for weekly litter cleanup and graffiti removal would be a good start. No welfare unless the job gets done. Get rid of the staffs who suggest that someone makes too much money and should quit their job to qualify for certain benefits, such as day care.

Section 8 housing? To use that housing, the individual should be assigned tasks within the housing, such as lawn cleanup, floor sweeping, etc.

Yes, Kevin, there are many mothers who fall way outside your implication that single mothers can’t do the job. There are also fathers who don’t belong in the family and shouldn’t be fathers. Also, there are ways to begin the fight to restore our community to better conditions, and none are expensive or ludicrously impractical, such as the Ozzie-and-Harriet wishful thinking portrayed in your column.

Richard (Dick) Loney is a resident of Fort Wayne.