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Jun-16-2011 18:19printcomments

The I-HATE-MY-FATHER Generation

Walking the tight rope of moral uprightness is a huge challenge these days.

Author Richard Arina
Author Richard Arina, is with A Child Unheard Foundation

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - There is a generation in Africa and beyond that is utterly confused. Of course the word “confused” has a power to evoke some really strong feelings or reactions. But the confusion here is not of this generation’s own making - at least according to the way they look at things. It is their fathers’ fault that they are confused, or so they say and that’s the sad part about the so-called fatherless generation.

Yes, they are really not that far off the mark, considering the fact that their fathers were largely absent in every sense during their formative years. This is an absence that came at a hefty price later on in their lives due to lack of mentorship, guidance and love from seriously committed fathers to their children.

Much of this generation had fathers that were not available to provide the guiding light when their young ones were still just groping about in the maze of life as they fought to rid themselves of diapers to explore life beyond the comfort of their mothers’ bosoms. To them, there were no fathers in sight to tell them the plain truth about what is acceptable and what is not. As a result, schools and the negative portrayals on television were sought out by these children to fill the void and guidance they so desperately sought.

Sadly, there are many people who have grown up without their fathers and so they missed out on a very crucial stage of their emotional development that is too hard to recover in one’s adult life. Men who are prone to philandering could have been exposed to philandering habits of their own parents, some of whom left home in a hush to be with their mistresses allowing their children to witness this questionable behavior toward the women in their lives.

Their ‘heroes’ just taught them something by observation that subliminally got stuck in their psyches, making them convinced that whatever they saw was an acceptable norm of the “wise” sages that all adults are to their young kids.

But let’s not veer off the mark here. Walking the tight rope of moral uprightness is a huge challenge these days. After all, we are all fallible humans who are prone to err anyway.

But being a parent worth the venerable role also requires some responsibilities on adults’ part. Working with many youths, the problem of fatherhood has become so common it has failed the test of what is not deemed a cliché. Answers to these questions when posed to fathers who walked away from their wives and children never come in the usual Q&A format this young generation is so accustomed to. On the contrary, the answers provided by the parents normally breed more confusion that the young ones are left buried in even more confusion than ever before. And that’s where the whole concept of life in its ideal form gets lost in translation.

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When this happens, the world is bequeathed a generation that is intellectually healthy, in some cases, but emotionally challenged to the extent that the word intimacy is now only understood in the context of music videos with semi-clad young ladies “leaving little to the imagination.”

It is little wonder that the more mature adults see the younger generation as lost and confused. Such adults seem clueless that this could be a way these young people get themselves a fix (through addictive behaviours) to let off a steam following the raging battles within.

This could be their young one’s way of getting some outlet to the anger and frustrations they feel and whose remedy seem to be nowhere in sight, even if they experiment with substance abuse, sexual escapades and to the privileged few, the most expensive cars and army of women and men swooning and cooing at everything they do. Of course, much of that fantastic life is a dream to most who are deluded to think that such fleeting pleasures can fill the yawning spiritual and emotional void within them.

After failing to find any thrill in life’s endless pleasures, they retreat to their shells of self-deprecating bitterness which mutate into anger towards the father who was never there and “mothers who married wrong men” who turned into their fathers.

The chain of blame game continues and with it comes more experimentation with life through destructive indulgences. To this generation, the father is always bad, regardless of the fact that he could have been a victim of a long list of casualties that have fallen from the family tree and whose reproductive line is as dangerous a landmine of confused, embittered, reclusive and reckless young people who are hardly ready to face the challenges of the future.

It is the difference between emotional, spiritual and intellectual development that is responsible for the many tragically strange behavioural aspects of young people who are desperate to self-medicate through behaviours that fall way off the mark in terms of what we all would like the future global leaders and citizens to be.

Positive role models are in short supply these days. Men don’t know what to do perhaps because no one taught them right from wrong. They don’t even know what or who defines the right from wrong.

Stranger than fiction Order Now

That is why society’s moral compass has been skewed.

The moral conscience has been muzzled by the murky reality of amorphous and directionless existence. Parenting is now a duty relegated to the media personalities who are themselves very uncomfortable in their own skins, struggling with one divorces too many and yet they are the ones looked at as role models by young men and women of this generation who are desperate for glamorous side of life at the expense of all.

Undoubtedly, people who make bad decisions are not necessarily bad, their repetitive social, emotional and physical faux pas notwithstanding. Their bad decisions just expose the deep-seated need for intimate connections and the fear to reveal their vulnerability to the entire admiring audience who buy into the veneer of self confidence – for some.

An emotionally developed individual is able to check themselves not only against self-destructive behavioural choices but also of others. That’s one aspect humanitarian agencies can help chip into to address the psychological aspect of needy children and youth, especially in the less developed parts of the world where such relief and humanitarian agencies operate.

Otherwise we shall have a situation where emotional decision-making play a preponderant role in individual’s actions, thus leading to other avoidable destructive behaviours. Is that the world we want to bequeath to the next generation?


The writer, Author Richard Arina, is in charge of publicity at A Child Unheard Foundation. For more information, contact the group at: or visit the website:


Submitted by: Jennifer Fierberg, MSW; a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer is also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village (

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