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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
I was praying and sidewalk counseling outside of Planned Parenthood. A couple pulled into the parking lot and stayed in their car. We prayed they’d leave. They got out and started loudly arguing. I made all kinds of judgments on the man. He had long dreadlocks, a macramé cap, baggy, drooping pants, and tattoos. All I could think was, "What a thug this guy is for pushing her to kill their child." I was happy she was yelling . . . until she angrily strode over and slammed into the building. Imagine my surprise when he came over and asked me if I would pray for him and their child.
Dwayne told me he'd been trying to talk his girlfriend out of killing their baby for weeks but her mother said she had to kill the child. He said he'd agreed to drive, hoping he could still change her mind on the way. He said he'd succeeded, until her mother called and told her he was never going to be able to support a child and she needed to "get rid of it." He asked me, tears streaming down his cheeks, "How do they know I won't ever be able to support a child? They don't know that. I could be rich someday. I could own my own business. How do they know I won't be able to take care of my own baby?"
It was heartbreaking and the opposite of what I’d thought. We held hands, bowed our heads and prayed. Then he agreed to try one more time. He said he’d tell her he loved her and would take care of them. We hugged and said we'd cover him in prayer. He went in, then came out, alone, looked over, shook his head too choked up to speak, tears falling again. He looked down, walked to his car, got in and waited. I told him we loved him, were so sorry and were praying for them.
I worried about what he’d do later that night and was angry with the mother, grandmother and others. They not only didn’t believe in him but weren't giving him a chance. The low expectations and verbal abuse could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought, “I bet that same grandmother blames society for holding young black men down.”
I thought of my own son, around the same age. He’d left college and was working while trying to find a new path. When people asked me about him, I'd say,
"He's not sure what he’s going to do but he's a great guy, smart and a hard worker. We know whatever he decides to do he'll be successful at." Juxtapose
those two. One being told he was worthless and would never be able to support a child and one being told whatever he did, his family knew he'd do well
I thought, “If this happened to my son or his friends, they’d be expected to step up.” People thrive when challenged especially when it's for their children, not just themselves. It's sad to see young men raised around people who don't believe in them. How hard that must be to be told you’re not good enough. I made the decision to never again judge like I did Dwayne or assume fathers were driving the killing.
It's wrong to demonize men at abortion clinics. Yes, some do drive the decision to abort, but many feel, and are often told, they have no say. The mothers and others expect them to not stay around or have lasting relationships as husbands and fathers.
Many people hope I'll say the mother changed her mind but she didn't that day. Thankfully, there are ones who do walk out. Three saved baby girls turned a year this year. The parents are so happy. Those moments of joy make the hard moments like this tolerable.Since that day, many of my saves have been through fathers. You talk and pray, and they find out they have a say. They want their child and the opportunity to step up. Often, it’s as simple as the father telling the mother he loves her and will support her. The families I’ve kept in touch with are thriving and thankful for their living children.
Lost fatherhood needs more discussion. Many are not expected or allowed to take roles in families. The disrespect and disregard for men, of all colors, has hit a crisis point.
Couples who marry and have families make more money and are happier. Why is our society pushing them to kill their children, destroy their relationships and live as childless singles? What can we do to get the message out that they will be better if they trust their hearts and do not listen to those who set limits on them, hold them down and keep them from thriving?
Submitted by JH.