EDITORIAL: Fathers and roles

By NEMS Daily Journal

Every journey begins with a first step. Krieg Pounds, 18, started one for himself and possibly the larger Tupelo community when he told an audience of 250 last week at St. Paul Outreach Center he was ready to make something of himself and change the way he’s been living.
Pounds’ response at a rally billed as “Real Men Need A Daddy Too” caused an outpouring of support across the age spectrum, a gratifying outcome for Harold Turrentine, better known as 94.9 FM on-air personality Harold T.
Three weeks before last Thursday’s event, Harold T told the Daily Journal on Tuesday, he had participated in a wrenching on-air conversation about a young man killing another young man at a Tupelo club.
Harold T said the tragic event reminded him of his own background fighting on the streets of Detroit – where his younger brother is still involved in the wrong kind of behavior. The homicide did not reflect the Tupelo he had made his home after a three-week revival he preached in 2006.
Turrentine believes that all men of all races need to be supportive of one another and provide especially for younger men the mentor/wise elder role that is inarguably absent in too many families everywhere. People of faith have called attention to the issue for decades, as have sociologists who chart the faltering status of nuclear families and their essential supporting, nurturing structures across the spectrum, but especially among black families.
A second rally of “Real Men Need A Daddy Too” is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16, likely at St. Paul, and an event for women is set for Feb. 24, also at 6:30 p.m.
Turrentine said he believes people of all races, economic classes and ethnicities must unite to address the issues of fathers, sons, families and nurture.
No major problems can be solved without addressing the basic issues with individuals, Turrentine said.
Mississippi has a huge, documented probable liability in the proportion of children living in single-parent families.
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health produced studies showing the baseline:
• 78 percent (176,621) of children in poor families live with a single parent;
• 31 percent (162,789) of children in not-poor families live with a single parent.
The single parent usually is a woman, with an absent (or perhaps part-time ) husband/partner/boyfriend.
Turrentine wants to address issues like that in Tupelo, and last week’s gathering strongly indicates there’s passion and concern enough to move forward in the community.