Maury Povich - You are the fatherNo it’s not a way to cheat the Maury Show with that woman you laid down with and KNEW you should have kept it zipped up. It’s not even about DNA. The true test of paternity comes in everyday life. It starts with the first eighteen years that God affords you and extends beyond there if you are lucky. Now in great Letterman style; HERE IS THE TOP TEN WAYS TO FAIL A PATERNITY TEST:

10) LET THE MEDIA RAISE YOUR CHILD: The media is a tool like any other. It’s purpose is decided by the person who cradles it in their hand. And like any weapon, it comes in many many forms (music, visual art, theatrical, and news).But we must act as a prophylactic. Everything in the world is not safe for your child to ingest. Just as you keep the candy away to keep tummy aches at bay, so must you keep the Lil’Wayne’s “Every Girl” and the Cnn “Urban Terrorist” away for they may stunt your child’s growth.  Are you raising the next Kardashian clan? Only to have your princess to announce her divorce in a record setting 73 days? Mo’ Kelly so approrpiately said “The divorce of Kim Kardashian is not relevant in a news sense, but it is a fitting moment to remind one-another of what it truly means to be a lady, “first” or otherwise.”

9) INSTILL FEAR AND DASH HOPE: Ok, so you come to this world believing in any and everything. Santa brings free toys just for being good, Easter bunny brings baskets and eggs, the Tooth Fairy pays you for your teeth. You believe until you are taught to not. Knowledge you gained was to the contrary of your initial beliefs. You may even have a felt a twinge of disappointment. But, I think that God keenly instills the state of hope and innocent belief in children. This must be guarded. Ok, so you wanted to be a pro-athlete and you didn’t make it for any number of reasons or circumstances. But you must guard your child’s right to believe and hope. It is one of their best resources. I child that believes that anything is possible is armed with the audacity of hope.

8)DO NOT ADVOCATE FOR THEM: Your child’s first advocate must not be an attorney in their first court case as a defendant. You must learn how to fight for your children from day one. There will be forces throughout your child’s life whether it be the institution that is responsible for teaching your child that deems them “unteachable and inferior” or the media that says “he is an urban terrorist”. You must be the force that instills value in them by saying with your actions, YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. Kids who lack an advocate in their childhood, grow to be adults who don’t know how to advocate for themselves.

7) VALUE MATERIAL THINGS MORE THAN YOUR CHILD: Do you work hard in you career to afford your child that vacation to the exotic place that the Jones and James went to? Are you working overtime to give your kid those $200 shoes even though the $50 shoes cover his feet just as well? If money and material wealth is your MAIN focus, you may be telling your child that those things trump time spent with them. What messages are you sending to your child about what is important.

6) FAIL TO PROTECT: We have a duty to protect our children. And while we live in a world where fear has broken bonds of communities to the point we don’t know our neighbor. We still have a duty to protect our children from hurt and harm. We need to screen the individuals that we allow in our children’s lives in ANY CAPACITY. The same way that we shield our children from other harmful environmental agents, we need to screen people, places and things to make sure they healthy choices for our children. It goes well beyond the Chester Molester, often it may mean exiling people, avoiding places and doing away with things (alcohol, drugs).

5) NOT SHARING YOUR STORY: It used to be that a key to a civilizations future was how well they communicated their history to each generation. There is so much to be said about oral historians in any community. Your story of how you became who you are (warts and all) is your responsibility as a father. In communicating where you have been, the roads taken and those not taken can help provide your child with a human GPS system. They learn landmarks vicariously through your experience. While being careful not to them to learn and respect life lessons, choices and consequences without having to experience them first-hand. Knowing how we arrived at a certain point is there difference in whether we come back again or not. I am learning to be more open with my testimony as I see modeled by people I admire.

4) ABUSE THEIR MOTHER: Want to communicate to a child their lack of worth, abuse their mother. Any child identifies their mother as their inception point. Any time you demean their mother, you are indirectly demeaning that child. Children are simplistic in how they view the world and how they view themselves. Much of their childhood is spent seeing themselves as fifty percent their mother and fifty percent their father. They don’t gain a sense of individual identity until much later. If you even have harsh words to describe their mother, they internalize that. They feel you now have hatred for the half of them that is from that woman! By honoring all parts of them, including their mother, you instill worth in them.

3) ABUSE THEM: Your hand and your tongue are capable of love or violence. It communicates in a non-verbal fashion that which your heart harbors. If you love your child, love them with your tone, your words and your touch. Love is an action, a verb. And abuse can be just the opposite, the absence thereof. The easiest way to communicate to a child that they are unloved, unworthy of love is to abuse them. Abuse can come in many forms and can destroy a person from the very core.

2) REMOVE GOD FROM THEIR LIFE: God in your life in one form or another gives meaning to your life. You teach a child that a God had a purpose for their life, that loved them enough to create them. There sense of being was not happenstance. It gives them order and a moral compass. Giving your child a sense of God and themselves as a reflection of that God is the best preparation that you could give them for a healthy existence.

1) BE ABSENT: If you are not there, you have simply defaulted in item #2-10. If you are not there, none of the the previous points matter. DNA doesn’t matter, attendance does.