STRATEGY # 2
An hour long broadcast of the show NATURE, titled “The Nature of Sex.” This show looks at how different animals raise “Young Ones”, examining the varying responsibilities of male and female parents raising their offspring to maturity. Included: jacanas, a bird species whose males each raise a clutch (a nest. of eggs). This should provide a starting point for a discussion of parents, and especially fathers’ responsibilities.
A court case -involving a custody battle in Tennessee will be one of the cases we will use. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled unwed fathers should have priority over adoptive parents in the custody of a child, clearing the way for a young Black man to get the 3-year-old son he has sought to raise since birth. (Moore. April 4, 1994 , 27)
Using the basic facts of this case (as well as some fictitious information) the students will debate the opposing sides. As a result they will be able to understand the verdict.
Stanlev vs. Illinois (1972) a case in which the state attempts to take illegitimate children away from their natural father after their mother died. The mother and father had lived together irregularly for about 50 years. When the mother died Illinois law stated that the children became wards of the state. The father contested the state’s premise that unwed fathers are basically unfit, and not subject to the same procedures given to married fathers or unwed mothers (a hearing would have been held to determine the parent’s fitness before children would have been taken).
Caban vs. Mohammed
, (1970) a case in which a father had established a continuous supportive relationship with his children. The courts agreed and ruled in favor of the father.
These two cases illustrate for the students the necessity and obligation of fathers to actively maintain a relationship with their children regardless of the marital status of the parents.
Using the facts in these two cases the students will Conduct “mock trials” with the teacher as the judge.
Quilloin vs. Walcott, (1978) is a case in which the courts terminated the parental rights of a father who had not established a relationship with his children, yet sought to block a step-father from adopting them. The state sought to preserve an ongoing family unit therefore ruled against the natural father.
Lehr vs. Robertson
, (1989) a case in which the courts terminated the parental rights of a father who had rarely seen his daughter since her birth, were terminated without notice. The courts made it clear that an unwed father does not have an absolute right to notice.
These two cases illustrate to the students their obligation to any children they might have as far as their legal responsibilities. and therefore the rights that go along with them.
These cases also will be used as basis for “mock trials”, and discussions of the similarities and differences of the four cases.
As the final lesson for this section I plan to use several quotations from EBONY magazine from an article entitled “FATHER TO SON”. (June 1993) The article appeared close to Father’s Day and it was an attempt. to get some fatherly advice from several prominent men from the African-American community. (The quotes as presented here are abbreviated. It is recommended that the teacher obtain the complete quote as the messages are very powerful.) Each quote should be presented to the students with some discussion to follow. At. this point the students can individually (or in groups) assess each statement and rate them. They can then write a brief explanation for their choice.
The students can then write their own paragraph containing advice they would give to their sons.
- Attorney General State of Illinois. “You must set goals; you must think about how the future will turn out for those who dare to dream.”
- Entertainer. “I want you to remember that when you were born you were as intelligent and anxious to learn as any one your age.”
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson
Dr. W.W. Herenton
- Mayor Memphis, Tennessee.
“As the seed of a past and present generation, son, you will be fared with obstacles. However, I hope that. my words will help guide you in the challenges you face and the choices yon will make in life.”
- President, Rainbow Coalition Shadow Senator, D.C. “Now that I have blazed some trails, you must take advantage of the new pathways that have been established. My son knocking down those walls were my burdens. Remember, my son, scaling those mountains were the burdens of my generation. Seizing the valleys beyond those mountains is your challenge and opportunity. Reflect on those things.”
- Chairman Emeritus Inner City Broadcasting. “No matter your circumstances you must live the consequences of your choices.”
- Governor Commonwealth of Virginia. “Taking a wife and beginning a family are the greatest responsibilities a man can accept. Making sure that you can provide for this family must be your highest priority.”