About a year after my divorce, I was at my lady friend’s house helping her prepare dinner. Her child was in the other room. That child’s father was across town, typical for non-custodial parents. That man was with his second wife, who lived with him and her child from her first marriage.

Meanwhile, my son spent most of his time at his mom’s house. She lived with her new boyfriend, who had a child from his previous relationship – who, of course, did not live with him. My brother lived 100 miles away, but by a court order, did not live with his daughter.

I don’t think God’s plan stipulated that children were supposed to live apart from their fathers – but this is what’s happening all over the world. So, I wrote a poem that I hope will raise awareness of this injustice, that I hope will make a change. I’ve shared it with dozens of periodicals,* several lawmakers, and a few presidents.‡ Now, I want to share it with you.

Children Who Belong to Other Men – by Don Mathis

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.

Adoption is one thing,
a court ruling is another.
It takes a child away
from his birth father.

Sometimes the daddy
of the mommy
will have the little baby
more often than the daddy.

Wednesdays and weekends
are not enough to see him,
not enough to know him,
not enough to show him
the meaning of his kin.

Or the child’s step-father
will have the step-daughter
more often than he ought to.

While the natural-born Dad
grows bitter and mad
that the little girl he had
is living with that man.

And then, there’s the ‘other.’
You know, Mom’s new lover.
How I envy his time
with that child of mine.

I want all you guys
to tell your wives
and the women in your lives
what may be a surprise:

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.

Give the kids a break.
Don’t hesitate.
Give some time to Daddy
before it’s too late.

A child without a father
is like an otter without water.

To reach their full potential
and self-actualise,
kids need their Daddy
and not some nearby guys.

The growth that comes
between a father and a son
is a two-way street;
it makes a life complete.

No one can love a daughter
like a birth father.
It can do no harm
to promote that bond.

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.

As a general rule
kids are at school
more often than
they’re in Dad’s hands.

Television by the hour
has the children in its power.
Or a drug is the drug of choice
rather than a father’s voice.

The streets will soon become
full of teenaged boys with guns.
And teenaged girls with babies
will wonder who are their kids’ daddies.

It takes more than
courage to raise good men.

How’s a girl supposed to know
if a boy is good enough
to be a father to her child
unless she had one while
she was growing up?

A good dad has values
that a boy can choose.
A bad role model
is difficult to follow.

A boy may holler,
“I don’t want to be like you!”
Either way,
they can have their say.

But what kind of influence
lies in father-absence?

When father-figures and nearby guys
are all they’ve known all their lives,
Is the consistency constantly there?
Do the kids know who really cares?

A Daddy does!
Not a seed supplier.
A Daddy does!
Not a pay provider.

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.

A boy may see his teacher,
a scout leader, or a preacher,
more often than he can see
his father’s family.

This is not right!
This is unjust!
Maybe okay for some
but not the rest of us.

I want all boyfriends
to tell all girlfriends,
and all second husbands
to tell all women:

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.

Some women cause such alienation
that the country is becoming
a father-less nation.

These women will deny
that there are fathers that cry
for their children
and they, for him.

These women may wish
they need a man like a fish
needs a bicycle.

They don’t realise
the men they criticise
to their children are essential.

They see nothing bad
for a child without a dad.
If Mom’s boyfriend at the time
is child-friendly, well, that’s fine.

But they have yet to discover
what the future will uncover:

There are too many men
raising up children
that belong to other men.


*A partial list of publications that featured “Children Who Belong to Other Men”:

‡ See below:

  • Response from President Barack Obama
  • Response from Joe Biden


Photo by RDNE Stock Project.


About the Author: Don Mathis

Don’s life revolves around the many poetry circles in South Texas. His poems have been published in a hundred periodicals and broadcasted on TV and radio. Don has written news and reviews for various media and countless editorials about fatherhood. His political correspondence has prompted personal replies from George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and numerous other lawmakers. Find his work in the Daily Dad, the Good Men Project, and many other publications.

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