Why fathers still matter

One third of American kids now live without their biological fathers. (encrier / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

One third of American kids now live without their biological fathers. (encrier / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

An excerpt from THIS article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-06-25/opinion/ct-oped-fathers-0625-20140625_1_father-single-moms-terry-crews

Take the sentence “there are some things only a mother can provide.” Does anyone disagree with that? You say “nurturing,” everyone nods. You say “unconditional love,” everyone nods.

But try saying that sentence about a father — as Crews did — and it’s as if you’re hammering people’s toes. “A father provides security,” you suggest? Oh come on, comes the response, as if a woman can’t? “A father provides discipline”? Don’t single moms keep kids in line? “A father provides a male role model.” So now you’re insulting gay couples?

Whew. When did it become so difficult to extol fatherhood? Perhaps when there became other agendas. An author of that 2010 study on lesbian parenting, for example, also has argued there is no need for marriage whatsoever. She also chided President Barack Obama, saying his emphasis on fathers’ importance was “dead wrong.” Even The New York Times in 2013 stirred debate — and presumably readers — by asking, “Do fathers bring anything unique to the table?”
But if they don’t, why does nearly every statistic on kids turn sour when fathers disappear? Youth suicides, five times higher than average. High school dropouts, nine times higher. Behavioral disorders, 20 times higher. Runaways and homeless children, 32 times higher.

Does none of that count?

We all recognize it’s a changing world. And I would not use this space to disparage single parents, or two men or two women raising children. But if it’s now insensitive to even question gay parenting, why does it ruffle no feathers to dismiss heterosexual dads? No one should be made to feel a traditional role is prehistoric thinking. That’s bullying of its own kind.

What does a father bring to the table? I can cite a few things I got from my own: Strength. Quiet confidence. Discipline. Responsibility. And love — all displayed differently than my mother, which was fine. My father also taught us how to be a husband, how to respect a woman, when to lead and when to support.

It’s true, not all men are like my dad. But plenty are. And fatherhood didn’t suddenly, after thousands of years, lose its value. It may be trendy to dismiss dads as little more than fertilizer, but it’s not true. In fact, it’s pretty foolish. Such is our world, where a comment like Crews’ brings a tsunami. Funny thing is, I remember someone from my childhood frequently saying, “He needs his father to do that.”

It was my mother.

Read the entire piece HERE

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