Sunday June 19 is Father’s day. One might expect a website such as this to extol the virtues of calling Pop and thanking him for all those years of work that it took to help you become the man you are today. Why, after all if he hadn’t taught you to catch/ride a bike/fish you could never have become the man you are today, right?
Yeah, right. Hey, if you grew up in a traditional family with two parents and your Dad was around to do all those things with you, you had better be phoning him and thanking him for everything he helped you to become. But what about everybody else in the country?
A 1993 census shows that from 27 to 66 percent of children in this country (depending on race) grow up without a father present in the home. That means that most of those kids never get taught by their father any of the valuable life skills that other people have the advantage of. So what? Well, research shows that:
60% of America’s rapists came from homes without dads.
72 percent of adolescent murderers grew up without a father.
70% of long-term prison inmates came from homes without dads.
*source: “Life without Father,” copyright 1996 by David Popenoe.
Fathers teach children to catch, play ball and ride bikes. They also teach respect, consequences, and responsibility. Being a father and a man means a lot more than donating a few million sperm and walking out the door. Fathers teach daughters how to be treated by a man, and teach sons how to treat women.
So if you fall into the demographic who was raised without a father, I ask you to do this on Father’s Day. Take some stock of your life. Who in your life filled that role to you? A close friend’s dad? A friend? A teacher? It would be a nice thing to make mention of it to them, and what better day than Fathers day? You can be shy about it. You don’t have to send them flowers or a card. But a casual phone call can go a long way.
Have kids of your own? Make damn sure you are there for them, instead of always worrying about the latest problem at work or running around with your secretary/new girlfriend/whomever. Think about all the things you missed when you were growing up and be damn sure you provide those things to your children before it’s too late. If you are divorced take the extra effort to stay involved in your children’s life. It can be very difficult, especially if you don’t have custody of them as is so often the case today. However, you must TRY. Your presence in their life is more valuable than you can ever know and you must do your best to provide it to them.
Father’s day is not about a Hallmark card and a cold beer. Some Dad’s really deserve Father’s day, and some don’t. Make sure that once your kids are grown you deserve it.