The Simple Life

Fathers

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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, though I think fathers are often not as celebrated as mothers are on Mother’s Day. I personally find that a shame as I see the breakdown of the family, especially absentee fathers, as the single greatest problem of our society today.

There are so many groups, organizations and individuals who want to fight against poverty, for better education or to improve employment opportunity. The common element we should be fighting for is the family.

My own children are in a great minority – one that is often overlooked or forgotten, to the detriment of society. My children have a mom and dad living in the same house, still married to each other, who have never been married to any other. That’s more than even I can say.

Though my parents were married before they had me and remained married until my mother died of cancer, my dad had been previously married and had a daughter in that relationship. Having an older sister who lived with us only on certain weekends, holidays and a few weeks in the summer was confusing to me as a child.

But imagine a society in which divorce was a rarity and fathers didn’t abandon their children. What impact would that have?

Studies show children of two-parent households have a greater chance of escaping poverty. Family intactness is shown to increase high school and college graduation rates, even employment rates.

Living with both of one’s biological parents has been shown to result in more physically healthy children than those in broken homes and to positively impact the cognitive development of preschool children.

These are only a few of the benefits found linked to intact, two-parent families. This is in no way to disparage all the single moms who sacrifice so much for their children. It is, however, to encourage those fathers who have chosen to remain in the family.

Maybe if we quit looking at the absentee father as the norm and promoted fatherhood as the standard for manhood, striving to keep families together, we’d see fewer societal problems. Is it a cure-all? No.

However, if better health, improved educational opportunities and increased ability to find employment are only a few benefits; shouldn’t we work to see the role of fathers and the family unit restored?

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