Job Opening: Father
The third Sunday in June. Set aside to celebrate fathers.
Honor them. Remember them. Thank them.
Fatherhood – Definitely worth celebrating.
Just over two weeks ago, my youngest son became a father. The person he was before ceased to exist and a new and improved version of himself came into being. A dad.
When a child is born so too is born a parent.
If you are a parent, you know all too well that parenting is the hardest yet most rewarding job you will ever undertake. You often feel overwhelmed and poorly equipped. Yet, along with the worries and frustrations are the joys of watching a tiny human grow and learn and become a unique and precious toddler, then child, youth, and finally an adult. As a grandparent, you get to watch that child become a parent.
Parenting is hard, but when fathers and mothers work together, parenting is easier and more successful. Mothers and fathers parent in unique and complementary ways, and children thrive best when they receive the daily involvement of two committed parents.
Fathers provide a unique kind of love and nurturing that prepares children for the future – they help build self-reliance, assertiveness, independence, healthy risk-taking, and adventure.
Fatherlessness makes children more vulnerable to poverty, abuse and neglect, behavioral problems, crime, gangs, drug abuse, school dropout, teen pregnancy, and suicide. (1, 2)
I recently came across a speech I gave 20 years ago to an annual WIC conference on the subject of supporting parents. It contained sobering statistics on fatherlessness and I wondered if the same numbers held true today. It was refreshing to learn that we have made progress on the fatherhood front in America. We have a long ways to go, but in 2020 there are more children benefiting from having their father in the home than at the turn of the Millennia. In 2000, 40% of children in America did not live with their father. Today it is 33%. (3) We can do even better.
Not only are more fathers living with their children today, they are more involved in parenting. In fact, the percentage of stay-at-home fathers has increased dramatically over the past two decades. (4) When a father is more involved with parenting, children and families are stronger, more resilient, and achieve better outcomes in education, physical and mental health, and overall development and well-being.
Want to make a difference for fatherhood?
Encourage and support the dads in your life.
Support father figures and male mentors.
Promote workplace initiatives that support fatherhood. Kudos to my son’s workplace, Eli Lilly, for 10 weeks of paid paternity leave.
Promote programs such as: The National Fatherhood Initiative: https://www.fatherhood.org/increase-father-involvement Supporting Father Involvement: http://supportingfatherinvolvementsfi.com/ Father Involvement Programs: https://www.nfpn.org/father-involvement/guide-to-father-inv Responsible Fatherhood grants: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/healthy-marriage/responsible-fatherhood
This Father’s Day let’s celebrate fatherhood and do what we can to support and strengthen the fathers in our families, communities, nation, and world. We will all benefit.
"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." ~ Billy Graham
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