A Good Reminder to Daddies

A blog post from Miscellanies a few days ago consider an interview with Michael Card and Marvin Olansky of World Magazine.

The part of the interview that Tony Reinke from Miscellanies highlights goes thus:

Q: You mentioned somewhere that as a small boy you saw very little of your father. He came home from practice, closed himself in his study, and you would push drawings and other things under his door to try to get his attention. Did it work? No, it didn’t, actually. I wrote a song called “Underneath the Door.” I grew up eating supper at 8 o’clock because my mom would wait for my dad. In those days when the father would come home the kids would come to the door and greet him. My kids don’t do that with me; they just sort of look up from their video games and say, “Oh, you’re home.”

Q: You were the designated dad-bringer. My family would always send me to go get my dad, and I had to get his attention somehow, because he was locked away in his study. But he was a phenomenal person, my father. The older I get the more I appreciate him. He was a good man.

Q: That sounds frustrating. It was frustrating. One of my major themes is that you are not your gift, and my father thought he was his gift. He thought that medicine was all he was, so when he was forced to retire he died a few months later. He could not imagine living without being a doctor.

When reading this my mind immediately went to another song, not Card’s but by Harry Chapin, which is one of the saddest songs I know in its depiction of dysfunctional family life.

Now consider these statistics I read in an article entitled “Father Hunger” – Why Children Need a Dad from Kairos Journal Daddies:

  • In 1995, only 35 percent of children lived with their father. Furthermore, somewhere between one quarter and one half of all children never (or almost never) see their biological fathers. [See Paul R. Amato and Julie M. Sobolewski, “The Effects of Divorce on Fathers and Children: Nonresidential Fathers and Stepfathers,” in The Role of the Father in Child Development, ed. Michael E. Lamb (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2004), 341, 342, 348. Judith Trowell, “Setting the Scene,” in The Importance of Fathers: A Psychoanalytic Re-evaluation, eds. Judith Trowell and Alicia Etchegoyen (New York: Taylor & Francis, Inc., 2002), 17. and David Popenoe, Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence that Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), 5].
  • The presence of a biological father, married to a mother, dramatically improves the well-being of children and society. [Sara McLanahan, “Growing Up without a Father,” in Lost Fathers: The Politics of Fatherlessness in America, ed. Cynthia R. Daniels (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), 91]
  • Fathers protect their children; reports of child abuse—physical and sexual—have increased with the rise in fatherlessness. [Popenoe, Ibid., 66-73]
  • Fathers stem violence: “Sixty percent of America’s rapists, 72 percent of adolescent murderers, and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates come from fatherless homes.” [Ibid., 63, 146,  148-149.]
  • Fathers contribute to their children’s academic success; fatherless kids are twice as likely to drop out of high school. [McLanahan, “Growing Up without a Father,” 86]
  • Fathers deter teenage pregnancy; girls are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant if they lack a father’s daily contribution. [Ibid.]
  • Additional research bolsters the claim that little boys and girls need Dad. [Popenoe, Ibid., 144, 146]

Remember guys that you can be emotionally and mentally absent. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your physical presence is enough.  I think I might go kite flying today with the ladies!

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