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It's Important For a Dad to be Present in Their Kids' Lives Today
What is a Father
In honor of Father's Day, I want to look at just how important fathers are to their children. Now mothers, this is in no way meant to take anything away from your very important role as a nurturer, protector, and caregiver, but I ascertain that father's have just as significant of a role in the lives of their children, and should understand and take their roles very seriously. Their children are counting on them.
How would you define a father? The dictionary has three initial definitions: (1) a male whose sperm unites with an egg resulting in the conception of a child, (2) a male who adopts a child, and (3) a man who raises a child. All of these definitions are very true, and for some families, unfortunately, the father's role stops with the first definition. According to the US Census Bureau from 2010, 23% of children lived with only their mother, 3% lived with only their father, and 4% lived with neither parent. So many of these children living with a single mother or neither parent did not have a father or a positive male role model available to them.
So what should the definition of a father be? A father should be a protector and provider. Someone a child can look up to. Someone that can provide a positive model for young boys of the type of man that they should grow to be, and someone that can provide for young girls the model of a man that they should look for in a future husband. This takes a man who is available and not absent, a man who is accepting and not condemning, and a man who is encouraging and not degrading. Being a father is not easy. It is a daily challenge, and so many men walk away from that challenge. It is a special man that accepts the challenge and allows a child to call him "Daddy".
Problems of Children With Absent Fathers
Here are some statistics regarding children and absent fathers:
- Children in father absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. According to Census bureau research (2002), 7.8% of children in 2 parent homes were living in poverty compared to 38.4% of children in female householder families.
- Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for unmarried mothers than for married mothers.
- In a longitudinal study of more than 10,000 families, it was found that children were more likely to have a burn or a bad accident.
- Even after controlling for income, youths from father absent households still had a higher rate of incarceration than those living with both parents. Those who never had a father had the highest rate.
- A 2002 Department of Justice survey revealed that of 7000 inmates, 39% lived in mother only households, 46% had a previously incarcerated family member, and 1/5th had a father in jail.
- A study of 109 juvenile offenders showed that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
- A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single mother household and 16% grew up without either parent.
- Even controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children/teens that grow up without their mother and father.
- Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where neither partner has a high school degree.
- Living in a single parent home doubles the risk of a child suffering physical, emotional, or educational abuse or neglect.
- Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school and are more likely to repeat a grade.
There are so many more statistics available in so many other areas. This is not to say that children from single parent homes can not succeed or that single mothers can not raise successful chlldren. These statistics just show how important it is for fathers to understand why they need to be involved in the lives of their children. This is also not to say that a divorce situation is bad on a child in and of itself. If the father remains actively involved with his children, his children will benefit from having their father.
What My Children Have To Say About Their Daddy
Here's my chance to honor my husband as a wonderful "Daddy" to our three children. He is youth director, soccer coach, school speaker at times, basketball coach, all sport spectator, board game player, and so much more. He shows our children that a man can help in the house while also loving his own hobbies like fishing. He is loving but firm, encouraging but expecting, and respectful while requiring respect.
I asked my children to tell or write down some things that they love about their Dad or reasons why they are thankful that their Dad is in their lives. Here's what they had to say:
Aaron, our 15 year old son, said that his Dad is encouraging and loving. "We learn together, we fish together, and we joke and play around."
"Dear Daddy, You are the best Dad in the whole universe! You encourage me a lot and give me tips. I learn many new things from you. You give me hugs. You are VERY sweet. Most of all, you love us with your whole heart. Daddy, I could never ask for a better Dad than you because you have all the characteristics that a dad should have. I love you sooooooooooooo much. You raise us in the right way. Thank you for that. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo. Love, Alyssa" (12)
Aubrey, 6, said that she loves fishing with her Daddy and loves him, "bkus he is mi Dad". She said that she loves when he reads to her, coaches her soccer, and plays with her. She ended by saying, "I love my Daddy".
My Poem to My Husband
Years ago for Father's Day, I wrote this poem to my husband, and I thought I'd include it here for other fathers as well. Children watch their parents, so the challenge is to decide how to live and what they will see.
Daddy's Prayer **
Oh Lord I'm overwhelmed at this task laid out for me
You've placed these young ones in my care, so I'm down upon my knee
As I look into their faces, their eyes so big and bright,
I know I have to teach them, to be their guiding light.
They run to me with outstretched arms in search of shelter from their fears.
When they fall down they need my love, my hands to wipe their tears.
Oh Lord I'm scared of failing, of doing things all wrong.
But Lord you know my thoughts and fears, you've known them all along.
So Jesus give me wisdom, guide me through each day.
Help me be their Daddy, Lord to you I pray.
(**May not be used without permission of author except within article in it's entirety)