Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fathers: An Endangered Species?

Father's Day is tomorrow and being a father of three daughters, I tend to get a bit reflective this time of year. All of my girls are pretty much "grown up" now. My youngest daughter is a freshman in college. My middle daughter is married and recently made me a grandfather. My oldest daughter graduated college several years ago and now teaches music in a suburb of Atlanta.

For good or bad the bare necessities of my "job" as Dad is over. This is the time where we don't see each other as often as we used to for a variety of reasons. Each of us can take credit for that. The girls for being too busy to spend a lot of time with the "old man". Myself for not wanting to "intrude" too much into their lives and give them the freedom and independence that they want and they deserve.

Hopefully, they know that I'm here if they need me. I try to make sure of that, but I always wonder if I'm doing enough. I suppose that's healthy and if I didn't question myself on the issue, that would say more about me as a Father than I'd care to admit.

When I look at American society today and the various social problems that exist, many of them can be tied to the near "extinction" of father's and their perceived importance in American culture. If you listen to liberal feminists like Gloria Steinem, Maureen Dowd and the like, you'd be convinced that men as a whole are of little use.

Sadly, even the Federal Government, because of the policies of Lyndon Johnson and his "Great Society" have encouraged the demise of fathers in our culture. For it's the Federal Government itself that has become "father" to many children as more and more women opt not to marry the father of their children. Unwed births are at an all-time high. What was once seen as a embarrassment, even a disgrace is now perfectly acceptable in today's world and that's truly sad.

It's sad for a number of reasons. It's a statistical fact that the majority of teenage runaways, suicides, violent criminal offenders, etc. are all from families without fathers. Whether the feminists like it or not, fathers ARE important and the mere presence of a father in the home brings more than a paycheck to the family unit. It brings love, compassion, discipline and the feeling of safety into the home.

We could solve or at least improve a whole host of social ills by doing simply one thing. Somehow making certain that more fathers are in the home. As a father of divorce myself, I realize that had my first wife and I been able to work things out, it would have been much better for my daughters. They've turned out fine I suppose, but I often wonder at what price? I missed out on a lot with my girls and they with me. For me to think otherwise would be foolish and I guess I'll always regret the time lost to all of us.

So, on this Father's Day my wish is a simple one. A simple wish, that unfortunately isn't easily granted. I wish simply that Father's be removed from the endangered species list and that their numbers would increase ten fold over the next few years. If that could happen, there would be a rebirth of family in this country that is sorely needed. The times we live in are difficult and ever changing. It would be nice to have "Dad" around more to help all of us through them.