Fathers play such an important role in the life of their children. They are more than biological donors of genetic material. Although a father’s role is usually very different than a mother’s role in the family, it is very important.
Fathers provide a sense of safety for children. I remember when I was a little girl looking up at my dad and thinking he was the strongest daddy in the world. I could only wrap my fingers around one of his and I remembered seeing him pick up a cane bottomed chair with his grandmother sitting in it and carrying her across a footbridge and down a path to his dad’s house. She might have been a little woman, but that image never left me.
Fathers’ traditional role was to be the provider. He provided the work for cash that kept the family going. He provided the work needed to keep the house repaired and the machinery running. He took care of livestock. He fixed things that needed mending. He was the head of the household and not only made the big decisions, but also took responsibility for them. He protected his family from the world.
I realize I am incredibly blessed at my age to still have both of my parents alive and healthy for their ages, who celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. I appreciate both of my parents. My dad, Ernest Hensley, was the kind of father I described who always tried to provide for us and be a good dad.
Statistics show the powerful impact a father has in the home. Children raised in a home without a dad tend to get into more trouble, end up in jail more often, and have more emotional issues than those with a dad in the home. To verify this belief, I looked on the internet and found a site called The Fatherless Generation.
According to this information, 63 percent of suicides amount youth happen in fatherless homes. Homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes 90 percent of the time. Children with behavior disorders come from homes without a father 85 percent of the time. Rapists with anger issues are 80 percent likely to come from homes missing a father. High school dropout rates include 71 percent coming from fatherless homes. The list goes on and on.
Even children of divorce do much better in life when their father is actively involved in their upbringing. In an age where divorce is such a strong factor, it is important to value the role of a father in a child’s life inside the home or out.
Mothers often work outside the home just to help ends meet. With mother and father both working, it is even more important to make sure that each parent plays a healthy role in the life of children. When parents are home, they are often caught up in the idea that their children should be shuttled about from one social activity to another. These include church activities, sports events, practices, parties, school functions, and hanging out with friends.
I don’t know who came up with the idea that children have to have a social calendar packed full of activities outside the home, but this philosophy has made a mess of our culture. Children often spend less actual time with parents than anybody in their life. This trend is devastating.
Parents who ignore their children, abuse them, or shuffle them off to relatives instead of parenting them usually reap the reward of their mistakes later in the child’s life. No matter what job a parent holds, money, position, or power, there is nothing more important than being a good parent.
To every dad, good or bad, it is never too late to invest time in the development of your offspring. Fathers make a difference in the lives of their children that follow them for the rest of their lives.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.