Father’s Day is this Sunday. I am a father. I have a daughter and lost a son. I know that fatherhood can be joyous or bewildering or even painful.
If you are lucky enough to have your children with you this Sunday, perhaps your girl or boy will give you a hand-sculpted turtle that can be mistaken for a variety of animals. Yet, to you, this is the best art in the world.
Or, the token of mutual love you receive might be a perfect set of cuff links that your now grown-up little girl picked out—without “borrowing” the money from you!
But the essence of fatherhood is really about giving “gifts” to our children. The two greatest gifts we can give to our children are to love them and to bring them up in the nurturance and admonition of the Lord.
Today, there is a crisis of fatherhood in America: Unmarried women now account for 41 percent of all births. The majority of homeless kids, high school dropouts, and youth suicides all come from fatherless homes.
“Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.”
Only do the ignorant or ideologically blind see this as empowering or as progress.
So I, for one, have no interest in letting the self-anointed social progressives in the government usurp my role as father to ‘train up my child in the way he should go.’
Throw-away marriage, cohabitation, and teaching our children to divide sex from marriage—“absolved” by contraception and “resolved” by abortion-on-demand—do not prepare our children to be loving fathers and mothers.
Neither are fathers and mothers just swappable parental units—two of one or the other is not a substitute for a father and a mother. Low income or high income, educated or uneducated, fathers are not irrelevant.
Current research bears out what we already know from millennia of tradition, common sense, and faith: The impact of fathers is far more than just a second adult in the home.
A father who has a good relationship with the mother is more likely to be involved, resulting in psychologically and emotionally healthier children. A father’s involvement has a major impact on the child’s cognitive ability and academic achievement. That same relationship enhances the mother’s relationship with her children, thus contributing to their overall well-being.
Children who have good relationships with their fathers are less likely to suffer from depression or have behavioral problems. They are more likely to avoid drugs, exhibit self-control, be physically healthy, and have higher self-esteem.
Fathers bring positive benefits to their children like no other person. The presence of males and fathers in the lives of children is essential to their emotional, social, educational, and physical development.
So, please, enough with the silver-tongued politically correct euphemisms like alternative, modern, and non-traditional family. The social assault on fathers and the progressive experiment on the family is an abysmal failure.
A father’s love protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and, yes, sometimes even fails. Fortunately, fatherhood does not require perfection. It does, however, require courage and commitment.
This year, let’s not just celebrate Father’s Day. Let’s stand for fatherhood.
Paul E. Rondeau is executive director at American Life League, the nation’s oldest Catholic pro-life education and advocacy group.