2016-06-15 / Editorials

Happy Father’s Day!

Historically, the role of the father shows changing expectations. In ancient times, as seen in the Bible and other sources, the father’s role was as the ultimate authority of the home, to be obeyed without question by all members. It is fairly consistent through more recent times, such as in the last century, during the Industrial Revolution, the father was the sole breadwinner bringing home the bacon without which all members would starve; stressed out, with no room for error, the father had to teach children quickly and sharply what was expected of them, as they may have ended up having to take up the mantle of breadwinner in tough conditions. Due to economic necessity, fathers were seen as the authority, brooking no opposition, and tasked with meting out punishment to transgressors.

The pendulum has swung a bit to the opposite extreme in more recent times, with portrayals of Dad as a pal and co-conspirator against the authority of “The Mommy,” and even as well-meaning but hapless and ineffectual comedic figures in popular culture. The pendulum swings yet again, landing more toward a balanced view of fathers as having the important role within families that we agree they do. Studies show that a responsible, strong fatherly presence within families keeps kids well-adjusted and out of trouble, showing much lower instances of drug use, teen pregnancy, greater educational attainment, better relationships, and resilience. Studies show children with fathers steadily in their lives even have a better vocabulary, because, as researchers reason, fathers, spending less time with young children, would be less familiar than mom of what words the kids already know, and so use more adult language. Another factor we think, can be due to children hearing adult conversation between the two most important people in their lives, often pertaining to the child’s life, if not directly about them and so keenly attracting children’s interest. For these reasons, the prevailing wisdom these days says to men: You do matter very much in the life of your children – so be an involved father; and to women: don’t shut the father out, respect his positions; and seek out other male influences if the father is not around for whatever reason. Many father figures have had profound positive effects on children, and they deserve credit as well, as good and caring uncles, godfathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, coaches, and Big Brothers.

Fathers that are no longer here we treasure in our hearts and keep the memories alive by telling our children about them, and remembering all they used to do for us each day of their lives, and the love they always gave us.

So to all the fathers out there, this Father’s Day, we send our appreciation and acknowledgement, and we salute you!

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