Dads

My daughter, Eden, posted this on her blog recently and I find myself going back to it, once in a while, for sheer enjoyment. It always makes me smile.

More and more, society seems to regard fatherhood as optional. 41% of childbirths in the U.S. occur outside marriage. In 2 of 3 of these births, the father is never legally identified. It is estimated that 36% of children in America live apart from their fathers. More than half of divorced fathers lose contact with their children within a few years. Ten years after divorce, as many as 2/3 of dads have drifted out of their children’s lives. A 1994 study showed men were more likely to default on a child-support payment (49%) than on a used-car payment (3%).

Kids need dads. Studies show that father-child one-on-one involvement, at least 3 times each week is associated with significantly higher levels of empathy and compassion in developing children and the adults they become. A positive relationship with dad may be the best prevention against gender identity confusion in young men. And positive interaction with dad is associated with better success in school, career, and social adjustment, to name just a few areas of impact.

So, watch the video now and then, smile, and–to all you dads–be involved and stay connected. We need you.

Note: Two great books on the impact of fathers are Fatherless America, by David Blankenhorn, and Life Without Father, by David Popenoe. I believe both are out of print but not hard to find online.