Why Are Fathers Important? (by John Gibbons)

Research Question:

Why are fathers important?

Introduction:

I have two children, and I’m trying. You may have read that sentence expecting more, but that’s all I can say. I am not a perfect man or father, some days I don’t even feel like I deserve the title “Good”, but I am trying. Luckily for me, and any other male on this earth, I think rather than focusing on being perfect, kids will appreciate the effort they see fathers put forth. It’s important to be a father. No matter what career you chase, or how much money you make, the most important thing a man can achieve is being a father. It’s a shame that society has forgotten that. When a kids parents’ divorce, the woman usually gets the kids and the man becomes Mr. Money, and as long as the child support check keeps flowing, he’s doing his job. This is not my opinion, although it is the opinion of many others I have met, and it’s pathetic.

Over the years I have noticed a trend. We have a bunch of man children going around and creating actual children. I think this epidemic can be explained by father’s not sticking around, or having a lackadaisical approach to the most important thing they will accomplish before they die. The behavior is learned and a pattern forms. Why has our society not instilled a higher standard for fathers? Why have we not taught the up and coming generation that if they choose to be parents that it’s the most noble thing they will do? The most important question to be answered is why are fathers important?

I think there are many ways to address that last question, but I only want to take a look at a few. First off, a father is a great source of self-esteem for children, but what else surprised me in my research was how much a father can impact the life of their children. According to Dr. Gail Gross “Your child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of your child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others, but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving” (par 1). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-important-role-of-dad_b_5489093.html

That quote is scary. I hate to think about the mistakes I have made and how my children will see and copy those mistakes. In many cases though is it better to have a father figure around, even though he may not be perfect? Is there more of a negative impact of father being absent? The answer to both of those questions is yes. According to Dr. Edward Kruk, “85 per cent of youth in prison have an absent father; fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults” (par 5). That statistic is very telling. Dr. Kruk, in the same article goes on to point out that having an absent father most likely leads to children having substance abuse problems, low self-esteem, poor academic performance, and host of many other issues. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/father-absence-father-deficit-father-hunger

Why are men leaving their children and preventing these issues? I think the strongest reason, other than not wanting the responsibility, is that men do not feel they are good enough. They haven’t been taught that their role is just as important as a mothers, and maybe they fear failure. I know I do. Throughout my research on this topic I ran into this quote. According to a man named Dwayne, he left his kids for a while because “I put them on a higher pedestal than I put myself. So, at a point, I wasn’t worthy to be in their life because I wasn’t the man that I would want for them” (par 3). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/absent-fathers-dad-why-men-leave-children_n_3231932.html

I think as a community we have to emphasize the importance of their role and offer support of some sort. We need to teach them that if you’re a father you’re bound to mess up, you’re not perfect and you don’t need to be. Give some effort and do the best you can with what you have, and things will work out. You just have to try.

 Works Cited

Gross, Dr. Gail. “The Important Role of Dad.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 June 2014. Web. 30 May 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-important-role-of-dad_b_5489093.html&gt;.

Kruk, Edward. “Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger.” Psychology Today. Co-Parenting After Divorce, 23 May 2012. Web. 30 May 2015. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/father-absence-father-deficit-father-hunger

Capretto, Lisa. “Absent Fathers: An Absentee Dad Explains Why Men Leave Their Children (VIDEO).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/absent-fathers-dad-why-men-leave-children_n_3231932.html&gt;.

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One comment

  1. Taylor Aaslnad

    Hello John,
    I really enjoyed your writing because it hits so close to home. I grew up with divorced parents but I was extremely lucky in the sense that my father tried so hard to be in my life. When I was young I played softball and I always got so annoyed because all he ever wanted to do was practice softball with me. Every night I received the same phone call if we didn’t have practice, and if we did have practice he would show up as soon as he got off work so we could get there early and practice. At the time, I hated softball but looking back this is my most favorite memory. My dad shaped so much of my life because we were always together. I appreciate him so much because he tried so hard for me. He didn’t have a lot of money so this was a free even we could do, and everything he bought me from the goodwill usually became my favorite toy. I think that even though you think you are only “trying” you are an amazing dad because trying to be a good parent makes you an amazing parent. Parenting is hard and trying at it every day is what a child needs.

    I also agree with you that society almost makes it okay for dads to be bad dads. Kids need their father and we focus way too much on the mom. All we do is tear dads down and it is devastating. I agree moms are so important but I see it way too often that the mom takes this power and uses it against the father. I carry a lot of grief because my dad wasn’t given the opportunity to wake us up every morning or watch us go to bed every night. He wasn’t there to share all of our meals together and watch us grow up. He was forced to stand on the sidelines while somebody who didn’t appreciate us was forced to deal with us. I think America should reevaluate the roles dad’s play and really emphasize on it in a positive manner. Just how we are trying to reevaluate everything else in a positive manner. All dad’s deserve the chance to be with their kids.

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