Fathers.Com lists several statistical observations about children living in fatherless homes:
Fatherless children are more likely to live in poverty, at greater risk for alcohol and drug abuse, more than twice as likely to commit suicide, experience more trouble academically, are more inclined to exhibit delinquent behavior and tend to engage sexually at a younger age.
All of the statistics are well documented. The conclusion is that Fathers do make a difference. The question is, Why? What is making the difference?
There are many possible answers to that question but one observation that is often overlooked is the fact that maybe a father makes an impact by just being present. Most books describe fathering somewhat like an Attorney General. He makes the right rules, maintains the right discipline and models the highest standards of virtue always.
Rules, discipline and virtue are important but the stats quoted are based on homes with fathers vs homes without. Just being there is a big deal.
Although there is a lot of discussion and speculation about what good fathers do, beyond being present, it might be difficult to isolate exactly what that is.
Fathers, like any other humans are individuals, meaning they’re diverse and have different ways of relating to family members. There mannerisms are partly learned from previous generations and I doubt any two are exactly alike, even among those considered the best.
Let’s face it. Not all fathers are equally secure, confident and motivated. They may or may not be educated. Some are entrepreneurs and some work-a-days but if they are present, they have an impact.
Even the fathers classed as good probably don’t know exactly what they do to make a difference but there are likely many reasons why being present is better than being absent.
A few observations are in order. [Read more…]