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Being a Good Dad

Happy Fathers Day!

This is from a column posted in the 2018 Father’s Day Edition of the Centre County Gazette (June 14-20, page 13).

Here is something for those craving positive news – fathers are stepping up in a big way.

A 2015 Pew Research Center survey indicated that the percentage of fathers who felt that parenting was an extremely important part of their identity (57%) was equal to mothers (58%). This same survey relayed that fathers (46%) more often felt that parenting was enjoyable all of the time (mothers, 41%).

The later statistic, in part, most likely reflects the many sacrifices that mothers routinely make. At the same time, it highlights that, more so now than ever men have fully connected with the heart space where fatherhood resides.

We take great pride in being fathers. So much so that may be the one feeling we aren’t bashful about expressing.

We prioritize being a father and look for ways to integrate fatherhood into our our lives. One primary example, with the proliferation of youth sports, many dads who may have never even played the game become coaches for travel soccer, baseball, etc.

Dads have begun to fill in the gaps that have been created by the rise of two income families. The 2011 US Census reported that 32% of married fathers are “a regular source of care for their children under the age of 15.”

We see nearly as many fathers as mothers flying solo with their children at elementary school events, taking their son or daughter to doctor’s appointments or wheeling around stores with the kiddos piled in grocery carts.Parenting is an all-encompassing endeavor under the best of circumstances. With divorce and parents not getting married, many children grow up in separated families. This dynamic adds additional challenges for everyone involved.

Despite the disappointments and obstacles that they often face, single fathers endeavor to uphold their sacred responsibilities to their children. They strive to spend quality time, offer guidance, be a positive role model, effectively co-parent and provide the necessary financial support.

Data clearly shows that children are happier, healthier and more well-adjusted when both parents are fully engaged in their lives. This supports what we all know from our personal experiences, having grown up ourselves, as parents and what we observe around us.

Mothers and fathers give different, but equally important, things to girls, in a similar way that that they give different, and equally important, things to boys. Without the active participation of either, their childhood is incomplete. They are much more likely to be imbalanced as adults, and struggle to be successful in life.

There is a lot to be concerned about in the world today. As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, one thing we can be grateful for is that dads are doing their part.


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