Today is Father's Day.... and I reflect on the importance of those men known as Fathers, Dads, Daddies, Pops, and a whole plethora of meaningful names.
How important are Fathers?
Well...I could point out what studies state... that when there is a strong positive father in the household, teen pregnancy is reduced by a significant amount....and there are less chances of children turning to drug abuse.....
But I will choose to use my personal life and observations to bring the point home. So, just how important are Fathers?
They are so important that where I work ( in a low income/gang-filled area), we have a program called "Strong Fathers" whereby we try to get fathers involved in what has been traditionally seen as a Mother's Domain -- the school. And what a success this is! The involvement and care of these men is just a joy to watch....and while kids are excited about
having their moms come to school, they thrilled beyond belief when Dads enter the picture.
What of the kids who do not have fathers at home?.....our "Dad hogs" as we call them? The
dads who show up for their kids take many of these other kiddos under their care for the night
and include them in on the science experiments, fellowship, food, and jokes of the evening.
They are so important that in my former career I observed more and more often custody
being awarded to fathers, blowing what is called "the Tender Years Doctrine" out of the
They are so important that I cannot imagine my life without my dad in it. In spite of the fact
I had been raised as Toula had been in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" my father strongly believed in the education of women...and backed his beliefs by funding my education (and those of my 2 brothers) for both undergrad and grad school....for taking the time when he could to be there for all my large successes as well as my small victories....for teaching me that education is not merely filling one's head with knowledge, but filling one's heart with convictions....for showing me that it is not what your jobs brings to you, but what you bring to your job.....for leading by example on how you not only deal with people, but how you treat them....for pointing out how some people can be compared to a jack-ass and the animal would (rightly so) be the one insulted because it would point out how it is, at least, a useful animal....for all the times I would attempt something and when I was shocked at the fact I had succeeded he would always state "I have always had confidence in my daughter"...
They are so important that I shudder to think how J's kids would have fared in life if he had
not made the decision to stay in it after the divorce. In spite of the fact that he had been laid
off from his job, the AC in his house was not working, his car was out of commission, it was in
middle of the famous Texas heat, and he had job offers in his field out of state...he chose to
stay in Texas, work 2 jobs about 3 miles apart, and walk to both jobs to be where his kids
lived....to stay involved in their lives.....to be able to say "I am here for you".....to make it
to all but one of his son's soccer games (Stephan remembers that and holds the memory dear.)
He did all this despite his friends telling him "Leave, make it easier on yourself...accept the
other job offers....". His response was, "I am their dad....not for one weekend a month or
one season a year....but for always...and where they are is where I will be...." He set a good
example for both his kids and showed to be the kind of man I wanted to marry--the kind
who takes commitments seriously.
So those are my answers to "Just how important are Fathers?".....in short, they are one of the
greatest ingredients, the most profound teachers, among the gentlest hands a child may ever have in this adventure called "LIFE".