Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Men of character, boys of fortune

Men of character, boys of fortune
by Rebecca Hagelin


I'm the mother of two teenage boys, and believe me, I am well acquainted with the behaviors that have led to the popular phrase "boys will be boys." But I am also blessed to know what it means to my sons' development and character for them to have a father who holds them accountable, is engaged in their lives, and is intimately familiar with their strengths, weaknesses, personalities and individual needs.

Social science research, statistics and real life unequivocally tell us that the safest, healthiest, most nurturing place for children is in a home with a mother and father who are married to each other. Yet, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative, some 24 million children live in homes where fathers are absent, meaning one in three children "go to sleep in a home in which their father doesn't live." Fatherlessness is the great American tragedy of modern times.

Flip on the television and watch for just one evening. You'll find that virtually every commercial and sitcom portrays fathers as either wimpy or ignorant. The message to our kids is pretty clear: Dads are losers.

What does that say to our children about the value of their own fathers? To young boys about their own possible futures as fathers? To young girls about what to look for in a future husband? To the men who are already dads?

The media must be crazy. But I ain't crazy – either as a columnist or a wife. So as just one small voice in today's mass media, I'm going to do my part to say to all the great dads out there, "Thank you. We need you."

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