If ever a story, a relationship, a social infrastructure, or a magical phenomenon been more under emphasized than the importance of a child’s need for their father’s love and attention, I cannot imagine what it would be! My own experience, my research, shocking statistics, and the stories I have seen and heard all tell me this is true.
Of course, children also need their mother, but their story and importance is relatively very well known. A father would never be a replacement for a mother, but neither can she replace him. Ideal parenting involves the work of two people. Yet, mom is too often without the dad to help raise their children. A mom and dad are not opposites, but complements of their parenting partnership. Of course, there are many circumstances that do not allow a man and woman to raise children together. Some are unavoidable, but the lack of emphasis on the crucial role of fatherhood contributes to the avoidable incidents of a father’s lack of involvement.
There are nuggets of encouragement! The government has Fatherhood.gov. There are groups like the National Fatherhood Initiativeand Gooddads.com. Business has Dove’s Men’s Health Care support of fatherhood. There are also many dad bloggers like myself, although we are outnumbered 17 to 1 compared to mom bloggers. But more emphasis on helping and encouraging families to stay together must happen!
I don’t think every father knows just how important he is to his children. Many do, but I don’t feel confident about saying most. I’m not thinking of financial importance, which is critical. I’m not even thinking about how a father protects his children, which is crucial! These are the areas that, unfortunately, many people think of when we talk of a father’s importance in a home. There is another matter in which fathers are fundamentally necessary to the health and growth of their children--emotional well-being!
A kid’s emotional well-being concerns their stress level, the emotion of happiness, self-satisfaction, and anxiety level. If any of these criteria are at risk, the child will suffer not only emotionally, but their physical health could deteriorate.
Children with good emotional health:
So how do we as fathers contribute to our children’s emotional well-being? Naturally, parents have the most influence and are the most responsible for all aspects of their children’s lives. We teach them whether we do so intentionally or not, whether we are good or bad examples. "Do as I say and not as I do," never works as a value system or mentoring technique, therefore, be sure to be a good example and a knowledgeable teacher.
Here are a few things to think about.
I think fathers are aware of their fiscal and protection responsibilities much more than their nurturing responsibilities. Society suffers one bad father at a time and is advanced by every good father who attends to the emotional well-being of his children, working of course with their mother. Today’s children are the leaders and parents of tomorrow. When we teach them well, they will do the same with their children, and if the trend continues with each generation, watch the social issues of our country dissolve into a mere distraction. Media, businesses, and our government could do more to help this often dire situation where fathers are absent. While discussion of fatherhood may be a whisper, the impact of fatherhood roars!
Michael Smith, the author of The Power of Dadhood: How to Become the Father Your Child Need, is the father of three adult children and grandfather of four. He is a retired US Air Force officer and resides with his wife in St. Louis, MO. Michael can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.