Father's greatest gift: taking responsibility

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunday is Father's Day and for those slackers out there, you have just enough time to scramble for that necktie or belt, in my case.

Amid all the celebration and recognition of Father's Day, we have to sadly accept the reality that fathers - in some households - are a dwindling breed.

It should come as no secret that the greatest social issue - the one that impacts all other social issues - is the lack of a father in the home.

Absent a male role model in the home - even a half-hearted role model - children lack one of the more crucial ingredients in life.

But as I reported on Mother's Day, in some areas the number of single parent households tops 80 percent.

And in virtually all of those cases, it's a single Mom who is doing the heavy lifting.

Why is it that our political leaders give only passing lip service to this glaring problem? Because they lack the answer.

Baby Daddy is not a father. Yet increasingly year after year, the numbers continue to explode where men abandon their responsibilities and expect others to pick up the pieces for their actions.

No one can accurately quantify the actual damage done when a man fathers a child but accepts no responsibility for raising that precious commodity.

This problem is not a financial issue but, as we all know, the taxpayer price for these abandonments is astronomical.

But the human impact in wasted lives is far greater. We can never put a price tag on that.

In some ways, our social safety net encourages this dismal trend. In our sincere rush to show compassion, we want to assure that financial support from taxpayers provides the essential needs that a father should provide.

But some make the calculation that raising a child without a father can provide more financial support from taxpayers.

What was once viewed as a social stigma has become commonplace.

Someone pointed out to me this week a photo of honors graduates from an area high school.

All of those honored for academic achievement came from two-parent households. This should come as no surprise because a two-parent support system is obviously far superior for the child than any element in their lives.

As a society we throw billions of dollars in some vain attempt to increase awareness of the importance of responsible fathers. And then we throw billions more into our educational system in another vain attempt to have schools become the ingredient missing in the home.

Yet not one single dollar has a positive impact that can be measured.

If you, like me, were raised in a two-parent home, thank the good Lord. In so many ways large and small, our lives were shaped by that man who accepted the responsibility of fatherhood.

Happy Father's Day.

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