Society cries out for father figures
You can hammer a nail into a piece of wood with a rock, but as the verb implies, it is better to use a hammer. Using a rock, a few nails and some wood you can make some pretty nice stuff. You can also make junk, and probably a lot more junk than if you had used a hammer.
In case you are wondering, no, I am not turning this into a do-it-yourself column.
My point in using this example is that you can use a lot of things to get the job done, even done well, but in most cases you want to use what works best. This is what I was thinking as I looked over the daytime talk shows and one of the ever-present themes of ďMy teen daughter is out of control.Ē
The teenage girls on these programs had a variety of issues and the relationships with their mothers ranged from moderately to severely dysfunctional. The girls were from different backgrounds and different situations, but one common thread ran through each situation Ė no father figure in the home. The politically-correct show hosts were savvy in not bringing this up, but as you learned more about the lives of the girls and their mothers, no mention of a husband or father ever came up. You would expect if a father was present in the house he would come to the television show, or at the very least his daughter or wife would mention him, and this didnít happen.
The girls and mothers on the talk shows were chosen because they had a lot of problems, so they donít necessarily reflect the success stories of the countless numbers of single mothers who raise children without fathers. One fact to keep in mind is that the producers of the talk shows tried to find children who were ďout of control,Ē not children who had no fathers in the home. I think itís an important message that the overwhelming majority of children who had such severe behavioral problems also happened not to have a father.
The importance of fathers and fatherhood isnít something we hear much about. As far as I can tell, itís something we donít hear anything about. You can find a lot of information on being a single mother, resources for single mothers, television shows and movies featuring single mothers, but thereís nothing about fathers and fatherhood. The message most often conveyed about fathers is that they are Ė at least after conception Ė optional. This is a very flawed message.
If we as a society donít convey the importance of being a father, and therefore the importance of having a father, then we are going to see more and more dysfunctional children who become dysfunctional adults. Iím reminded of a conversation I had with one of the youth I work with at the Youth Detention Center. He was 15 and had found out his 16-year-old girlfriend was pregnant. I asked him how he felt about this situation, what he was going to do about his girlfriend and the child. His response was to laugh it off and he gave me this troubling reply: ďI didnít have no daddy, and I donít care about no baby. Itís nothing I gotta worry about. Iím already talking to another girl anyway.Ē
This is the lesson children learn in our hyper-masculine society, that fatherhood ends at roughly the same time as the sex act.
Daniel Sims is a senior majoring in
29 January 2008