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7.14.2009

Daddy Defense

I've debated on whether to write this post or not. I don't want to give publicity to the subject of this post. But the subject is just so sad and uninformed that I feel like I need to.

You see, the other day, through a contact on Twitter, I found a link to a blog called: Do Children NEED fathers?, whose author wishes to, "expose the myths pertianing to fatherless children through this blog. Children do not NEED a father, they need at least one caring emotionally capable person to care for them. If that child can have two and those two happen to be mother and father, then great. A child does not NEED a father if that father is bad."

What the author does is recount in vague details the biography of someone who didn't always have a father in his/her life. Then at the end of the 2-3 paragraphs, you find out that it is a description of someone important historical figure. The point is that a kid CAN grow up to be smart, successful or famous without a father. A point I don't argue.

What I do take exception with are 4 problems with her posts, which I will detail.

1. The author has 11 examples listed right now. 11. For every one of them, I can list you at least 100 examples to the contrary.

2. On the surface, it looks like these individuals grew up without any problems. But the examination only stays at the surface. The most recent example is Thomas Jefferson, whose father died when he was 14. On the surface, a wonderful man. Under the surface, left untouched, is Jefferson's pour financial habits and his womanizing, two common characteristics of men who grew up without strong, positive male influence. Nowhere does the post examine any emotional or psychological baggage these individuals probably had (you know, stuff under the surface) because of the absence of their fathers. Anyone can be successful on the surface, but until you know why hinders the soul, that judgement cannot be made.

3. The author never presents statistical evidence or facts to support her opinion. She only states that the research and facts that do support the importance of engaged fathering are bogus and pushed by men's rights movements. This is the problem with blogging. People who do not look below the surface can easily assume the author is correct, that she is an "expert". This is why blogs like this are so damaging.

4. The author strikes only fathers. If we've learned anything, it's that mothers and fathers are equally important. So why only dads? Shouldn't her point be that children can be successful with only one parent, which she claims in the blog description? Too much evidence indicates what I think we all intrinsically know - that children do better with a strong positive male and female influence. Is that always a father or a mother? No. Ideally, it would be, but the world isn't ideal. But realistically, children do better and thrive with the influence of both male and female.

Am I being unfair? Please share your thoughts.

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more with your response. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only thing that is unfair is that we have decide whether to ignore stupidity or to address it because someone else may be listening. As a father fighting for equal time in a divorce I didn't file for, I find myself battling the same ignorance. Some people (very few) say that I can't "beat the system" so I should just lay down. The same people are the ones who say fathers need to take more responsibility. Politicians pass "deadbeat dad" laws yet don't pass laws to protect children and parents from the evils of the family court system. Just the term "deadbeat dad" is politically incorrect. We don't say fireman, policeman, mailman, etc, but for some reason we don't say deadbeat parent. The word deadbeat should be eliminated entirely as it implies that people who can't afford their child support obligations due to injury, economy, illness, or to unfair rulings by courts, don't love their children.

    I think the biggest thing to consider is your personal well being. If venting about ignorance makes you feel better then vent on. One of the most troubling stories on the news is the father who's wife ran off to Brazil with their son and didn't return. The father hasn't seen his son in over four years. The mother died recently and now the deceased mother, step father and the step grandparents were getting sympathy from the media. Sympathy for kidnappers. If the father had ran away for a beautiful Brazilian woman and taken the child, there would have been an international outcry.

    What drives me nuts about the blog you wrote about is the religious/nature aspect of it. In today's world where there is a lot of debate regarding religion and science and nature, there seems to be a constant; family structure. I'm not aware of any religion that discourages two parents playing a role in raising a family. From an evolution standpoint, there are many species where both parents and extended family play an important role in raising children. If you don't subscribe to evolution, then God wanted it that way.

    I have 4 cousins who lost their mother to MS at an early age and they are wonderful people. I have two cousins whose father left before the oldest was 2. All of them grew up to be wonderful people but they have a void in their lives that will never be filled. What the author of the article probably didn't mention is the tremendous amount of support they get from family, friends, and/or boyfriends or new spouses because no single parent who truly raises children by themselves would claim that the children are better off without the other (capable) parent. If I had to guess what motivated the person to write the blog, I would say that the blog was an attempt to rationalize the insecure void she has from not having a father. Her belief that children don't need fathers citing her lack of one, is an example of the importance of fathers playing an equal role in raising children.

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