How many of you recall the Eminem song, “[amazon-product text=”The Real Slim Shady” type=”text”]B000W195C6[/amazon-product]?” In the song Eminem asks, “Will the real slim shady please stand up?” This week we’re not asking the real slim shady to stand up, we’re asking for all the “Real Fathers” to please stand up.
We have a lot of problems in our country: gun violence, crime, poverty, incarceration, and mental/behavioral health just to name a few. These are complex issues that do not have an easy solution. However, I believe we must tackle an already large and continuing to grow problem: absent fathers.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 24 million, or close to one out of every three children in our country, live in fatherless home. Stop for a second and think about that. One of out of every three. An article from the Washington Times claims the rate for fatherless homes was only 11% in 1960. Why do we seem to have so many more societal problems today than we did 40-50 years ago? I think we begin to see how the crisis of fatherless homes has affected our society.
I went online to a site, www.fatherhood.org, and it claims that children who grow up in home without a father are four times more likely to live in poverty. Children without fathers present tend to act out with more aggression and experience more emotional and behavioral problems. In a 2002 study, 39% of inmates surveyed said they lived in a fatherless home. Urban areas seem to be the areas hit the hardest with this problem. Generations of children are growing up in homes all across America with no male role models. This post isn’t a knock or slam against women or single mothers, actually it’s quite the contrary. Single women make less money than men do and are often stuck raising children with no emotional or monetary support. It’s not right and it’s definitely not fair. Will the real fathers out there please stand up?
For me, fatherhood has been one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of my life. Sure it has its challenges, but I cannot imagine my life now without my son. He’s my pride and joy. My worst fear is not being there for him and that alone helps guide the decisions I make every day. There is nothing more I want than to be able to watch him grow up and be there every step of the way.
I am fortunate to have a great father as a role model, and we both have a great person to look up to in my grandfather. My dad and grandpa have always been there for me growing up and leading by example. They have set wonderful examples on how live my life, be a husband, and most importantly a father. I realize that not all are as lucky as I am to have this, and I do not take it for granted. I also do not want to just acknowledge something that exists and then turn a blind eye to it. That is why I will be adding to this site and creating links that will benefit all families, especially fathers.
It’s sad, but too many men across our country do not take their roles as fathers seriously. Children need positive male role models in their lives. We cannot continue to have generations of children grow up without a father present. In order to fix a problem, you must first acknowledge that one exists. Now that we understand the problem, let’s discuss ways this problem can be addressed.
In order to help fix this problem we need to get the word out. Fatherhood needs to be something that is valued and revered. The more you and I share, especially through social media, the better. Being a responsible, present father needs to be seen as something cool. The more we follow and share resources that promote this cause, the more the mainstream media has to incorporate it into their programming. I follow and recommend checking out All Pro Dad, this is a great organization that promotes and teaches men to be great fathers. They put on events in NFL cities, and I have personally attended the last two held in St. Louis. They were incredible. Another organization to check out would be Family First. I receive daily emails from them that promote family values along with providing marriage and parent advice. Legacy Dad is a great follow on Twitter as well. I also recommend checking out www.fatherhood.org. For those of you who may not be fathers but would like to be a positive role model and influence for youths, check out what Big Brothers/Big Sisters are all about.
There are so many great organizations and resources that promote responsible fatherhood. The greatest thing we can do is to live by example. One of my greatest responsibilities as a teacher and a coach is to be a role model. I am by no means perfect, but through my actions I hope to provide an example for my students and athletes on how to be a great father and husband.
If you have any groups or organizations to recommend that provide resources on fatherhood and family life, please share.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!