Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Importance of Fathers

         Throughout the history of the world, fatherhood has been an essential piece of family life. Fathers have been known to be key and vital characters in their children’s lives. The roles of mothers and fathers have historically stayed in tact and similar. However, in the recent years, the role of the father has taken a few turns down dark and unknown trails. People have started to question the role of the father. They have started to believe that either the father’s traditional roles should not be so traditional, or that father’s aren’t needed in the home at all. The attack on the family unit has hit harder than ever. People of the world exclaim that traditional fatherhood and families are somewhat of an old, unneeded wives tale, created and carried on by religious, conservative, misogynists. However, this happens to be completely false. And science has proven to back that up time and time again.
          According to an article by Ditta M. Oliker PHD entitled, “The Importance of Fathers,” published in Psychology Today, “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.” The article attributes this to Fathers having more one on one playful and stimulating interactions with their children than the mothers do. Because of these interactions, they are more emotionally and socially stable.
          The article then goes on to explain that, “Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. The influence of a father's involvement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents." Without fathers in the home, children are more at risk for struggling educationally. The increase of high school dropouts, low test scores, and struggling educational programs could most definitely be helped by stronger family units and the presence of the father in the home.
Dr. Oliker also made the point that, “…having a positive male role model helps an adolescent boy develop positive gender-role characteristics,” and that, “…adolescent girls are more likely to form positive opinions of men and are better able to relate to them when fathered by an involved father.” These ideas of acceptance to one’s own gender and one’s opposite gender are key in our society. To increase understanding and love and acceptance is so vital to communities, and to nations as a whole. Fathers play an extremely important role in helping their children understand these things.
          In an essay by Paul Raeburn titled, “The Daddy Factor,” published in the Saturday Evening Post, he discussed a few more important findings and necessities that the father brings into the lives of his children. He says, “Fathers' unpredictability helps children learn to be brave in difficult situations or when meeting new people. In one study of 1-year-olds taken to swimming class, researchers observed that fathers were more likely to stand behind their children, so that the children faced the water, while mothers tended to stand in front of the children, the better to make eye contact. From this and other studies, he concluded that fathers may be especially important in supporting their children as they move from the family to the world outside the door. And one of the first and most important unfamiliar environments that children encounter is school. Children who make the transition from home to school more easily, who are free of behavior problems and relate well to their peers and teachers, are more likely to do well in kindergarten and elementary school.” To have independent and confident children, who are also very well behaved and well educated is key to society. The rising generations must be full of these kinds of people in order to be happy and successful. Which is all one could wish for her future family and children.
          Another important point that Raeburn made was the fact that during World War II and on, scientists and psychologists began to question the importance of the father in a child’s life (specifically their sons). They began to doubt whether or not his role was beneficial. “The problem was that nobody had asked why boys might want to be like their fathers.” Raeburn explained. Once they did ask the sons, it became clear that the father’s warmth and closeness with his son was the most important and vital factor in his life and his growth. I found this point to be extremely interesting because it relates so well to today. So often do we hear of how unimportant a father is to a child and to a home or to a woman from adults. We hear it from those who believe they know what is best for their child. But do we ever hear these things from the children? I personally, never have.
            From my own experiences, I can honestly say that having a father is vital for full happiness and wellbeing of children. I love my father. My experiences with him growing up were so wonderful, and I attribute much of who I am today to him and what he has taught me. Learning all about the statistics of what fathers do for children was really interesting to me because it really helped me recognize some of the reasons why I succeed in the things that I do. School has never been a large struggle or me, I have never had severe behavioral problems, never once have I abused or even used drugs or alcohol, and I have a true love and appreciation for men (my opposite sex) and all that they are and all that they do. I don’t think I would be able to say all of these things if I didn’t have such a wonderful father helping raise me all of my life.
            Of course, having a father is not enough. He has to be a kind, loving, and encouraging father. I understand that this is not the case for everybody. I was lucky enough to have the experience of having one of these. However, I do not believe that there is any possible way to argue that having a loving, kind and encouraging father would not put a child at an advantage socially, emotionally, educationally or professionally. And I do not believe that there is any possible way to argue that not having a father such as this would not put a child at a disadvantage in these ways.
            I believe that fathers are essential. In my future family I am already taking steps in ensuring that my future children have the positive influence of a wonderful father in their life. Right now, it is just by dating the right kind of person. I must marry a wonderful man in order for my children to have a wonderful father. I must make sure that he is responsible, kind, loving, encouraging, affectionate, and an effective communicator. I will 100% marry a man who possesses these qualities. Currently I am dating someone and moving towards marriage. He is absolutely wonderful and someone that I know I can trust to take good care of and an active role in my children’s lives.
            Another thing that I will make sure of is that my husband and I always counsel together for the wellbeing of my children and that we help each other carry out our responsibilities. I will make sure that he is always able to have the opportunities necessary to connect with our children. We are going to always have family prayer and scripture study, and will work together and have family togetherness time to ensure that our children can feel the role of their father in their life. We will also have one on one time with our children. I will do all in my power to give my future children the best. And I know they will have the best father.
            I know that fatherhood is important. I know that it is essential. I am so grateful for my father in my life and all he has done for me and my family. I would not be who I am today without him in my life. I cannot wait for the day that I can have children of my own and help them understand the role of the family and the role of their father and mother. It is my prayer that the rest of the world can someday understand just how important and necessary fatherhood really is.

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