Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to Fathers

Today is Father's Day. This day is a celebration of fathers inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities. The first observance of Father's Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. It is possible that Clayton was influenced by the first celebration of Mother's Day that same year, just a few miles away. Credit for Father's Day went to Sonora Dodd from Spokane, who invented independently her own celebration of Father's Day just two years later, also influenced by Jarvis' Mother's Day. Clayton's celebration was forgotten until 1972, when one of the attendants to the celebration saw Nixon's proclamation of Father's Day, and worked to recover its legacy.

Just as I said about Mother's Day I believe Father's day has been trivialized and can be added to the ever growing list of commercial events rather than a day set aside to reflect upon the contributions of the people or person it was intended to honour. I still wonder each year what attaching stickers of the characters of the latest popular animated children's program to coloured eggs has to do with Jesus. Unlike Mother's Day though, I don't think the commercialization has grown in an attempt to include every male who has reached adulthood.

In my posting on Mother's Day I did not hold back on chastising those women whom I believe pretend to be mothers but, in fact, are little more than gestational hosts who ferry their children off to other care providers shortly after birth. Well, fathers owe no less of a duty to their children than mothers do. Unlike mothers in general though I do believe that fathers are making progress towards being more involved with their children.

I see anecdotal evidence of this everywhere. Sporting events have always appeared to be the father's domain but the term “soccer mom” was coined from the role that mothers played in hustling groups of children from one event to the next. Now I see more girls being brought to their games and practices by fathers alone than I do mothers alone.

More important though is what I see elsewhere. Fathers pushing a baby stroller, one sitting on a wall somewhere just chatting with his child, playing with their children at the park, attending school functions or shopping for new clothing with them. In short, these are men who are taking an active role in providing the care for their children and the monumentally important task of demonstrating the role of a father.

Unfortunately for many children though they don't have the involvement of their fathers. The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that Fathers' absence takes heavy toll on children which provided a sobering account of some of the effects. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million American children -- one in three -- live without their fathers at home.

Often times this is the result of a divorce wherein judges, attorneys, mothers and – even at times – fathers do not believe that children need to be in the care and custody of anyone but their mothers. However, progress is being made in that arena. Where there is a decline though is in fathers who take responsibility for their actions and children particularly from the time of conception. The epidemic and consequences of children born out-of-wedlock continues to grow.

This is the fault of both mothers and fathers. I place no blame on one more than the other though. Part of being a responsible father is to provide a stable and nurturing environment in which to raise a child. First and foremost in this is marriage. It also includes financial stability – having a job, home, significant assets – to provide for the needs of the child. Men who cannot do this are not fitting of being fathers. There is much more to being a father than inseminating a woman. It may be a biological prerogative to go forth and multiply but children need both parents to be ensured of successful maturation and to do what we ultimately exist to do – pass along our genetic material.

For those people who stand in the way of allowing children to have what they need most in life which is the care, companionship and support of two loving parents – shame on you.

For those men who completed the task of being a chromosome delivery portal and nothing more – shame on you also. It is time to step-up and be a real man and do what real men do and what this day is set aside to honour – be a father to the children you produced.

For those men who are providing the caring, supportive, stable and nurturing environment that children need or have done that already – Happy Father's Day.

If you need assistance with parenting issues or a child custody matter please visit my website and contact my scheduler. to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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