We never can overemphasize a father’s impact in his child’s life. Many times those who have a father’s presence take it for granted. While those who are without a father find ‘father figures’ in the form of boyfriends, uncles and other relatives, it is not surprising that statistics emanating from fatherless homes and lives are horrendous. Many of the myriad problems societies face are a result of fathers not playing a role in their child’s early years. Of course, the same happens when mothers abandon the parent-child relationship. However, there are more negligent fathers than mothers today. Culturally, we have accepted the absence of the father as normal. We have also accepted the ridiculous excuses that may be given by the father to justify his absence as a parent. Even those who live in the same home with the children need to realize that a father is more than a ‘pay-rent.’

The paternal role as sole financial provider is rapidly becoming obsolete as more and more women make their way in the corporate world. Fathers must come to the realization that all the money in the world can never replace the bonding and interaction that characterize healthy parent-child relationships. The relationship should not be forced. It should be built over the years with trust and communication. Certainly, money plays a role, but children must be made to feel independent and should therefore be provided with their own cash. Parents must secure quality education for their children.

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The soldiers who are deployed in the war-torn areas, to serve their country in an endless war have rocked millions of families in America. Evidently, both mothers and fathers are away from their families but can you imagine the absence of a father? Many of the stories that are told highlight expecting mothers; and that makes the situation even more devastating. The memories these fathers miss cannot be repeated even if they are recorded. Memories like seeing your child going off to school for the first time, seeing them graduate, play in the park, looking at their report cards are all events that parents anticipate. Fathers suffer but more so the children are impacted emotionally because ‘daddy’ is not at home to share in those private ‘Kodak’ moments. Bonding is reduced to letters and phone calls.

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Who can forget the video of the dad hugging his daughter after the little girl threw the ball back on the field? It melted hearts but what should never be missed is the father’s reactions. I watched the video over and over again and wondered how many fathers would have reacted the same way. It makes me wonder because here you have a dad who is clearly a baseball fan who decides to hug his daughter in a moment where he could have been upset.

Fathers are important from the fertilization of the egg to adulthood. We should never at any point think mothers should raise children on their own – even though some women beat the incredible odds of single parenthood. Both mothers and fathers are important in the development and nurturing of a child. We need to ensure more than ever that fathers play that role in a child’s life. Fathers may not be aware but children are watching parents and are learning from their attitude and actions.  A father’s presence in his child’s life makes a difference. Only those who have experienced it can begin to express what it really feels like.

It is time for men to be fathers again.

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