The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 12, 2014

No one is against devoted dads

Thursday, June 12, 2014 — Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time for pundits and politicians to scold the American public - with special ire reserved for black members of the American public - for our supposed indifference to the wonder and awe of fatherhood. Jessica Lahey has a piece in the Atlantic this week called "The Case for Dedicated Dads," in which she argues, "Mothers are very important to their children's development, of course, but research has shown that fathers help kids grow in specific ways." Dozens of other writers are making the same argument, pegged to Father's Day, for a variety of local and national media sources.

"Being around dads affects children's biology, which in turn affects their mental states, like happiness, and their success in life," wrote Mark Oppenheimer in The New York Times earlier this month. Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal agrees, arguing, "The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering." The Atlantic, in particular, loves reminding people, over and over, that, given a choice between Great Dad or No Dad, Great Dad is by far the better option. There was "Why Dads Matter" on Feb. 23 (not to be confused with the new book "Do Fathers Matter?" Answer: Yes); "A Key to College Success: Involved Dads" on April 22; and "The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad" on June 14, 2013.

I love a good dad story as much as the next daughter, but I can't help wonder: Who are these writers arguing against? W. Bradford Wilcox, who single-handedly generates a good half of the "having a good dad is great, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!" content out there, intones, "Dads certainly seem dispensable in today's world." Lahey also argues, "Recently, some authors have claimed that parents don't really have much of an effect on educational success." But none of the people Wilcox or Lahey cite are down on the idea of having good, loving fathers around the house. They are simply assuring people who don't have access to one of those awesome dads that their kids are not doomed to failure.

Look, there is no "anti-fatherhood" movement in this country. Commentators who argue the "pro-fatherhood" side do so by pointing to the positive effects on kids from good dads who love their kids' mothers and live in the same houses. These pieces often assume that women are rolling in offers for loving, devoted families and opting for single motherhood instead. But most single mothers aren't in that situation because they are against the nuclear family or because they think fathers are bad for kids. Sometimes a dad is a good dad but not a good husband. Some dads are - gasp! - not good fathers at all and need to go. Preaching about how wonderful it is to have a loving, devoted father in the house is like going to the hospital and asking people if they ever considered not being sick.

Instead of repeatedly extolling the virtues of happy marriage and loving fathers, let's invest in economic stability, education and access to reproductive health care so that Americans can plan when they have children. These are the things people actually need to improve their chances of holding a family together. We know this because people who do have access to these things have more stable marriages. What we don't need are more lectures about how having a good dad is better than having no dad. Rest assured, everyone already knows that.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content