Father's Day -- An Editorial
The following is an editorial I wrote for this week's issue of our local newspaper, The Greenwich Sentinel, on whose editorial board I serve.
This Sunday, June 21st, is Father’s Day, the annual “celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.”
Time was when the active presence and participation of a father in a nuclear family was the overwhelming norm, and the concept of fatherhood – what it was and what was expected of it – was universally understood and followed, at least in the context of the particular culture in which it was experienced. Much has changed in the intervening years, both for the good and bad, with the result that the roles of father and fathering, and even the concept of family, are much more complicated, nuanced and less universally understood and followed. Yet in the midst of this diversity, some fundamental truths remain.
Active, positive participation by a father in the lives of his children, regardless of marital, residential or other circumstances, can be a powerful force for good in their physical, mental, emotional and character development. Its absence can make their lives more difficult. Sons need fathers to show them how to be good men, and how to treat the women in their lives appropriately, with dignity, respect and love. They are their first and most influential role model. Daughters look to their fathers for the kind of unconditional and supportive but not indulgent love that helps build their self-confidence and healthy self-esteem, and to show them by example how good men behave with the women they love or once loved, whether married, unmarried, separated or divorced.
It is said that you do not have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. That is so very true. It is also true that the men and women who try their best to be good parents are truly heroes.
These days it seems like there are multiple forces arrayed against the survival of the nuclear family and the presence of an actively engaged male influence in the upbringing of children. There are and can be many models for successfully incorporating that influence in the lives of their children, and it is essential for the good of our society that we identify and celebrate those instances – and those men – that represent effective fathering.
As Billy Graham once said: “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” We could not agree more.
Happy Father’s Day to all!
The Greenwich Sentinel