Publisher’s Letter: FATHER or FATHER FIGURE

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

What Can a Good Man Do?

As I write this, the state of fatherhood in America covers perhaps the broadest spectrum it has to date. In decades past, when the man of the house was the sole breadwinner, parenting was often left to mothers while fathers were often either distant figures or disciplinarians — in generations past, raising children in many households was considered the work of women.

But a lot has changed since then.

Not only have fathers who live with their children taken a far more active role in caring for them, but a larger percentage of men are staying home to raise their family in the role of Mr. Mom than ever before in this nation’s history while their wives are out in the workplace as the sole breadwinner.

In addition, households led by single fathers are a far more frequent phenomenon than “back in the day.” Unlike in generations past, today, many working fathers find work-family balance a challenge whereas decades ago this was barely their concern as most women were at home raising the family.

But the saddest fact of our time, is that more and more children are growing up without a father or a father figure in their lives. Without a dependable, caring, and responsible man in a child’s life as they are growing up, a lot can be lost, especially for young boys seeking guidance as to what it means to be a man in this climate of shifting gender roles.

As with Mother’s Day when the calendar rolls around to honor our fathers on Father’s Day for many Americans this is a very painful day — a day to honor a somewhat mythical figure that a fatherless child may observe in the lives of their friends and whom they may idealize as more faultless than in reality.

Enter the Male Mentor or Father Figure. The many fine people who devote their time to otherwise fatherless children come in many roles in life — they may be coaches, teachers, uncles, older brothers or neighbors. They may be volunteers for fine organizations such as Partners Mentoring Youth or Big Brothers Big Sisters. However they show up they are making a difference in the lives of young people — they may help them do better in school and stay in school. They may help eliminate the allure of gangs and help their charge navigate their path toward a career. And especially relevant for middle schoolers, they may help them overcome bullying (which, with social media, is so on the rise that younger and younger children are committing suicide).

When a father figure is in the life of a boy, often, they directly model what it is to be a responsible man in today’s times. And when a father figure is in the life of a girl they model what good men are like and may help improve their judgment when they begin to date.

Perhaps your children are grown. Or perhaps you don’t yet have children or you are a mature person who is childless. There are still opportunities to share your wisdom and kindness with younger folks who badly need to experience the personal attributes and the wisdom you have to share.

Please consider stepping up to the plate and making a difference in the life of a young person — it’s a sure way to leave a legacy that your own life mattered and that your shared wisdom will rain down through the ages well beyond your time on the planet.

Consider the book:

HOW TO LIVE FOREVER, The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations by Marc Freedman

And check out these websites:  (Big Brothers Big Sisters of America)



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Blaine Howerton

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