Fatherhood, one of the top two most important ranks to which a person can aspire, brings with it a host of responsibilities — as well as joys. Yet achieving this position requires no experience, no training and — as too many men elect to do — no long-term commitment.
Still, the importance of fathers in society has never been better documented. Fathers are understood to be more than just the second adults in a home, because fathers who are actively and personally involved bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring. Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood, according to studies cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And that holds true even when Dad doesn’t live in the home, although that situation does complicate matters.
Involved fathers can even have a positive effect on their children in an indirect way, because they benefit emotionally when they grow up seeing a healthy relationship between their parents.
One thing fatherhood does not require is a large bank account. Low-income fathers have been found to be just as caring and loving as those with more financial assets. Sometimes, however, they show their love in non-traditional ways.
Being a good father is a difficult assignment, but the basic requirements are minimal: be loving and be available. And to all American fathers who are striving to do exactly that, here’s hoping you have a Happy Father’s Day!