This is the time of year when I reflect a lot about my father and his influence on my life. I also think about all those who were not as lucky as I was to have had such an amazing role model. Recently, I’ve read some articles and statistics that have saddened me regarding the crisis of fatherhood. In the Psychology Today article by Ray Williams, he discusses the dangers of our becoming a fatherless society. Supposedly, this has not been a sudden shift, but one that probably began in the Industrial Revolution. In many ways, it’s also connected to the feminist movement and women taking on more powerful leadership roles, both domestically and professionally.
According to a study in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, when fathers are involved in their children’s lives, they learn more, perform better in school and exhibit healthier behavior.
To help bridge the gap, there are many organizations who guide fathers or father role models. The National Center on Fathering has an eBook called, Father’s Day Survival Kit, which makes a good Father’s Day gift. According to this organization, nearly 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Then, there are fathers who are physically present, but unable to be emotionally present. This center believes that fatherlessness is a national emergency that needs to be examined and studied.
Many of us don’t have to look far outside of our own little circle to see fatherless families. The statistics are jarring. Sadly, 63% of youth are from fatherless homes. There are those whose fathers are alive but have taken another path, there are those who are simply absent from the everyday lives of their children, and there are others who are deceased but not forgotten.
In addition to learning proper behaviors by watching our fathers, there are certain verbal wisdoms shared by fathers on a regular basis. Once in a while, it’s a good idea to stop and reflect on those wisdoms and how they influenced us and molded us as adults. This might also be a good writing exercise for both therapist and client. It simply serves as a good reminder to us all of the important role of fathers in our lives, and all the wisdom we learn from them.
My father was a Holocaust survivor and here are some words of wisdom he taught me:
For those of us who have lost our fathers, Father’s Day can be a sad day. Here are some suggestions on how to turn a negative into a positive: