Family LIfe

Universal Father's Week
by Kim Green-Spangler

Fathers are an important part of society. Besides providing a necessary half of the required DNA to create life, fathers are role models for both genders. It does take a village to raise a child. While a typical family can provide for a child's basic needs sometimes room must be made for others who can provide different services and meet other needs. A female will typically have a very difficult time providing a male's perspective to a child and vice versa. That's when it becomes extremely helpful when there is someone available to step up to the plate when a male parent is unable to fill that role. During Universal Father's Week the importance of fatherhood to the family is celebrated.

With more than 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, deaths, and absentee parents there are a large number of children raised in single-parent households. Unfortunately the majority of those households are headed by females, so there are many families without a regular male presence. During Universal Father's Week we should acknowledge and assist those men who are taking an active role in the lives of children whether or not they are actually their birth fathers. They are fathers, but also grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, brothers, friends, Big Brothers, teachers, coaches and even professional athletes who selflessly develop relationships with children because they recognize the importance of having a positive male role model present in young lives.

Why are fathers so important to a family? There are numerous reasons, some as simple as being the other person that a child can depend on and love, being the disciplinarian or the "good cop" to a mother's "bad cop" or just being the person to rough-house with. In addition, fathers can teach their daughters how they should expect to be treated by other males, how to develop a close relationship with the other half of the species, how to screen prospective suitors, and how to perhaps even develop a love of sports. They can teach sons how to respect women, how to become responsible men and fathers and how to contribute emotionally, physically and financially to a household.

The roles of each parent are multi-dimensional and quite unique. No one person of either gender can be everything to a child. It's fortunate that in many cases they no longer have to be. During Universal Father's Week remember to celebrate all fathers. But a special acknowledgement should go to those men who have opted to not be hindered by the traditional term of "father", and who have decided to play an active role in a child's life despite the fact that they did not actually father him or her.

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