The US Census Bureau reports that today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line. Startling statistics about life as we now know it.
I often wondered about living as part of that 1/4. My parents were obligated to remain married and I thank them for that sacrifice. Immigrant households have always had different views for the purpose of marriage. And as I even still struggle with that concept, all I have ever known is having a father in my life. I am now more certain than ever that the benefits have outweighed the cost for me.
Fathers provide a sense of security. I’m your typical 21st century chick. I took my womanhood marching orders early in life. Yet, being in a home where I knew the bills would be paid and my needs would be met, left me time to worry about other things–like excelling at school and living my life. My dad was a hard working man who brought home the pay check, handed it over to my mom, and between those two, they made magic happen.
Fathers are your relationship templates. They are the first to show you what it is to be loved. How you should be loved and who you should avoid. They set the bar for every other man to fulfill. My husband knew when he asked for my hand in marriage he was taking with him a young woman with a very clear idea of what marriage should or should not be. It’s both in the lessons taught and untaught by fathers that children learn.
My teenaged self would have loved to live in a home where there was no rules, no curfews, and no discipline! All the things my dad provided. Truthfully, he didn’t have the “fun” parent role. I didn’t run to him with all of my teenage frustrations. I had mom for that. But when I needed a car in college he paid half. When I needed to be picked up from working late nights (five minutes from home) to go back to my college dorm (thirty minutes from home) for that first year, he was my ride. When my working self didn’t need his money to buy my prom dress, he insisted that I take it anyway. When I told him that I liked my then boyfriend and now husband, he cried.
I rest my case.