“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I first saw this inscription on a T-shirt with a picture of a fish on a bicycle. The woman who wore it didn’t look like a guy who loves men. I was in a health food store in East Lansing (Michigan, USA) where I was attending state college. It was in the 1970s, a decade in which rejecting and downplaying men was like a sport.
It also became acceptable for women to have children without husbands during this period; sometimes even intentionally. Divorces became more frequent during that time which led to a reduction in the role of fathers in families. Such a situation has left its mark on today’s family. From the 1970s until today, men are even more absent and even less valued in the family, but their important role in children’s lives has never changed.
The feminization of masculinity is a growing trend
Writer Randy Hain, author of The Road to Heaven: A Map for Catholic Men, says, “Men are generally faced with significant challenges.” “The feminization of masculinity is a well-documented and growing trend. The role of a man as the head of the family has been attacked, and pornography devours men of all ages at an alarming rate. ”Hain said this topic attracted him to write his new book because he is very concerned about the role of men in the world. “I am concerned that our young people, especially young Catholic men, are growing up without understanding their faith and without the responsibility God has given them, while being seduced by the false idols of our modern culture.
While writing this article, I read some statistics on the results of raising fatherless children. They are very nasty. So nasty that I decided not to include them in this text because otherwise you would have stopped reading this article or your stomach would have hurt. It is superfluous, therefore, to say what all the results indicate, that the children are much better off with the father in the house. Far much better.
Women have a role to play in strengthening the paternal role
I have been blessed to grow up with a wonderful father and I consider my husband to be a great father. I know that highlighting my husband (The author of the article and her husband have ten children.) and my father as an example can cause pain to those whose husbands and fathers are gone. I’m sorry about that, but we can’t downplay their importance in upbringing. God makes up for what we lack, so when we turn to Him, He helps us deal with the pain of our father’s absence. But we cannot deny the existence of emptiness without them in our lives.
No one can fix this situation, but moms can smooth it out so it doesn’t get worse. Women can also play their part in strengthening the paternal role. Fathers don’t have to be perfect to have a positive impact in the family. I’m not saying that children abused by a father are fine with such men. Such fathers are a tragedy, but nevertheless we should not reject the role of the father because of his shortcomings. Fathers are important, because when they are not there, it hurts. Statistics prove it.
Let us respect the fathers of our children
Dr. David Popenoe, a respected sociologist in the field of the role of fathers in education, was quoted in the study “The importance of fathers in the healthy development of children.” He said: “Fathers are much more than” other adults “in homes. Fathers involved in education bring positive benefits to their children, which no other person can make up for. ” Popenoe cites one study of school children who have good relationships with their fathers. Such children are very likely to be less prone to depression, misbehavior or lying and are very likely to have better social skills. “In addition, numerous studies have shown that children living with their father are very likely to have better physical and emotional health and achieve better academic results. They will avoid drugs, violence and delinquent behavior, “said Dr. David Popenoe.
We cannot have a good father in every home, but we can respect the fathers of our children. Life is complicated and full of disappointments. I don’t want us to close our eyes to real problems. But I want to suggest finding a way to build, not tear down the role of fathers in upbringing.
Practical ways to support fathers
- Do not complain to children about their father’s behavior, whether they are married or divorced from him. In this way you sow the seeds of disappointment.
- Show respect to the father of your children and insist that they do the same.
- Council for single women. Don’t have sex before marriage and don’t date men who you think will be bad fathers. The more women raise their standards and postpone sexual intercourse until after the wedding, the more men will appreciate them. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s still a step in the right direction.
- Show that you appreciate all the good that fathers do. Too often we complain about husbands / fathers instead of being grateful.
- Look for books on fatherhood and give them to others. Books like The Road to Heaven are very useful because they provide much-needed male encouragement to men.
- Don’t watch movies and TV shows that portray men as villains.
- Write and complain to sponsors of shows that support such negative TV content.
- Pray to St. Joseph for the intercession of your family and to bless your children with a good father.
- When you are in society, do not contribute to embarrassing the role of men, and if you hear something like that, direct the conversation to another topic.
- If you need a more positive attitude towards your husband, fix your attitude. Prayer, good books, and counseling can help in the long run.
- You are working on your marriage. Even if your husband doesn’t want to go to counseling or read marriage books, you can do it for him to steer your relationship in a positive direction.
- Let the children hear you tell their father how much you appreciate his sacrifice for the family.
- Tell the children how blessed they are with a father who loves them.
- Appreciate his talent and the extra things he does.
- Pray with the children for their father.
- Always tell children and other family members positively about your husband. It can only strengthen your family.
- Love and respect the father of your children because that is how you teach your children to do the same.
Women, praise your husbands
Women very easily get into the habit of complaining, instead of praising their husbands. Our children are listening. Even in families whose parents are divorced, the rejection of the father hurts the children in many ways. I listened to a speaker named Justin Fatica who said we are all wonderful. The teenager told Justin that his father was by no means wonderful when he left their family. Justin asked the boy if he missed his father. The boy answered in the affirmative. “If he wasn’t wonderful, you wouldn’t miss him,” Justin replied.
The more we focus on the “wonderful” part of fatherhood, the more everyone will soon begin to feel wonderful.
Patti Maguire Armstrong – Integrated Catholic Life
Translated by: Ljubica Perinić Staničić