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Written by Ben Jorgensen, The Clearwater Progress   

In need of good dads

     Father’s Day is a reminder that we need good fathers who can change the world through positive and strong leadership of their families.

     Virtually every social ill facing our nation today has what experts call a father factor involved.

     In 1960, only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes, but that number skyrocketed to 33% by 2011 (24 million), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

     Society needs good, strong fathers. Children especially so.

     “Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents,” according to the Census Bureau.

     Freedom Advocates agrees, stating: “Virtually every major social pathology has been linked to fatherless children: violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, unwed pregnancy, suicide, and psychological disorders—all correlating more  strongly with fatherlessness than with any other single factor, surpassing even race and poverty.

     The majority of prisoners, juvenile detention inmates, high school dropouts, pregnant teenagers, adolescent murderers, and rapists come from fatherless homes.”

    If you are a deadbeat dad, start changing today. Not having had a good father is no excuse for not being the father you should be.

     If you are a good dad, keep up the good work and stay strong.

     ere are a few considerations for becoming a better father.

     1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. One of the best ways to help your children is by respecting their mother. When children see parents respecting each other they are being taught how to have a proper relationship.

     The simple act of demonstrating respect teaches boys how to become a decent man who treats women properly. It teaches girls that they deserve to be treated respectfully by men. She will also learn what kind of man she should be looking for in a future husband and father of her children.

     Strong fathers don’t stonewall (ignore) their wives, walk away from them, or speak down to or angrily at them. If you’ve lost your way in this area just think back to the first impression you wanted to make on your honey before there was even a relationship. Put that same kind of attention and tenderness into everything you do today. Build the habit.

     2) How should you spend your time? How you spend your time teaches your children what’s import to you. If you are too busy for them they will feel neglected no matter how much you say otherwise. Remember, missed opportunities are lost forever.

     3) Listen and look for the good. Listening to youngsters’ simple conversations at an early age will help in handling conversations of a difficult nature later.

     Although it’s all too easy to mention only the things your children have done wrong, strive for balance. Find at least as many things they are doing right. Just like plants, children grow best with praise.

     Don’t reserve the words I Love You for rare occasions. Like the good china in the cupboards, it’s meant to be used. Every occasion is special with your child. Boys need to hear it too.

     In addition to finding positive things to say, consider blessing your child. We ask a blessing over the food, why not over our children? It is an invaluable tool of bonding and encouragement.

     It is the place of a father to ask a blessing over his children and there is no age limit. Gramps can do this for their grown sons and grandsons, and young fathers for their children. It could be a blessing for entering high school, or a new job, or a relationship, or overcoming a personal or professional challenge.

     4)Discipline is not a dirtyword. The meaning of discipline actually has more to do with teaching than punishment. It’s good to remind children of the consequences of their actions, but doing it in a calm and fair manner. Look for a teachable moment instead of another tortuous lecture. Good fathers teach children about right and wrong and encourage them to do their best.

     5) Find good books and read to your children. I still fondly recall my dad reading non-fiction animal stories to me as a child. I especially remember one about an enormous snake swallowing an entire pig. That’s a lot of bacon! Instilling children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal growth.

     6) Make a lasting memory. Plan to do something that your children can always remember. Maybe it’s catch in the backyard, a certain card game each week, a special meal, or even a regularly scheduled walk and talk.

     7) Laugh heartily. There is nothing so musical and healthy as a good belly laugh. Good dads are protectors, providers and leaders, but they also need to be joy bringers. Joy, like a good father, strengthens.

 

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