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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fatherhood: The Sad Reality of the Absentee Father

This is the second post in a week long series on Fatherhood.  This series is dedicated to my dad, Fred L. Tousey. 

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan observed “there is no institution more vital to our nation’s survival than the American family.  Here the seeds of personal character are planted, the roots of public virtues first nourished.  Through love and instruction, discipline, guidance and example, we learn from our mothers and fathers the values that shape our private lives and our public citizenship.”

In Robert Lewis’ book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” the author references a survey that revealed 76% of high school students and 81% of college students list parents as their biggest moral influences.

There is also a sad reality that many dads do not take an active role in their children’s lives.  This creates a gaping hole because every child likes to view his or her father as a super hero.  Most of us can remember bragging to our friends how our dad was bigger, better and brighter than all the other dads. For the lucky kids this is only a small stretch from reality, but for far too many it is only a fantasy because their father was absent either emotionally or physically. 

An absentee father not only affects his children’s lives but society as well.  I challenge the men, both young and old, who are reading this blog to commit to being strong fathers, strong husbands and strong, positive role models to all around them.  Reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously and invest eternally.

Governor Bob Ehrlich recently observed “During my tenures as Governor, Congressman and Legislator, I visited many of Maryland's juvenile and adult correctional facilities. Often, I left in a melancholy mood. These are no places for the faint of heart. The scenes are right out of "Scared Straight" and disturbingly predictable: jails full of mostly young men with little formal education. Dropouts are plentiful. Many are alcohol or substance abusers. Some suffer from mental illness. Few possess marketable skills. And a majority come from fatherless homes.”

Governor Ehrlich’s observations are supported by Department of Justice statistics which reveal 90% of all prison inmates are males.  The lifetime chance of a women going to prison is 1.8% while it is a staggering 11.3% for males.

The role of fathers is critically important to our children yet many men fail in this responsibility.  In tomorrow’s blog we will discuss a program which is dedicated to educating men how to honor their responsibilities in all phase of their life.  The program is Men’s Fraternity.  We will specifically discuss rejecting passivity.

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