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Natural Awakenings Columbia

Fathers, Dads and Something …

Jun 01, 2020 06:52PM ● By Annette Briggs

Summer is finally here! And on Sunday, June 21, we will celebrate Father’s Day. With that, let me pose this: When I say (or, rather, write) “father,” what comes to mind? What about your father? What words, thoughts and feelings surface regarding your relationship with him? Hhhmmm, a good question, right?

The dictionary defines a father as “a male animal to its offspring.” However, it interestingly expands the definition to include: “an important figure in the origin and early history of something.” Wow, what a stark contrast found within the same word—stiff frigidity on one side of the definition and a sense of warm, inspiring hope and purpose on the other. But, think about it, these contrasting perspectives pretty much define the tale of two fathers. Some fathers can be characterized as simply “offspring bearers,” while others become “important figures” in the lives of what the dictionary labels “something.”

Actor and director Beau Bridges said of his father: “My father was my teacher. But most importantly he was a great dad.” Now that speaks volumes. Yes, there is a difference between a father and dad.

The father plays a critical role in the development of a child. The statistics are revealing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 90 percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. Moreover, daughters of single parents without a father involved are 711 percent more likely to have children as teenagers.

Sadly, there’s more. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 85 percent of children that exhibit behavioral disorders, 71 percent of high school dropouts, 75 percent of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers, and 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions have one thing in common: all are from fatherless homes. Yes, a male did take part in producing “something,” but how many opportunities were missed to become “important figures in the origin and early history” of each “something”? Each one has a name and a life story—many filled with pain, tragedy and regret due to the absence of one central developmental piece in their lives: a dad.

Fathers are everywhere, but dads are rare. To the dads of the world, I say thank you for understanding the importance of your role and presence in the lives of those that count on you. We need more like you. And, to the fathers that have been nothing more than “offspring bearers,” to you I say become a loving dad—an “important figure” in the life of a “something.” It means everything! Happy Father’s Day!

A something, too …

Annette Briggs

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