Facebook was filled with pictures of people and their fathers yesterday – and I loved it. I loved watching my Facebook newsfeed fill up with pictures of all of my friends with their dads, in honor of Father’s Day. We often forget to recognize the crucial role that fathers play in the world today, but the truth remains evident – dads matter, a lot.
In a world that is so focused on individuality and dismantling the traditional familial structure, fathers still matter. It really doesn’t matter where you came from or whether you were rich or poor, what matters most is whether or not your dad was an integral part of your life.
Father’s have an important role to play in their children’s lives at every stage, even before birth. If a father was absent during the pregnancy, the infant death rate is nearly four times higher than the children whose fathers were engaged. After birth, children who have fathers that read to them, play with them, take them on adventures, and take care of them, statistically have fewer behavioral problems during their early years, and they have lower rates of delinquency and criminal behavior in their adolescent years.
According to University of North Carolina’s Lynne Vernon-Feagans, fathers are also crucial to language development and the future success of their children, even more than their mothers are. Mothers usually spend more time with their kids, but the time that kids spend with their fathers is integral to their development. The American Enterprise Institute found that teens with engaged fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college and those with “very involved” fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate.
Another researcher found that parental acceptance (especially fathers) influences their children’s personality, which could also have an effect on their future success. This study found that children who are accepted by their parents are independent and emotionally stable, they have strong self-esteem and hold a positive worldview; whereas, those who feel rejected exhibit the opposite—hostility, feelings of inadequacy, instability and a negative worldview. Fathers also help their children develop empathy, which is also imperative to a successful and balanced life in our world today.
While studies show that fathers are an integral part of both their sons and daughters’ lives, fathers play a particularly crucial role in their daughters’ lives.
Studies show that dads shape their daughters’ communication skills, mental health, career plans, and many other integral facets of her life. Psychologist Sarah E. Hill, of Texas Christian University, found that fathers even have an impact on their daughters’ sexual activity and her relationships, which can obviously affect her future endeavors.
Dads matter and they have the capacity to change the course of their children’s lives. Life can be scary sometimes, and being a parent is no easy task, but one of the greatest things a man can do these days is be there for his kids – just be present.
While it’s important to know the facts about absent fathers, it’s also important to celebrate the great dads out there (including all future fathers).
Dove launched an ad recently about the power of dads. This new Dove campaign is part of an effort to celebrate the important role that fathers play in their children’s lives and to remind the world what is really means to be a dad. Being a dad doesn’t just mean being there for the fun stuff like Little League and camping trips, being a dad means being there for them in the moments they need you most.
Celebrate the great men in your life and thank the great fathers in the world for being great dads and most importantly, for being present. Being present has the impact to change the world – at least in one kid’s life.