This Sunday is Father’s Day. Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day isn’t quite such a big deal. I suspect that because we all have a mother – - but we don’t all have a father.
I say that with the full realization that we all have to have had a father, but that’s not the point.
Single mothers comprise 40 percent of all births in this country. In many cases, the father is no where around while that baby is born and is often not in the child’s life at all.
More than 50 percent of all marriages in the United States ends in divorce. Most often, it is the mother who gains custody of the children. The father is often gone from the house and has a tentative relationship with his children and sees them rarely.
We have a number of step-fathers who marry women with children by other men. In some cases, those step-fathers develop a good relationship with those children. But, sometimes, that’s not the case and the step-father is no more involved in the children’s life than the real father.
Now, I say this, with the full realization that there are good firm loving relationships which bring about strong families and great fathers.
I know many men who father children from women they don’t marry and work hard to develop a good relationship with their child. Many of them also support the child not only monetarily but with love.
I know divorced men, who sacrifice, to financially support their children and spend as much time as they can with their children.
I know step-fathers, who have adopted the kids from another man. I know step-fathers who love their step children as much as they love their own children.
But – - I’m a realist.
Our relationships with our fathers are complicated – - far more so than with our mothers.
Our society not only allows these complicated relationships but openly encourages women to have children outside of marriage.
Divorce is easy and the legal system is stacked against the father in custody cases.
Being a father today isn’t easy. I’m not certain it ever was, but it’s different now.
So, I congratulate those fathers who love and care for their children. Those fathers who stick around and support their children even if they’re not married to the mother.
And, I congratulate all of those step-fathers who have taken in other mens children and love them as their own.
Happy Father’s Day to all the true fathers.