By Scott Walker
SmallTownBigWorld.com and WGNS
Not everyone lives to the beat of the same drum. Of course, that is what makes life interesting for me to sometimes view from the outside looking in.
Personally, I enjoy a house that has a yard to mow, but then again I find it relaxing to mow with my headphones on. Others like to live where there is no need to mow, surrounded by nature at its best, which I understand.
Dwight Teagarden, who is holding the newborn, is from Murfreesboro, TN. He grew up here and he even went to Bellwood Christian Academy back when they had a full blown high school.
Teagarden was so excited to tell me about his new son. While it is true that he is a tad bit on the older side for a new child at age 57, you would never know by talking to him. He was all smiles, which is a very positive thing in this world of children growing up without a father in their life. However, I think his age makes him better understand the importance of a father being in a child's life.
So many studies show how important a father is or can be - which is eye opening if you have never dove into the subject.
A 2011 article in Psychology Today by Dr. Ditta M. Oliker touched base on the father and sometimes fatherless issue. One of the topics she brought up in her studies was that pre-1970, research on families typically left out the father or downplayed his importance. Of course, that led to reporting that was not representative of how powerful a father can or should be in the lives of his children. It also diminished the role of fathers greatly.
While research in the 1950's to 1970's nearly ignored the father, the dads were involved in a major way compared to families today.
In 1960 only 10% of children were raised without a father in the household. Today, that number is vastly different with 40% of homes lacking a live-in father. In 1950 there were 393 thousand divorced adults in America. In 2008, that number climbed to 8.4 million, according to the US National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States and National Vital Statistics.
Dr. Oliker wrote, "There is no question that fathers do play an important part in their children's lives; that the majority of studies affirm that an involved father can play a crucial role particularly in the cognitive, behavioral and general health and well-being areas of a child's life; that having a positive male role model helps an adolescent boy develop positive gender-role characteristics; that adolescent girls are more likely to form positive opinions of men and are better able to relate to them when fathered by an involved father; that it is generally accepted, under most circumstances, a father's presence and involvement can be as crucial to a child's healthy development as is the mother's; and that experiencing validation of their importance in the general parenting literature has made fathers much more conscious of their value and, in turn, leads to their greater desire to be involved."
A 2007 article by Julia Borisenko noted, "The absence of a father-figure is detrimental to child personality development. At the same time, fatherhood can be a factor of male personality development of the father." What is interesting about the article from Borisenko is that she is a Social Psychology faculty Department member of Kemerovo State University in Russia. In other words, translations of fathering roles are universal.
A woman was once was known for her many radical ideas and thoughts on women's rights once wrote, "Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father." While the views of Lydia Maria Francis Child in the 1800's may have been viewed as crazy for women at the time, today her views would probably be viewed as conservative.
The American Novelist from Massachusetts lived her life between 1802 and 1880. Child was against women being segregated to work by themselves and instead alongside men. She also hated slavery and spoke-out about the issue in her time on a regular basis. However, while she was pro women's rights 100 percent of the time in her day, she was also pro father.
In closing, I have to say that I find it interesting that starting in the 1800's a woman who was all about women's rights totally values the role of a father in a child's life. But today, women's rights is often about forgetting the father, simply based on my observation of movements across the country. I am also stuck in my thoughts about the 1960's, where the role of the father was left out of studies even though only 10% of households were without fathers in the home at the time. As I jump ahead to research in the 2000's, I confirm that 40% of households in America are fatherless. So where did our thoughts as a whole society change between the 1800's and 2000's? Why did we move so far ahead and forget about fathers only to realize in the 2000's that they are more important than originally thought?