We are in the middle of a father shortage. Well, maybe I should re-phrase that. There are plenty of dads. Dads are everywhere. Unfortunately, one in three kids does not live with his/her biological father. This adds up to roughly 24-million kids who do not truly know, or have never met their fathers.
These statistics are from fatherhood.org – the website for the National Fatherhood Initiative. For the record, I’m not here to point fingers. I know that plenty of fathers don’t even know they have offspring walking around on this planet. I know that some fathers are kept from their children. I also know there are plenty of dads who are simply absent; they’re not there, and they don’t want to be.
When I grew up, nearly every one of my friends had a dad hanging around. I grew up a fairly long time ago – forty-ish years – and I get that my generation is full of fuddy-duddies. I not only could recite the s#!t my own father said, I accumulated some great zingers from my friends’ fathers, as well.
My personal favorite comes from my own father. Louis LoBue’s classic line was, “Look with your eyes.” Just let that sink in. At first, it sounds ridiculous; but, when you think about it, it’s pretty clever.
Ever “look” for something with your hands? If it is dark, or the thing I’m trying to find is up high, the only way I will see “it” is with my hands.
I look with my ears when I’m driving and lost – I turn down the car radio so that I can better “see” where I am going.
Louis LoBue is a genius.
Billy Wayne, my friend Deanna’s dad, always made sure to tell us that if we needed him, he would be up at Bennigan’s Pub. He would sometimes tell us that while he was actually sitting in Bennigan’s, talking to us on the bar phone.
Mr. Billy Wayne was always at Bennigan’s. The bartender even knew my voice when I called the place. Never once did I think to utter a snarky, “Duh!” when Mr. Billy Wayne informed us of his all-but-certain intended whereabouts for the foreseeable future. I always found it pretty endearing that he wanted to make sure all of us – the five-to-eight or so kids hanging out at his house – knew where he’d be if we needed him. In that way, he was sort of everyone’s dad.
According to fathers.org, kids who grow up without fathers are twice as likely to drop out of high school, four times as likely to grow up in poverty, and 279 times (yes, 279) more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than kids who grow up with a father present in their life.
Look with your eyes, and you’ll see a world full of children in need of a father’s love.
Look with your heart, and notice the thousands of men who are stepping up, not just for their own kids, but for the children of women they love, for nieces and nephews, and for the wayward friends of their own kids.
To all of the dads, stepdads, friend-dads, uncle dads and grandads: thank you. Happy Father’s Day.