From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
Do Fathers Matter?
Award-winning journalist Paul Raeburn notes in his new book, “Do Fathers Matter? What Science is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked,” that we acknowledge a father’s “authority and economic stability” in children’s home lives, but we don’t always take into account all the many other ways that dads contribute to the well-being of their children. As we approach Father’s Day this weekend, it’s a good time to look at new information social science is teaching us about the value of fathers.
Mr. Raeburn has spent the past eight years bringing together this disparate research, and the result is a new book that is astounding in its scope and perspective on fatherhood, with some of its revelations being downright shocking. He indicates that the death rate of infants when the father is not around prior to their birth is nearly four times higher than when the prospective father is present helping to support the pregnant mother.
The more involved the father, the better. When a father plays with, reads to, or takes his children on outings, those children have fewer behavior problems in elementary school and less risk of criminal behavior when they become teenagers. On the other hand, fathers who are depressed during pregnancy can increase the child’s risk of depression throughout his or her life.
One very surprising advantage of fathers cited by Mr. Raeburn is their influence on language development. Most people think of mothers as being the ones who shore up the right-brain activities — reading, creativity, talking — but Lynne Vernon-Feagans, of the University of North Carolina, found that in several important ways, fathers matter more than mothers in language development: language skills, success in school and vocabulary.
Taking a longer-range view, an American Enterprise Institute report in April found that teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college and those with “very involved” fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate. While the author, Brad Wilcox, of the University of Virginia, cites father involvement as a likely cause, Naomi Schaefer Riley speculates that it’s because fathers grant children more independence than mothers typically do. That freedom means more risk-taking in safe environments, thus preparing them for the real world and giving them the experiences that they need to mature.
Fathers, you really do matter to your family!
Published on Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 10:16 AM CDT