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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

A father fills a very needed family role

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Today being Father's Day, it seems only appropriate to share some thoughts on the subject. For starters, I may well have written virtually the same column in the past. After nearly 30 years of writing these opinions, cut me some slack if I'm repetitive from time to time. It goes with the territory.

I am blessed. I had and continue to have a strong father in my life. I can only imagine the difference had I not had that role model, that guidance, that advice through the years. And I certainly imagine it would have been tough.

Yet the reality is that millions upon millions of youngsters lack a father. There is certainly a personal price to pay for that missing element but society too pays a hefty price.

If you follow trends, the position of a father within the home is becoming a rare bird. That's an over exaggeration but not by much. Within some groups, single parent households now outnumber two parent homes. I strongly suspect that society has only begun to pay the enormous price of this disintegrating family structure.

It's easy to argue that one of the first declines in a society is the decay of the family structure. When we have a "baby's daddy" but not a father, we set the stage for a whole host of problems. You can recite the list as well as I can.

There has been some discussion in the past concerning some financial reward for family where the father is present throughout the raising of the children. It would probably come in the form of some tax incentive. Though I can't argue with the concept, I can express a growing dismay that society must reduce the role of fatherhood to some financial reward.

A father is much more than simply another adult in a household who theoretically provides some income through employment. That father provides the advice when the advice is the most needed. That father sets the boundaries, otherwise the street often sets the boundaries. We know what that gets us. That father is a daily example of how our family structure is designed to work. The list is endless.

Yet, I am blessed because of my father. And I hope and pray my children are equally blessed because of my involvement in their lives.

Someday - if not already - society will pay a price for the decline in fatherhood. And that price will not always be calculated in financial terms. Just look around and read the headlines. The price for this decline has already begun. Unfortunately, it seems to increase daily.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen