This section provides web links, PDFs and video of recent news stories about fatherhood from news outlets around the world.
The statistics are staggering. In 2001, 66 percent of black children were living in a home absent a father (more recent figures now put the number closer to 70 percent). That's double what it was in 1960. Compare that to 27 percent of white children living without a father.| Read story
The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man
In early July 2008, the National Fatherhood Initiative released a new study on the public cost of father absence. Click on the link below to view highlights of an interview with Ronald Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, and CSPAN.| Read story
Dads help keep kids off drugs
Regular readers know I am always looking for new dad statistics and the new Fatherhood Initiative is full of good dad data, such as the fact that kids with involved fathers are more likely to bring home good grades, avoid drugs and steer clear of breaking and entering.
The national media campaign draws from the National Fatherhood Initiative's wealth of data, including:
- "2.3 million: Number of single fathers, up from 400,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men."| Read story
American fathers worth rebuilding
One of my favorite television shows growing up was "The Six Million Dollar Man." It was about secret agent Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) who had been severely injured in a plane crash and then "rebuilt" for special missions with the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA. The operation to give him bionic, and thus more powerful, body parts cost $6 million.
The show's opening popularized the phrase, "We can rebuild him - we have the technology." Indeed, the government agency that rebuilt him vowed to make him "better than he was before - better, stronger, faster." Having this one man be better, stronger and faster was worth at least $6 million to the government.
In the wake of Father's Day, I was reminded of the show's premise when I considered the state of our nation's fathers and fatherhood in general. Like Steve Austin, the institution of fatherhood, in too many communities, needs to be rebuilt.| Read story
The Basics of Fatherhood
When it comes to issues of childhood health and raising kids, mothers tend to dominate the discussion. But as the Web site PsychCentral points out today, fathers play an essential but often undervalued role in the health and development of children.
In the essay “Fathering in America: What’s a Dad Supposed to Do,'’ Massachusetts family therapist Marie Hartwell-Walker talks about the role of fathers.
Fathers, faith and family
On Father's Day, Barack Obama delivered a sermon in a Chicago church chiding black men for their failures as parents. "Any fool can have a child," he preached. "That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."
Those powerful words elicited some telling reactions. Under the headline "Obama's Father's Day Grand Slam," David Brody of CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson) called it an "important ... and a defining speech" that "spoke directly to the concerns of millions of concerned parents across the country."
The connection between jobs, income and fatherhood
Some years ago, I wrote about a teenager named Kendra Newkirk, who was raised by her mom and had only seen her dad once in her life. Because of an emergency, Kendra and her mom had to meet the father at a particularly busy public location in Brooklyn.
Kendra had no idea what he looked like. "It was hard," she told me. "He could have been any one of those men walking on the street. I kept asking my mother: 'Is that him? Is that him?' "
I've been thinking about Kendra ever since Barack Obama spoke on Father's Day about the tragic flight of so many American fathers, especially black fathers, from their children's lives.| Read story
Promoting responsible fatherhood
Last week, Sen. Barack Obama spoke out at a black church in Chicago about the importance of father involvement with children and families. He knows that many men, including the poor, are struggling with the challenges of a new model of fatherhood, one in which they play a greater role in child rearing.
Obama is right to shine a spotlight on these critical questions. Now, we must broaden the conversation to make sure we give every father the opportunities and the tools to be a good dad.
When Mom and Dad Share It All
On her first day back to work after a four-month maternity leave, Amy Vachon woke at dawn to nurse her daughter, Maia. Then she fixed herself a healthful breakfast, pumped a bottle of breast milk for the baby to drink later in the day, kissed the little girl goodbye and headed for the door.
But before she left, there was one more thing. She reached over to her husband, Marc, who would not be going to work that day in order to be home with Maia, and handed him the List. That’s what they call it now, when they revisit this moment, which they do fairly often. The List. It was nothing extraordinary — in fact it would be familiar to many new moms. A large yellow Post-it on which she had scribbled the “how much,” “how long” and “when” of Maia’s napping and eating.| Read story
Fathers and Druthers
So how was Father's Day for you? Did you get a new tie and a Sinatra record? Oh, you got a game for your Wii and the new Death Cab for Cutie? Cool. Pretty great to be treated like a king after a long week at the office, right? What, your wife's got the full-time job? No, it's your partner, Fred, who does? Still, family's first and it's a great day for . . . Your ex got full custody and you spent the day pretending it was any other Sunday? Sorry to bring up a sore subject. So remind me again: What exactly was it we were celebrating a couple of days ago?
Fatherhood isn't just challenging; it's changing. It's probably been changing ever since Adam had to confront his sons' challenging behavior, every generation doing it a little differently. But some ideas of what a father is have hung on pretty tenaciously: He's a provider; he's a role model. Here are some others: He's not big on expressing love; he's probably off working somewhere during the piano recital; he can barely boil water or wash his own clothes, so don't even think of leaving the kids alone with him.