Father daughter dance: Just my way of showing how meaningful being a dad is to me. Fatherhood is sometimes forgotten in importance – especially with so many fatherless kids out there – so I want to show respect to all the dads out there working hard and doing all they can for their kids. Fatherhood matters.
Growing up without a father is difficult for any young man, but one of the consequences of that challenge is learning how to be a great father himself without a solid male role model of fatherhood in his own life.
My friend Scott’s father left Scott’s family when Scott was about 3 years old and was never part of Scott’s life. While his single mother was amazing in supporting and raising Scott and his sisters, he only experienced the influence of a father in his life by watching how other boys and their fathers interacted. He explained to me that he felt many of the consequences of growing up without a father, like not having a dad as his youth sports coach or not having someone to talk to about the issues involved in growing up from boy to man.
But he really felt the lack of a consistent father figure in his life when he and his wife became the parents of a new baby. He felt totally overwhelmed and quite frightened at the prospect of wanting to be a great dad for his baby but at the same time having almost no personal context, having experienced growing up without a father of his own.
Scott’s story is tragically not all that unusual. Today in the United States, 24 million children do not live with their biological father. 40% of these American children have not seen their father in the last 12 months, and 26% of their fathers live in a different state. Given these statistics, more and more young men will be embarking on fatherhood without having had a solid father as a male role model in their lives.