Father’s Day might be misnamed. I vote for Dad’s Day.

    I believe there’s a big difference between being a father and being a dad. The former is biological, the latter emotional. Fathering is an act of nature; being a dad is all nurture. It is certainly much easier to become a father than to commit to becoming a dad.

    BrothersEvery child needs a dad who may or might not be his or her biological father. A dad is someone who is there when a child needs him most, in good times and bad, when guidance and the gifts of an open ear and caring heart are most important

    Foster and adoptive dads are among the most special people because their gifts are often the most timely in the life of a child. Opening our doors and hearts to children whose needs are great and emotions fragile takes a certain blend of kindness and leadership. How many of us have the courage and commitment to accept another’s child as our own?

    The absence of dads in the lives of children, either physically or emotionally, is certainly one of the most obvious factors in contributing to childhood stress. While it is obvious that most moms are heroic and provide a phenomenal level of care, loving support and family leadership, I hold fast to the belief that children need more than one primary caregiver. Having studied the family for more than 30 years, I’m convinced that when a child is not afforded the advantage of a loving and caring male model, problems are more likely. Call me a traditionalist, but I think children live what they learn. And who among us has not benefited from the generous gift of male guidance?

    I certainly do not advocate putting children in peril if a parent is dangerous or his or her influence detrimental to the child’s health and safety. However, given the reality that child rearing is, at its best, a team sport, let’s develop a consensus to empower dads, support dads and, when necessary, recruit dads to be there for children who need them.

Source: Written by Jack Levine for The Ledger, Tallahassee, Florida

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