The Land :: www.TheLandOnline.com

Nuts & Bolts

June 12, 2014

No one is against devoted dads

NEW YORK — Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time for pundits and politicians to scold the American public - with special ire reserved for black members of the American public - for our supposed indifference to the wonder and awe of fatherhood. Jessica Lahey has a piece in the Atlantic this week called "The Case for Dedicated Dads," in which she argues, "Mothers are very important to their children's development, of course, but research has shown that fathers help kids grow in specific ways." Dozens of other writers are making the same argument, pegged to Father's Day, for a variety of local and national media sources.

"Being around dads affects children's biology, which in turn affects their mental states, like happiness, and their success in life," wrote Mark Oppenheimer in The New York Times earlier this month. Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal agrees, arguing, "The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering." The Atlantic, in particular, loves reminding people, over and over, that, given a choice between Great Dad or No Dad, Great Dad is by far the better option. There was "Why Dads Matter" on Feb. 23 (not to be confused with the new book "Do Fathers Matter?" Answer: Yes); "A Key to College Success: Involved Dads" on April 22; and "The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad" on June 14, 2013.

I love a good dad story as much as the next daughter, but I can't help wonder: Who are these writers arguing against? W. Bradford Wilcox, who single-handedly generates a good half of the "having a good dad is great, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!" content out there, intones, "Dads certainly seem dispensable in today's world." Lahey also argues, "Recently, some authors have claimed that parents don't really have much of an effect on educational success." But none of the people Wilcox or Lahey cite are down on the idea of having good, loving fathers around the house. They are simply assuring people who don't have access to one of those awesome dads that their kids are not doomed to failure.

Look, there is no "anti-fatherhood" movement in this country. Commentators who argue the "pro-fatherhood" side do so by pointing to the positive effects on kids from good dads who love their kids' mothers and live in the same houses. These pieces often assume that women are rolling in offers for loving, devoted families and opting for single motherhood instead. But most single mothers aren't in that situation because they are against the nuclear family or because they think fathers are bad for kids. Sometimes a dad is a good dad but not a good husband. Some dads are - gasp! - not good fathers at all and need to go. Preaching about how wonderful it is to have a loving, devoted father in the house is like going to the hospital and asking people if they ever considered not being sick.

Instead of repeatedly extolling the virtues of happy marriage and loving fathers, let's invest in economic stability, education and access to reproductive health care so that Americans can plan when they have children. These are the things people actually need to improve their chances of holding a family together. We know this because people who do have access to these things have more stable marriages. What we don't need are more lectures about how having a good dad is better than having no dad. Rest assured, everyone already knows that.

 

1
Text Only
Nuts & Bolts
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 24, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 24, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Afghanistan vet who ran to grenade gets Medal of Honor

    A former Marine Corps corporal who was severely wounded when he risked his life to shield a squad mate from a grenade blast in Afghanistan was awarded the nation's highest military decoration Thursday.

    June 20, 2014

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 20, 2014

  • Nelly-elephant.jpg Bet the farm: 5 'psychic' animals predict soccer victories

    Need some guidance on whom to place your bets for this year's World Cup? Since Paul the Octopus achieved a prediction success rate of 85 percent in 2010, hosts of animal oracles around the world have sought attention as soccer sages. Here's a look at a few of them.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is the FDA waging a war on artisanal cheese?

    Is the Food and Drug Administration waging a war on artisanal cheese?
    The answer depends on your perspective. But this much is certain: The agency's answer to New York regulators about using wooden boards to age cheese has caused an uproar in the domestic industry and raised questions about the status of imported cheeses that use the same process.

    June 12, 2014

  • Texting while driving is latest teen risk as smoking declines

    While smoking among American teens has fallen to a 22-year low, most adolescents admit to engaging in a new type of risky behavior: texting while driving.

    June 12, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
The Land's Twitter Feed