I recently read this little article on how children are better off with than without fathers. Charity, values teaching by the school – these things cannot replace fathers. I agreed so strongly that I immediately wanted to link to the article on Facebook. Only one thing caused me to pause:
J. Warner Wallace, the article writer, suggested that we conserve “the traditional role of fathers.”
In my circles and others, traditional roles of men are often understood as males being the boss, males having to be sole breadwinners, etc. As such, that one sentence could be misunderstood.
The traditional way of having both your biological parents around – Mom and Dad – is usually really the best for children.* But none of these studies say that children are better off when Daddy is the boss of Mommy, or when Dad, not Mom, is the breadwinner between the two parents that are both around.
Yes, I believe in the importance of fatherhood. You could say I believe in a male biological gender role. But in a certain sense, I’d disagree. I argue that fathers should do the same thing most mothers do: Live in the same house as their children, be there for them, and love them. Like mothers, they should care enough to think about child rearing and what their children need to learn.
Arguably the most significant thing we “traditionally” regard as the female role – child rearing – is as much a male role! Modern society is both better and worse at giving men this traditional(?) role: Worse, since we already mentioned how single parenthood is sadly common in today’s world. Better, as today’s family men statistically spend way more time with their children than men of yesteryear.
Fathers who are as much needed as mothers, and in pretty much the same way, is an egalitarian value as much as a traditional one.
Note: *This post does not suggest that a mother should stay with an abusive father (or father with an abusive mother), because “children need two parents.” That will be like giving children spoilt food because “children need food.”