The Monday after Father’s Day, President Obama gathers famous fathers and their children, as well as numerous non-profit organizations to impress upon the public the need for loving fathers and guiding mentors in the lives of children. Studies show that children without the love and guidance of two parental figures in the home tend to engage in riskier social activities, including sex at earlier ages, drug and alcohol use and abuse. Many of these children are at higher risk for psychiatric problems, including depression and suicide.
In the last thirty years, the number of fatherless children in the United States has escalated to a startling number. With many fathers facing financial hardship and difficulty finding work, it’s often all to easy to bail on one’s responsibilities, and this is where Obama’s administration wants to help.
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President Obama’s initiative was inspired by his own youth, during which he grew up in absence of his father’s influence. According to census statistics, in 2009 more than 24 million children did not live with their biological father. In low-income families, the numbers were stark, with 2 out of 3 children growing up without both of their parents.
As part of Obama’s program, he is urging congress to pass on a budget proposal of $500 million for his Fatherhood, Marriage and Families Innovation Fund. This fund would be distributed to nonprofit organizations specializing in family and fatherhood, offering job training and economic incentives to fathers. The organization will also be offering a regular e-newsletter with advice, support and parenting tips at Fatherhood.gov.
Inspiring men to step up and provide their children with love, nurturing and support is imperative to growing a strong future filled with empowered, confident and strong young people.
I never knew my biological father, but I was fortunate enough to be adopted by my Dad shortly after he and my mother were married. He has always been and will always be my father, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Strong and loving male role models, whether they be fathers or not, are essential in a child’s life, and I love the fact that President Obama is focusing on and encouraging the importance of strong parenting.