The readers’ forum

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

 

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

Every child needs a dad who might or might not be his or her biological father. A dad is someone who’s there when a child needs him most, when guidance and the gifts of an open ear and caring heart are most important.

Dads come in all ages and stages of life. Grandfathers and uncles, cousins and big brothers, family friends, teachers, clergy, coaches and mentors — even commanding officers — can play the role of dad at critical moments in a young person’s life.

Foster and adoptive dads are among the most special people because their gifts are especially 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?

As a family policy advocate, I’ve come to believe that the absence of dads in the lives of children, either physically or emotionally, is one of the most obvious factors in contributing to childhood stress.

While it’s obvious that most moms are heroic and provide a phenomenal level of care, loving support, and family leadership, I have learned that children need more than one primary caregiver.

In studying family policy for more than 35 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 their influence detrimental to the child’s health and safety. But given the reality that child rearing, at its best, is a team sport, let’s develop a consensus to empower, support and when necessary, recruit dads to be there for children who need them.

I implore you to think of the life lessons learned — good or bad — from our fathers. Let’s honor them by emulating the good, overcoming the bad, and sending a signal to our children, in both word and action, that they are valued.

Jack Levine, founder, 4Generations Institute, Tallahassee

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens the American Dream

    Globalization is here, what’s not is fair trade. Congress should be deciding how trade agreements will affect ordinary people in this country and around the world, not government and big businesses representing the 12 countries that have spent years negotiating a massive new trade bill without telling the public about it.

  • Native Americans

    The July 20 article Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs describes how colleges around the country are seeing the need to create programs to prepare Native Americans to leave their tribes and start their college careers.

  • Protect humans

    The matter of eliminating mosquito control was described in the July 23 article County challenged on mosquitoes. South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard declared the city to be a “wildlife sanctuary.”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category