by Ward Williams
Growing up in the 1980s, there were lots of different images depicted of the American father. From the smart and compassionate father from Family Ties and Growing Pains, to the benevolent father of Different Strokes, and of course the buffoonery of Al Bundy and Homer Simpson. And we can’t forget the house full of single men raising daughters in Full House.
Everyone has a picture of what an ideal dad is supposed to be. Over the next couple of months in this space, I hope to share with you why fathers still matter today. National Fatherhood Initiative research has concluded that involved fathers help kids have better grades, have better verbal skills, better physical health and more confidence. Statistically speaking, children growing up in father absent homes are more likely to die in infancy, live in poverty, end up in prison, use drugs, be abused, be overweight, and not finish high school.
I grew up in a single-parent home, and I know there are plenty of children who grow up happy, healthy, and become successful without a father in the picture. I also knew from a young age that I wanted my kids to have a different experience from my own and to know a home with a stable, happy and involved father. l have been married for over twenty years and have three children, two boys (17 and 15) and a girl (12). I love getting to be a dad to some nutty kids and hope to share some fun stories with you over the next several months.
Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.