cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
When I grew up almost everyone had a father living at home. There were a few who had lost a father to illness or war or, sometimes, divorce. But most everybody had a dad. Our dads came in a variety of styles and flavors; some were very involved in the lives of their children; some were working two jobs to make ends meet and were not always home as the result. But, most everybody had a dad. We'd complain about our dads making us do this or that, but we had a dad. I worked on paper routes when I was old enough to become a 'carrier'. I peddled my bike all over Viroqua, WI delivering papers and collecting the weekly 35 cents that the paper cost in those days. On the rare occasion when Dad thought the weather too tough, he'd get the car and drive me on my route. That happened very seldom, but I still remember those times.
I learned a lot from my Dad. The thing that surprises me the most is that I learned a lot that I didn't know I was learning. He taught me that you always did what you said you would do. He taught me that things weren't always going to be easy, but that we had to persevere in spite of the obstacles we encountered. He wasn't perfect; none of us dads are. But he taught me much even through my observations of his imperfections.
There is an alarming trend that has gone on for some time having to do with dads. The result of this trend is that there are many more fatherless homes today than ever before. Juan Williams wrote an article published in the Wall Street Journal today on this subject and gathered some startling statistics. Startling to me at least, and I suspect to you, too.
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, 22% of white children do not have dads in their homes; 31% of Hispanic children do not a father in their home, and 56% of black children have no father present. Of course, this is usually the result of the out-of-wedlock birth rate. The overall out-of-wedlock birth rate in the country today is 38%. Some 28% of white children are born to a single mom, 50% of Hispanic children are born to single mothers and 71% of black children are born out of wedlock.
There are fewer and fewer male role models in America's homes and that is leading us to some major problems, in my opinion. About 40% of single-mother families live in poverty. As Williams points out, "even in kindergarten, children living with single parents are more likely to trail children with two parents when it comes to health, cognitive skills and their emotional maturity."
It is easier to understand the current state of our society when we look at things of this nature. What might our crime rates be if this were not the case? Would we have the same rates of drug abuse if there were more two parent homes?
To borrow the movie title, we really could use a good dose of "Back to the Future" to get our society back on track. And, that is up to each and every one of us if it is to happen. It isn't someone else's job. It is my job and it is your job; and it is a very important job indeed!