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This article was published in Chronicle Newspaper. Fri, 13 Jun 2008.

No one should underestimate how important it is to observe Fathers’ Day and focus our thoughts on the critical role fathers play in our society as they influence our children’s lives for the better or worse.

A father’s role in the upbringing of children goes way beyond providing the basis of food and shelter. The presence or absence of a father in a child’s home; how a father relates to child’s mother; how a father relates to a child and how a father interacts with other in society all have an enormous influence on the development of a child’s personality, outlook on life, and behavior.

Father’s Day is a day to acknowledge the positive influence of fathers on children, as individuals and collectively. But it is also a day to reflect on the shortcomings of many fathers in society and seek remedies for their negative influence on many children. Unfortunately, many children today do not have a father in the home, yet their need for the influence of a positive male role model remains as strong as ever.

Fathers’ Day reminds us to do everything in our power to celebrate and cultivate caring fathers who make positive, lasting differences in their children’s lives, form which the entire society benefits. Similarly, we must leave no stone unturned to reduce the numbers of fathers who abdicate their child-raising roles, or who are negligent, or abusive —those who create the dysfunctional families that negatively impact our society.

The future of any nation is in the hands of its children, and family stability — or the lack of it — is an important determinant of the children’s welfare. The presence and contribution of fathers in vital to family stability, which determines the welfare of the children who hold the future of the nation in their hands. Therefore, we should invest heavily in policies and programmes that preserve and strengthen the role of fathers.

Authorities worldwide recognize the disproportionate contribution of absent and bad fathers to broken, dysfunctional families and pervasive negative effects such families have on the educational prospects of their children. Many nations are in danger of reaching the tipping point when no matter how much they invest in education and despite the best efforts of schools and teachers; they will not be able to overcome the negative impact of broken and dysfunctional families.

On Fathers’ Day, it is essential to take stock of the growing phenomenon of absent and bad fathers and its deleterious effects on the family structure and the educational achievement family structure or community would often step in and help out children with absent or irresponsible fathers. Nowadays there seems to be general shortage of these positive male role models in society.

Of course, if society continues to produce more and more males who lack the qualities to become good fathers and positive role models, men in general will eventually lose their status. Sustained exposure to an increasing number of males with loose family ties over many years will change the image of the typical man in Dominican society. Instead of being that of an honest, hardworking, caring father who heads a decent productive family, the image of typical adult dominical will degenerate into something unrecognizable.

This Fathers’ Day, as we celebrate the positive, productive, protective dads our society has produced, let us resolve to redouble our efforts to ensure that their gifts are passed on to successive generations. Let us make sure that the wholesome qualities of our best fathers are imparted to all out sons, so that images of the typical father remains as powerful and positive as ever.

Here is to all Fathers’ – HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY

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