“You know, if fathers just did what they’re supposed to do half of the junk that we face on the streets wouldn’t exist.” This quote in the movie Courageous by Nathan Hays has been getting a lot of attention in social media as of late. I have seen it numerous times on friends Facebook pages, through twitter feeds as well as here on WordPress.
While I support the idea that fathers should step up and act like a father and be present in the lives of their children, I struggle with the overall message of this quote and the implication that “half” of the junk seen on the streets wouldn’t exist. The message that this sends to society is that the problems are a result of “deadbeat” dads. Children without fathers.
There have been numerous studies done on the importance of the role of an active father in a child’s life. This can hardly be disputed as study after study confirms the importance of this sacred responsibility that men have with their children. I do not take issue with the facts that children are better adjusted when there is an active role taken in their lives by their father.
What I find deeply disturbing by this message is the blame being placed across the board on the men, the fathers of these children.
What about the mother? What is her responsibility to ensuring that the children have adequate contact with their fathers? How many times have we seen in society where women in particular use the children as pawns and punishments against the fathers? When mothers deny access, visitation, telephone conversations this directly impacts the relationship a father can maintain with their children. When mothers continually belittle, attack and verbally abuse the father of the children the resulting damage creates a lifetime of issues for the children.
As a father who has spent a decade fighting to be a part of my children’s lives, through one attack after another from a mother who sees her children as her property, her possession to do as she wishes I take great offense to the above quote! Numerous times have I gone to pick up my children and spend the few hours I get with them only to be denied visits. Ironically when police are called they refuse to enforce a court ordered mandate of visitation yet will be the first ones to arrest a father for past due child support. The message we send to society is that fathers are only a pocketbook and that mothers have control over the children.
Messages like the quote from this movie exacerbate the problem and lump all fathers into the same category without any regard for the derelict actions of the mother. There are many fathers in this world fighting every single day to be a part of their children’s lives only to be confronted by an obstinate, contentious mother who desires to “punish” the father through the children.
The problem as quoted above is wildly misrepresentative of the facts. The fact is and should be quoted as that “If PARENTS just did what they’re supposed to do half of all the junk that we face on the streets wouldn’t exist.”
As long as we continue to place blame on absent fathers without looking at the causes and reasons behind it, until mothers are held to the same standard then the problems will never disappear.
A child needs BOTH parents whenever possible. Any parent who denies the other parent of a relationship with a child should be prosecuted and severely punished. Many of our issues in society are a result of broken homes and relationships with parents, while both genders deal with visitation issues, the fathers tend to suffer the greatest in being denied those visits.
It’s time to stop blaming fathers and solving the issues that prevent many of them from fulfilling that role they so long desire to be.