- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Opinion Letters Social programs should encourage families

I found rare agreement with Sen. Jim Davis in his statement implying that stay-at-home moms benefit their children. Personally as a mother who stayed home when my children were young and as a professional who worked with children and families for 30 years, I believe that ideally the best setting for a child to develop is a nurturing home environment with mature, caring parents.

But Sen. Davis is incorrect in saying that the greatest gift a father can give his kids is their mother at home. The greatest gift a father can give his kids is first and foremost to acknowledge they are his children. From that essential step, fathers could become responsible for their children, be a part of their daily lives, participate in their care and guidance, and support mothers in the demanding and toilsome task of raising children.

I found rare agreement with Sen. Jim Davis in his statement implying that stay-at-home moms benefit their children. Personally as a mother who stayed home when my children were young and as a professional who worked with children and families for 30 years, I believe that ideally the best setting for a child to develop is a nurturing home environment with mature, caring parents.

But Sen. Davis is incorrect in saying that the greatest gift a father can give his kids is their mother at home. The greatest gift a father can give his kids is first and foremost to acknowledge they are his children. From that essential step, fathers could become responsible for their children, be a part of their daily lives, participate in their care and guidance, and support mothers in the demanding and toilsome task of raising children. I know that many men are still this kind of fathers. Unfortunately, these days many men also sire children and are fathers only because of being there at the moment of conception. If these men would give their children the true greatest gift of saying “I'm your Dad,” the number of single mothers would drop precipitously and children's lives would be enormously enriched materially and in all the aspects that result in healthy and happy human beings.

So I suggest to Sen. Davis and all fathers in our state government that they start helping mothers stay at home with young children by passing legislature that promote programs that encourage fathers to be part of their families. Our social programs must be based on the reality of our world today that families need two income-earners just to meet basic needs. If the mother is to stay at home, government (yes, government) must provide the safety net to allow this to happen. The village must participate in raising the children and, in doing so, we might all benefit from having better- adjusted people in years to come who need less social services and place less demands on the community's resources.

To place some responsibility back where it belongs, government agencies should start enforcing child support laws so that absent fathers will at least contribute to the financial support of their children. If our present laws are too lax, then change them and put the financial burden on the broad shoulders that begot the children, thus decreasing the burden on everyone else. And one more suggestion: Let's encourage family planning. Young couples with low incomes should have access to the same contraception programs and methods that allow couples with more education and means to plan their families. Then maybe these parents-to-be could plan their children and for their children in the way that those who make the rules do. And it may come to pass that more fathers can give their kids the additional gift of a mother to care for them at home.

Olga Pader — Franklin, N.C.





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published: 10/18/2013
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