Sunday, June 19, 2011

Portrait for Today...Dad

Today is Father's Day.  A day when we recognize the value and importance of who, for most of us, should be the single most influential man in our lives growing up.  For many people, like me, Dad is the one that taught us how to ride a bide, fish, fix things, drive a car, catch a baseball, and a host of other little things.  He also taught us some of the big things though, like how to love a respect women (starting with our mom), how to be strong, how to slow down and think before we act, the importance of doing well in school, and how God should be the most important thing in our lives.

More after the jump.

Dads do all this and more.  And they do it all in a way that mom's simply don't know how.  Don't get me wrong, moms are just as important as dads, and there are many single moms out there doing the best they can without a dad in the picture through no fault of their own.  Not every father is a good father either, but it is a good father that makes a world of difference in the life of a child.  Here are some statistics I found on the importance of a good father to give you an idea.

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
  • Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
  • Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).
  • The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. Source: A. Anne Hill, June O'Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993
I was blessed.  I came from a house with both a mom and a dad that loved me and cared for me.  They both had an active role in raising me.  My dad isn't perfect, but I do think he did the best he knew how, and I think he did a good job.  Most of my earliest memories from childhood, including my absolute earliest, are of my dad.  My earliest memory is from when my parents were still building our house.  It was sometime between the spring and fall of 1987.  My little sister wasn't even born yet.  My mom brought me up to the house, where my dad was working on it.  There were still some wooden beams exposed.  I ate lunch with my dad.  Simple as that.  I had lunch with my dad.  One of my next earliest memories is from the summer of 1989, right before I turned 5.  We took a family vacation out to California.  I remember my dad driving the car most of the time.  But the two other things I remember well, were dad trying to put his arms around the giant California redwood trees, and him making what I considered "owl goggle sunglasses" (I don't remember exactly what I called them) with his hands when we were out at the Salt Flats because it was so bright.  :-)  Another of my earliest memories is again from a time when my mom took me up to where my dad was working at a job site back when he was a lineman with the cable company.  She took me to see him so I could have lunch with him again during his lunch break.  We had sandwiches.

I have a lot of fond memories of my dad growing up.  I don't get to see him very much anymore since we live several states apart now, but I do still enjoy seeing him.  So on this Father's Day, I'll just say thanks Dad.  I love you, and I hope you have a wonderful day just for you!

All photos in this post are © Joseph Rudin Photography

Now for some comedy.  My church showed us this video during the service.  It was originally made by a church in Tulsa in 2010, and now I'm passing it on to you.  Enjoy!


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