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  • I came to see, over the years, that the cry of the fatherless is not one to be pitied. It’s not one to be exploited, and it’s not one to be lobbied against at our nation’s capital. Because the truth is, it can be beneficial for a child to grow in love with a mother and a father, but the presence of these two seemingly devout individuals is not imperative. I’ve watched girls grow into beautiful, self confident and trusting women without fathers. And I’ve watched boys grow into selfless, compassionate, and genuine men without fathers. I’ve seen mom’s screw up, big time, but in the life and times of so many of my friends, I’ve never even set eyes on so many their fathers. The trend is unnerving. A childhood best friend who’s father is only awarded a mention of a drinking problem; a sister-like figure with details of a father danced around for years; a best friend whom I urged to deny her father’s Facebook request after years of disconnection; a best friend who’s father refused to leave his life in another place to journey home with his mother after his birth; a friend of 10 years with a father whose only mention came a week ago, not from the friend herself, but her mother; divorce after divorce after divorce. I take from these instances a number of realizations. Not that fathers are an integral part of the child’s human experience, but rather the opposite. Why would we install so much power in these men who allude us by proclaiming the detrimental effects their absences have on the lives of our children? Do not empower them, because this of all things is not true. Our children learn to grow in love from so many people around them. Without fathers, children still grow, and without fathers they will thrive. There are, without doubt, effects. But they are simply the effects of the complex network of human relationships. Only when we perpetuate standards of family structures do children grow with expectations, filling a father’s absence with sadness, self-destruction, and self-pity. Do not dwell, child, for you are so loved by the community around you. And you learn from everyone around you. You are whole.
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