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Fathering is more than just providing DNA



Language is a good indicator of what a culture values. For example, our dictionary definition of mothering is “the nurturing of an infant or small child by its mother.” Parenting means “the rearing of children.” Fathering means “a male parent.”

Mothering is highly valued and appreciated in our culture; when people are sick or sad, they want to be mothered. The value of parenting is likewise recognized, as any number of books, blogs, and classes on the topic will attest. Fathering, however, is generally used only to signify the man who supplies the genetic material.

If mothers stopped mothering in mass, we would recognize it as an extraordinary problem that must immediately be rectified. One in three children live in homes without fathers, but rather than trying to aggressively change that statistic, the bulk of our energy is devoted to ameliorating the damage, not reversing it. However, like the specific and irreplaceable roles mothers play in their children’s lives, fathering cannot be so easily replaced.

Read more at my Washington Times Community Pages Column “Between Errands.”

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2 responses to “Fathering is more than just providing DNA”

  1. Cindy Watson Avatar
    Cindy Watson

    Children need fathers unless the father never does any parenting or fathering or sharing the load other than manipulating them and emotionally abusing them. And I just had to say this, and I did it hear rather than on the post site. It is SUCH a trigger for me. My ex-idiot never did anything in the just day to day stuff with the kids and is still manipulating them, claiming “parental rights”. It makes me want to scream, my kids were/are fatherless and need the church to step up to provide those “wings” . Sorry, huge trigger!!

  2. April Avatar

    Cindy, I’m so sorry that your situation difficult. We have to be aware individual situations when looking at overarching statistical information. As a general trend, children who grow up in father-absent homes are at a significant disadvantage. I know some of those children are probably safer and healthier because an abusive parent isn’t around. And 1000 times YES, the church must step up and try to meet the tremendous need of the fatherless. It’s a difficult problem with no easy answers.

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