2007-06-15 / On Second Thought

It's not a criticism, it's an observation.

Substitute mothers cannot be fathers
Mike Cox

Harmon Killebrew played professional baseball in the 60s. He was a manly man in the days when such a thing was still allowed. The Killer played for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins for nearly 20 years. He hit 573 home runs in his career and is in the Hall of Fame. I don't think he ever stood and admired any of his homers, pounded his chest in public, or referred to himself in third person.

He remembered a father who would roll around in the yard with him and his brother, tearing the grass up, bit by bit. When Harmon's mother admonished Mr. Killebrew and said he was destroying the lawn, he told his wife they were raising sons, not grass.

Back in those dark ages, fathers were still important, and were still fathers; not substitute mothers. Anyone who reads my weekly observations realizes I'm not very smart, but I don't understand why the lack of fathers over the last 30 years isn't recognized as one of the key contributing elements in the behavior of our children.

We blame television. We blame sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll. Now, we blame smoking in movies. We blame too much discipline, and too little. We target aloof parents and hovering, "helicopter" parents. Every time a kid goes insane, we blame guns or other kids.

My father taught me to catch a baseball, sit up straight, enjoy my own company, and respect every other living thing on the planet. He made me understand there were repercussions involved with making wrong choices, and it was my fault.

He was a special man, but not a unique one. All of my friends learned similar lessons, and we tried to teach our kids the same things, especially when our dads got a lot smarter as we grew into men.

Yet, year after year, we honor fathers by giving them ties and left handed compliments and write them off as the dumbest and least effective member of the family unit. Ignore the old guy, just make sure he gets the check to the bank.

In today's world, celebrities raise kids without benefit of fathers, teenage girls become pregnant and no one expects the father to be involved in any part of the process after the first two minutes.

As the number of drug using, gun toting, obscenity spewing people increase, we blame anything we find handy, except the missing father. I know we live in a feminist dominated world, and there is nothing wrong with it. But too often, the folks who tell us what to think and how to believe are afraid stressing the importance of men is somehow belittling what women have accomplished.

Today's mother is more powerful than any of her ancestors. Stressing the equal importance of a father shouldn't be a problem. Kids need a counter balance to a mother's instinctive protection. The planet is full of examples of this. A child needs guidance from both parents.

Melissa Etheridge may not think her child needs a father, but she's wrong. Baby daddies can't do it. Only fathers.

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