“Be a father if not why bother son, A boy can make ’em but a man can raise one.”

Wise words by a young rapper at the time, Ed OG (and Da Bulldogs). I wish more men actually listened to the lyrics, while they were boomin in their jeeps.

Today, in the United States, about 40% of babies are born to unmarried women.  Obviously some of those children have fathers in the picture; dedicated, loyal, devoted fathers for whom the lack of a marriage certificate makes no difference in their desire and ability to be enthusiastic parents. (Similarly, there are married fathers who are disinterested and uninvolved parents despite their married status).  But the truth of the matter is that kids need dads.  All the time, not just on Father’s Day.

I, for one, grew up without my father in the house (or in the state for that matter), and as I get older I sometimes wonder if having him around would have made a difference for the better. I love my dad, and have no ill will towards him, and I know he loves me, but we honestly have no real relationship. It’s kinda the “see ya when I see ya” that you may have with a certain friend.  It’s all love when we get together, but other than that he’s on the back burner of my thoughts. Barack Obama didn’t have his father and he is now our President. My best friend growing up had both his parents in the house, and he got into gangs and was in and out of prison. But there are some statistics to support having a “good” father figure around.

Having an active, committed, loving father makes growing up a lot easier: It means a child is less likely to drop out of school, less likely to be poor, less likely to spend time in jail, less likely to commit suicide, and less likely to be sexually active at a young age.  Kids who are close to their dads feel loved and cared for.  They have better self-esteem and a better sense of emotional (and physical) security.  Fathers provide guidance and discipline, are an important male role model, and another caring adult to share the responsibility of parenting.  Growing up with a father makes an enormous difference in the life of a child, and in the life of man.

So take the time to be a dad.  There’s a lot more to it than getting someone pregnant or buying diapers now and then.  And if you aren’t ready to be a dad, which is perfectly okay and understandable – then be a man and use a condom. BIG shout out to all the dads holding it down, and being around, and staying involved in your child’s present as well as future.

Happy Father’s Day.

-Mr.CEO (Dad)