In "The New F-Word: Father," a recent Washington Post column, Kathleen Parker discusses a recent Pew Research Center study on household income dynamics which shows that 40 percent of U.S. households with children under 18 are run by women who are either the primary or sole breadwinner. Parker recognizes that this data is irresistible fodder for the "are men really necessary?" crowd and is quick to give her take on why men "should be saved." She lists many good reasons, but the crux of her argument boils down to one simple fact:
"Because, simply, children need a father. That not all get a good one is no argument against what is true and irrevocable and everlasting. Deep in the marrow of every human child burbles a question far more profound than those currently occupying coffee klatches: Who is my daddy?"
Parker speaks to the deep importance of an issue frequently glossed over in favor of the stereotypical feminist narrative. All too often, discussions of fatherhood are dominated by women who feel they are Exhibit A in the growing mountain of evidence for why men are not necessary. It's generally the elite, wealthy, upper-class professionals with post-graduate degrees who delight in pronouncing the end of men – or at least their gentle emasculation. For such women, their position on the issue of "male necessity" is rooted in selfishness, myopathy, and spite. Their concerns are cosmetic, sociological, and political, but they are not humane. They are so consumed with the idea of righting some ancient and cosmic wrong committed against their sex that they don't stop to consider the larger principles at stake.
It takes great humility to submit to a purpose and order higher than the self, and this is precisely what Creation requires of us all. There is meaning implicit in the words "man" and "woman," "father" and "mother" that cannot be eviscerated by the winds of cultural change or an evolving economic model – meaning that burbles "deep within the marrow of every human," as Parker so eloquently puts it. Quite simply, men are hardwired to protect and provide. This is written into the very core of their essence. Women, on the other hand, possess an instinct to nurture and comfort. Does this mean that the one is completely incapable of doing the other, or shouldn't do the other? Of course not, but it does imply that there exists a natural family arrangement which reflects the order of Creation. Men and women are designed to exist together in a complementary relationship. Fathers teach their sons to be honorable and brave and are critical to the development of self-worth and emotional security in their daughters. Mothers are models of grace, compassion, and unconditional love. To ignore this – or to attempt to reverse it or evolve beyond it – is folly.
This is why you'll never hear a poor working-class single mom struggling to pay the bills, put food on the table, and fulfill both parental roles celebrate her "liberation" from the shackles of the traditional family model. Chances are when she lies awake at night contemplating her future and that of her children, she feels the absence of a husband and father lying in the bed beside her. Every day, she and her children pay the price for a culture that has marginalized the role of men to that of mere inseminator.
William Jeynes at the Witherspoon Institute writes about the impact of America's move away from the traditional two-parent model in 2011. His excellent article is worth reading in its entirety, and the statistics he cites are sobering. For every white collar feminist who manages to "have it all," there are countless families that aren't so lucky. The harmful impact of our culture's all-out assault on the traditional family model is overwhelming. From the article:
"Social scientists cannot be phlegmatic about the influence of single parenthood on children, because the consequences of this family structure are much more far-reaching than short- (or long-) term economic instability . . . . The truth is that children from fatherless homes are more likely to be rapists, murderers, or commit suicide. They are more likely to drop out of school, to be unemployed for long periods of time, and to be homeless. They are more likely to abuse women and their own children. The need for compassionate individuals who can reduce the effects and, more broadly, the incidence of single-parenthood is manifest. Children from intact families are less likely to have pre-marital intercourse and are less likely to get divorced than their counterparts from non-traditional family structures. On average, children from intact families consistently fare better by almost every measure of psychological, behavioral, and academic well-being than their counterparts in non-intact families."
One might think that making a case for the traditional family would be easy given the mountain of data on our side, but the conversation is repeatedly hijacked by those who frame the debate in terms of gender politics, feminist empowerment, and individual "choice." It's not being discussed in terms of what's ultimately good for humanity.
Ultimately, this scorched earth approach to anything faintly resembling traditional morals and values has the potential to spell the undoing of America as we know it. Nothing that has made our country the strongest, freest, and most powerful force for good that mankind has ever known can survive if not supported by good people committed to good ideals, including the ideal family model.
America needs men, America's women need husbands, and their children need fathers. We ignore these truths at our peril.