The billboards are everywhere. On one, a child's tiny toes rest atop the big, burly feet of a man, suggesting a playful moment between a dad and his toddler. Another portrays a laughing boy being chased by what appears to be his boisterous father. In another, a dad and son hop across the grass on bouncy balls in a larger-than-life spontaneous moment.
All of these images are captioned, "Take time to be a dad today" and refer to the Web site www.fatherhood.gov.
Positive images of fathers engaging with their children are a welcome message in a culture where families struggle to remain intact and mothers generally bear responsibility for childrearing.
Then again, I'm certain that our Founders are gathered in some corner of heaven wringing their hands and wondering how we evolved into a government that teaches its citizens how fulfill our most basic human responsibilities.
What next? Take time to brush your teeth today? Take time to blow your nose today? Take time to visit the potty today?
There's a reason they call it a "nanny state." But sure enough, this ad campaign is a major component of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' Office of Family Assistance (OFA).
It "supports efforts to assist states and communities to promote and support responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage."
Maybe I'm a cynic, but I think it's ironic that a government that quite literally is bankrupting our children by incurring incomprehensible trillions of dollars in public debt purports to be concerned about quality parenthood.
No matter. We have plenty of money for this sort of campaign, because after all, it's intended to go upstream to solve the root cause of other social problems. We know that single parents are at a measurable economic disadvantage as compared with those who are married, and that children who grow up in two-parent families enjoy countless educational, social and psychological benefits compared wih their single-parent peers.
Since the research clearly proves that America would be better off if more couples married and stayed in healthy marriages, and if more children were born to two married parents, and if more fathers were committed to both their wives and their children, it must be the job of the federal government to make it so.