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Why Dads Matter

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Casey Sykes /The Grand Rapids Press via AP

I am my father’s daughter. There’s no doubt about it.

When I compare my baby photos to his, it’s hard to deny the uncanny resemblance. The blond curly locks, the big eyes, the smile. The Hoffman side, he often reminds me, prevailed. 

Many of my social media followers are familiar with my dad. He’s a frequent guest on my podcast, and I post about our fishing adventures together. It’s funny to see people, many who are complete strangers, clamor for more posts of him. Why wouldn’t he be well-received across digital platforms? His Lithuanian accent leaves an indelible impression on others. His story of fleeing the Soviet Union captivates listeners wherever he goes. And his love of the Great Outdoors has inspired others to tap into their wild side. 

For most Americans, fathers play an integral role laying the foundation in their lives. And their importance, like with mothers, should be encouraged. 

The Science Doesn’t Lie: Dads are Important

Fathers matter in a child’s life. Not only does their presence matter, their intrinsic role as providers should be celebrated.

"Fathers are important in raising a child, and it manifests itself in the health of the child," said Solomon Polachek, a distinguished research Professor of Economics at Binghamton University 

Involved fathers, like involved mothers, serve different yet complementary roles in raising successful and productive kids today.

Dr. David Popenoe, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, said in his book Life Without Father, “Involved fathers – especially biological fathers – bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring. They provide protection and economic support and male role models. They have a parenting style that is significantly different from that of a mother and that difference is important in healthy child development.”

Like Mothers, Fathers Shape Their Children—Especially Daughters

Like my mom, my dad set high standards and reasonable expectations for me to thrive, succeed, and prosper. I attribute this to their authoritative parenting style, where parents “carefully defined limits for children, the one who is a good role model and praises children for their efforts.” And experts agree this is how children, especially daughters, should be raised.

According to one study from The Ohio State University, stronger father-daughter bonds correspond to fewer instances of loneliness exhibited in our formative years.

"The bond between fathers and daughters is very important," wrote Xin Feng, the study’s co-author and an associate professor of human sciences at OSU. "We found that closeness between fathers and daughters tends to protect daughters and help them transition out of loneliness faster."

Daddy Lessons

My mom has molded me into a feminine, confident young woman. My dad, in turn, supplemented her in different ways. 

He taught me everything I know about fishing. In lieu of a son, I became his de facto fishing buddy—all the while retaining my girlish ways. Time on the water served as a backdrop for learning about life, talking politics, and making memories.

My dad, a general contractor, encouraged me to start my own business. I credit him for inspiring me to branch out on my own to start my consulting business. Seeing him work with clients firsthand and visits to job sites were riveting experiences. I’ve seen his business at its low points (the 2008 financial crash) and its high points (recent business successes). He never quits or grows dispirited. Dad is the epitome of the American Dream, and I continue to draw inspiration from him for my business today. 

My dad also taught me to be an eternal optimist. As much as the Soviets deprived him and his fellow Lithuanians of basic freedoms, they failed to quash his thirst for life. His persistence, coupled with luck, eventually led him and my mom to America in January 1986. I look to my dad’s life story for inspiration and remain hopeful about life in America. Like him, I truly believe the best is yet to come. 


A constant refrain my dad said to me is, “You must be three times better than the rest in order to be equal.” 

This saying of his has especially resonated with me. He taught me to meet obstacles head-on, to strive for the best, and to prove my detractors wrong. He also stressed never settling in life—whether in relationships or in my career. For that, I’m grateful.

Without my dad, I wouldn’t be 


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