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Appreciating fathers on their special day

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 7:49 am

Dear Readers: How much do fathers matter? Same as I said for mothers on Mother’s Day: Worlds.

Yet, a lot of people aren’t “getting the memo.” The U.S. leads the world in fatherless families. In 1960, only 12 percent of U.S. kids grew up without their father.

By 2010, that number leaped to 34 percent. Some kids manage to be successful anyway — and kudos to them. In general, fatherlessness is a public health disaster.

From fatherless homes come: 90 percent of homeless children, 85 percent of incarcerated teens, 85 percent of children with behavior problems, 75 percent of teen drug abusers, 71 percent of high school dropouts — and that’s just getting started.

To fathers, stepfathers, and father figures, your kids VITALLY need you and your parenting. Happy Father’s Day! — Love, Lauren

Kay, 17, Sonoma: The best thing my father does is tell me he’s proud of me. It seems simple, but it’s what I remember when I don’t know if I can finish something or whether I’m good enough. Knowing I AM enough, that I’m “perfect” for someone, keeps me going. It makes me want to be worthy of his pride.

Brandon, 22, Mapleton, Maine: Probably the coolest thing my dad did was not only be a dad, but a good friend during my family’s tough divorce. We’d go out for food, arcades, he’d be the guy helping me with homework. He wasn’t trying to “win” his kid, he was just going through a hard time and wanted to do fun things, too. We always had lots in common, but we never had time to do anything together when the family was together. We had our ups and downs, but I’ll never forget how much he helped me cope with depression back then, and how much I love him for it.

Maddie, 15, Cotati: I love my dad more than I like to admit. He is the most diverse, amazing, inspiring person I have met so far in my life. Along with the huge things he’s done for me and my family, small things come to mind. Like when I was little and we’d get home from a long car trip, I’d pretend to be asleep so my dad would carry me upstairs to my room. He can be a bit like an immature little brother, embarrassing and annoying me like crazy! But he was also fun in that whenever Mom was gone, he’d let us do stuff she didn’t allow — and not because he wanted to be the “fun” parent, but simply because he wanted to do this stuff himself! Everything he has done and said has bettered me.

Lyric, 16, Santa Rosa: Honestly, Father’s Day isn’t my favorite holiday because my dad was absent my whole childhood which definitely affected me growing up. I’ve had father figures in and out of my life, but here I am in the hardest years, without one. And actually, I’m pretty happy with how I turned out. My mom has provided the love and support I’ve needed. You CAN survive on one parent’s love alone.

Warren, 25, Woodstock, Mich.: My dad taught me how to work on cars, ride a motorcycle, the benefits of school, and to consider life deeply. Probably the best thing was letting me experience travel and adventure when I was younger. Even though he worried, he stepped back and let me grow. Thanks Dad!

Moriah, 17, Rutland, Vt.: My father sat me down in my early teens and instead of having “the talk” or a thousand lectures, he told me he trusted me. Ever sense then, everything is a conversation, never a lecture, thus I always feel free to be me.

Ask a question or go deeper in today’s conversation at — or write P.O. Box 1974, Sebastopol, CA 95473. Straight Talk is a 501c3 nonprofit. If today’s column has been useful, please consider a donation!

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