Vol. 9, No. 4 The Fourteen Percenter July 2006
A publication for parents on the wrong side of the standard possession order.
- I see my child two days out of every fourteen; 14%. That's not enough. -
T.G.I.F., a weekly publication in the Red River region of Texas and Oklahoma, published this poem in their June 16 issue:
A Father’s Beatitude – by Don Mathis
Blessed is the father who spends time with his child, for he shall reap a garden of remembrances.
Blessed is the father who gives consolation to his child's minor misfortunes, for he will be called on for great things in life.
Blessed is the father who is proud of his child, for he shall have a child who is proud of his father.
Blessed is the father who imparts love, for his child will give love.
Blessed is the father who is gentle with his child, for he will have a child who can turn away wrath.
Blessed is the father who listens to his child, for he shall be rewarded with the trust of his child.
Blessed is the father who has patience with his child, for patience will be bestowed on him.
Blessed is the father who shows mercy to his child, for he shall experience mercy.
Blessed is the father who does not exasperate his child, for he shall receive compassion.
Blessed is the father who shall accept the unintentional insults of a developing child, for he shall know the glory of fatherhood.
With gratitude to Jesus, the apostle Matthew, the poet Lenora Zearfoss, my Dad Daniel, and my son Charlie for the ideas and inspiration to compose this prayer/poem. Happy Fathers Day to all men everywhere.
Request for Articles
The Fourteen Percenter is an international newsletter that seeks to promote equal parenting rights in the US, the UK, and worldwide. We welcome feedback, as well as any article, poem, or review relating to the child-parent bond. Send your letters to FourteenPercenter@yahoo.com. The editor is grateful to http://a1laminating.com/ for regional printing.
Reprints from the Press in Texas
“Best fathers have more education”
The June 18 Sherman Herald-Democrat http://heralddemocrat.com/articles/2006/06/19/letters/letters01.txt ran this letter regarding http://www.redding.com/redd/fe_columnists/article/0,2232,REDD_17501_4782178,00.html
Best fathers spend more time with kids
David Yount’s June 13 essay, “Best fathers have more education,” is very timely; Fathers Day is June 18. But fathers are important every day of the year. I agree with Mr. Yount about that.
Gladys M. Martinez of the National Center for Health Statistics reported that “fathers who have higher levels of education are more involved in their children’s daily lives.” Who could disagree with this statement?
But when Mr. Yount says that “about 75 percent of fathers in the U.S. have children under the age of 19 and live with them,” I have to disagree. These men may live with children younger than 20 but are they his kids? Does he have other kids that, due to divorce, live with other men?
More than 10 years ago, David Blankenhorn, in his book “Fatherless America,” wrote that “tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live.” Due to the tremendous increase in out-of-wedlock births and divorces, this figure has surely multiplied.
So while the best fathers may have more education, the best fathers also have more time with their kids. It is time for custody courts to quit removing dads from families.
Don Mathis, Sherman
“For want of a dad, will a child be lost?”
The June 26 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran this letter,
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/local2/14893898.htm regarding http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/14842144.htm
The opinions of Glenn Sacks are right on the money, and his Fathers Day commentary with Mike McCormick ("For want of a dad, will a child be lost?") was no exception.
Fatherlessness is the major problem in society these days. But most divorces are filed for by women. And most courts award custody to the moms. Dads are not deserting their families.
Most of the problems cited by Sacks -- teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse, school dropouts and juvenile crime -- would decrease with more involvement by fathers.
How to increase father involvement in this day and age of divorce? The concept of 50/50 shared custody would be a start.
Don Mathis, Sherman
“13 Area Women Accused Of Writing Hot Checks to AG In Exchange For Child Support”
Fort Bend Now ran this article about a recent child support fraud http://www.fortbendnow.com/news/1342/bakers-dozen-busted-for-cooking-up-plot-to-write-hot-checks-to-ag-in-return-for-child-support-payments on June 22. On June 23, Now published this feedback, http://www.fortbendnow.com/opinion/1352/attorneys-general-perpetuates-biggest-child-support-scam. Visit the site and read the rebuttal and other responses.
Attorneys General Perpetuates Biggest Child Support Scam
There is a greater child support fraud than the recent one involving 13 women.
The government would have you believe its involvement in the Child Support Industry is to keep custodial parents off welfare.
Did you ever consider that both parents usually work? In this day and age of booming divorce, only a small fraction of custodial mothers are on welfare.
Consider also that both parents are usually fit to raise a child. So why do courts normally award custody – and child support – to one parent during divorce proceedings?
Perhaps the millions of dollars Washington gives to each state has something to do with it. Each Attorney General in each state receives more money from you, the taxpayer, for every name he can place on his Child Support Registry.
One way to get rid of this child support fraud is to make 50/50 shared custody – and no one pays child support (unless they do not want custody) – the norm in every divorce.
Not only will such a plan prevent numerous types of child support fraud, children will be better off with equal access to both parents.
Don Mathis, Sherman
Father's Day and the Current State of Fatherhood – In Honor of Fathers
Armstrong Williams gave his view of fatherhood in the June 15 East Texas Review. In the same issue the Texas Attorney General offered his tribute to fathers. On June 22, the Review offered this rebuttal.
Father’s day respond
The media has 364 days to blast fathers. There is one day, Fathers Day, set aside to honor them.
Armstrong Williams is absolutely devastated about the current state of fatherhood - and I am devastated at him for blaming men. Somebody tell Williams that women, not men, typically file for divorce. Somebody tell Williams that judges typically delegate the father to a first, third and fifth weekend visitor; it is not the father’s choice.
Williams writes that “Even if the parents divorce, a father should be present for every sporting event, every school activity, and all the ordinary moments that define a child’s early life.” Yes, a divorced father should - but many don’t; and here is the reason.
Schools send a note in the student’s backpack - or they call the custodial parent - for all things academic. Noncustodial parents are left out of the loop from school portraits to PTA announcements, from discipline problems to grades. And only after repeated requests, do schools notify the noncustodial dad of anything.
Such notification needs to be automatic. It needs to be written into every school handbook: “Schools shall make every effort to involve both parents.”
Then I turned to Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s essay, “In honor of Fathers,” and I became more devastated. In his politically correct double-speak, Abbott celebrates and praises dads before getting to his point; the same point he makes 52 weeks every year: “Parents who are behind on their child support are given three choices: enroll in the program, make a payment or go to jail.”
One thing about Abbott, he is consistent. He never gives up on his quest to extract the maximum amount of money from every noncustodial father. And for every dollar he collects, he receives a bigger budget from Washington. Abbott brags about his programs:
Building Strong and Healthy Families in Texas works to establish legal paternity, the Paternity Opportunity Program gives unmarried fathers the opportunity to acknowledge paternity, and the Choices Project targets noncustodial parents all for one reason - so the Attorney General can collect more child support.
Abbott praises his office because they awarded federally funded grants to 12 private nonprofit organizations. But these Access and Visitation grants generally go to Supervised Visitation Centers who often seek to perpetuate the alienation initiated by a vindictive mother.
It is time to give divorced dads a break. Schools should be required to notify noncustodial parents of every aspect of their child’s academic life. The AG should enforce Dad’s period of possession with the same zeal he enforces Mom’s receipt of child support. The concept of 50/50 shared custody - and no one pays anyone child support - should be the norm in custody decisions.
If this type of break is just too much to ask, please give the notion of fatherhood a break on Fathers Day. Dads deserve better.
Don Mathis, Sherman, Texas
Responses from the Writers
Your point is well taken. We appreciate your taking the time to write to us to share your thoughts and concerns about fatherhood. It is always good to hear another perspective. If you read my article you will note that I stated that, "we should praise the men who are true fathers --the men who willingly involve themselves in their children's lives." There is no blame here. Thank you again for writing and we hope you continue sending us your feedback. Please visit www.armstrongwilliams.com.
Sincerely, Armstrong Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Don Mathis:
I suspect you have the correct interpretation of that statistic. Thank God kids have at least a stepfather to be a model for them.
Gratefully, David Yount, email@example.com
Truth and Consequences: Election 2006
For years, special interest groups have spread half-truths, innuendo, and lies about domestic violence. The result is the Violence Against Women Act, a law that shamefully ignores male victims of domestic violence and casually tramples on the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of parents who each year are falsely accused of partner abuse.
In the end, loving and fit parents are denied meaningful contact with their children. This places kids at greater risk from a broad range of academic, social, and legal problems. It is time for a change.
About 50 organizations from around the country have banded together in a non-partisan effort to educate lawmakers and the public to protect families from VAWA abuse. These groups have a broad range of missions, including promoting children’s rights, family stability, shared parenting, fatherhood, victim advocacy, and media accuracy. These groups have signed a Resolution calling for the reform of VAWA: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Resolution.pdf .
These organizations are now participating in a nationwide campaign with the theme, “Truth and Consequences: 2006 Elections.” The purpose of the campaign is to educate candidates involved in the 2006 elections about the truth of domestic violence, and the consequences of VAWA on families and children.
During the course of the campaign, persons are meeting with candidates in all 470 national races. See http://www.mediaradar.org/election2006stateContacts.php for more information and a state-by-state listing of contacts for the "Truth and Consequences" campaign.