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.
Let’s remember that on Fathers Day and every day.
Dad's parental involvement parallels
By DAVID YOUNT
June 11, 2006
For the first time the government has
made a study of how fathers function in family life. About 4,900
men between the ages of 15 and 44 were asked what they did for
their children beyond supporting them financially. Across the
board, the study found, "fathers who have higher levels of
education are more involved in their children's daily lives,"
reported Gladys M. Martinez of the National Center for Health
A father's level of education even predicts the likelihood
that his offspring are legitimate and that he lives with his
children. Whereas only 6 percent of male college graduates
have fathered a child outside of marriage, nearly half of
men without a high school education have done so.
If Dad isn't around, of course, he can't very well be
expected to be an involved parent. But about 75 percent
of fathers in the U.S. have children under the age of 19
and live with them.
Still, the quality of their paternal involvement
reflects the fathers' educational achievement, which
makes a strong argument against teenage boys
dropping out of school.
After the failure of my first marriage back in
the 1970s I became a statistical anomaly: a male
single parent with custody of my three little
daughters. There are many more single-parent
dads now, but the job of raising kids can't have
gotten any easier, as single-parent Moms can
Here's an example of parental involvement:
About two-thirds of the more-educated
dads report routinely bathing or
dressing their children, compared with
two-fifths of fathers who are less
well-schooled. My daughters, now in
their 30s, still remember Saturday
nights from their early childhood when I
lined them up, one after the other, for
their baths. Those are not pleasant
memories for them or for me, because I
used the occasion to shampoo their fine
red hair, invariably causing tangles I
would then clumsily attempt to brush
Nor did I receive much in the way of
gratitude for braiding their hair in
pigtails before they went off to
school. After I remarried, my wife
adopted the trio. She was instantly
more adept at child-rearing.
Back to the government report:
On average, more than four out
of five fathers who live with
their children under the age of
five report having played with
them every day during the past
month. But here again, the
college-educated dads are more
involved - 87 to 76 percent -
than those fathers with, at the
most, a high school diploma.
Moms apparently are more
likely to read to their
children, but 42 percent of
the better-educated fathers
do so daily compared with
just one-third of dads with
less formal education.
We've been told
character and civilizes
us, contributing more to
our adulthood than the
mere accumulation of
years. Separate studies
have revealed, happily,
that the strength of a
parent's religious faith
can compensate for lack
of schooling by
engendering a sense of
responsibility in the
latest book is
Rest of Your
Life: A Baby
at P.O. Box