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Monday, July 11, 2005


It's terribly difficult to make an ad hominem argument here, although not having a father in any home tends to weaken that home. That's not to say, however, that fatherless homes automatically produce troubled children.

In my own experience, even homes where a father is not only present but actively involved can "produce" troubled teens. There are so many other factors that contribute to this particular problem. Smarter folks than I have failed to wrap their collective arms around the problems so far.

Since I was raised by a widowed mom, I know that a dad's presence is no guarantee of success. Obviously, my brother and I survived and thrived.

But part of that was because my mom was able to stay home; my dad died on the job, which meant Worker's Comp + Social Security.

Many moms who are raising their kids have to work and are unable to properly supervise their kids. There are obviously a lot of factors, but I think Herbert's point is that for these city kids, there are too many negatives to overcome a missing dad.

My dad was almost non-existent until I was about ten, and then he dropped the charade and moved out completely, soon starting another family.

So, I never really had a dad in my life, and my mom worked full-time after I was ten.

What saved me? I don't know. Maybe the TV... I watched a lot of it after school.

Charles Ingalls, Darren Stevens, Ruben Kincaid, Mike Brady, Rick Marshall, Steve Douglas, John Walton... Those were my "dads" and I reckon that's what kept me out of trouble. That, and my mom would kill me if I did anything wrong.

I think TV played a role in saving me, too Phil. Because TV dads during my youth tended to be strong, competent and understanding, I tended to emulate them to some degree. Reading lots and lots of books also played a key role.

But if I was to let Seth watch TV nowadays, he would probably grow up with the idea that dads are stumbling, bumpling idiots. So for him, the TV is turned on only for selected viewing.

TV today is filled with single and divorced characters who can't seem to maintain happy relationships. Those characters who are married are usually miserable or cheating on their spouse.

I'm most amazed by ER... There has never been a happy couple on that show. The only happy marriage between characters ultimately ended up with one of them dying from a brain tumor. The message is: Marriage Kills

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