Friday, June 15, 2012


A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a room of delegates on the importance of the family. In doing so, I shared some statitstics from the State of Our Unions Report in 2010 about the structure of the family in our nation. The numbers were a little staggering. From the decreasing number of marriages to the increasing number of births to adolescents and unmarried women, it is obvious our country could do well to focus more on the family, the basic unit of society.

Today, though, since I have fathers on my mind, let me share this statistic with you:
Only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents (that’s the lowest percentage in the Western World). Twenty-three percent of children are growing up without their fathers. The implications of this are extraordinary. In his book, Fatherless America, David Blankenhorn writes:
“Tonight, about 40% of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their Fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than ½ of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their Fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their Fathers. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a Father.

Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women. Yet, despite its scale and social consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored or denied. . .

If this trend continues, fatherlessness is likely to change the shape of our society.” (Introduction, page 1).

As a voice for mothers, may I also be a voice for fathers? If anyone thinks fathers are not vital to the upbringing of children, they are in serious error. I cannot begin to describe the powerful influence of my husband on my children. And I can say right now I could not do it alone. He is an anchor in our home and an example of stability and strength my children desperately need. I thank God for him every day.

I recently had an experience that drove this topic home in a very clear way. I was away visiting family while my 10-year-old son opted to stay home with Dad so he wouldn't miss one of his baseball games. This was a great choice, but it did mean he was home alone for just a bit each day. His father left him with some work to do each morning while he was gone to keep him busy and things were working out great. But while he was home one day, something happened that upset him greatly.

I was visiting my brother when the phone rang. My son was sobbing. He could hardly speak as he begged me to come home. This was highly unusual behavior for this child, and I felt immediately that something was terribly wrong; however, I was over 2 hours away from home, so there was no way I could offer immediate help. The best I could do is tell my son to hang up the phone and say a prayer for comfort while I called his father in hopes he could get away from work to come home (looking back, I wish I would have done one thing better--prayed with him myself on the phone).

Fortunately, I was able to reach my husband right away. I explained that I didn't know what was going on but that I felt our son needed him right away. We talked for a few moments, then hung up. In the mean time, my son had called his dad and left a message. When my husband listened to the message, he too sensed an urgency to get home and left immediately.

As a mother my heart was greatly concerned for our precious child. I felt helpless, wishing I had insisted my son come with me instead of staying at home. At the same time, I was relieved that my husband works only 5 minutes from home and could leave right away. In the end, what I felt most was complete humility and gratitude for the way my husband handled the situation and what he did for my son, and I realized that maybe this situation occurred while I was away for a reason. My son needed his father. He needed his embrace, his encouragement, his understanding, his calm and measured influence. He needed someone with the Priesthood of God to comfort him and reassure him and pray with and for him. 

My heart goes out to anyone trying to raise children without a husband and to children who are growing up without a father. I am certain God watches over both with extra special care. One thing I am sure of--children need a mother and a father; at least, I know mine do. Here are a few pics of my husband with our children. Man, am I blessed to be married to this guy! He's such a great father.

Bear Lake (look how tiny our baby was!!)

Lagoon--he's the only one brave enough to go through the Haunted House with the kids.
Ice skating--I was the wimp on the sidelines taking pictures.

I love this picture for some reason!
Bountiful pool for Family Night.
Love this picture of him with our baby, taken just a couple weeks ago. His tie even matches her dress--how did that happen?:)

So, I dedicate this post to my husband, to my father, and to all men everywhere. Know you are so needed and so loved.

Happy Father's Day!