As I was perusing my emails this afternoon, this one caught my eye among many others today wishing fathers a "Happy Father's Day" and I wanted to pass it on in the event that you are not a member of some of the various support groups out there that this was circulated to. Although it is focused on Michigan, the effects of failed government policies over the entire family, not just fathers, are widespread nationwide issues. This is from Murray Davis of National Family Justice Association.
A MICHIGAN FATHER’S DAY HOPE
It is with hope we celebrate Father’s Day in Michigan this year. Hope that we will finally recognize and admit our failures of the past. Not necessarily the failures of fathers to their families, but rather the failure of government and society to permit fit, responsible fathers to be equitable parents to their children, despite marital status.
This is especially significant in Detroit, Flint and other urban areas of Michigan where nearly seventy percent of families are headed by single parents…mostly mothers where the children have little or no involvement from their fathers. Society and government policies have traditionally made it easy to vilify these fathers as irresponsible. But in truth, most fathers, are responsible, non-abusive, and desire to be fit parents; however, government has historically implemented and continues to exercise policies, laws that mandate only financial child support…completely ignoring the emotional, psychological, and spiritual support of fathers children also desperately need.
Overwhelming social pathology research shows single-parented children are growing up in increasingly alarming numbers to use drugs, experiencing educational, health, emotional/behavioral problems and especially engaging in criminal behavior much more so than those who either live in two-parent households or who have meaningful access to both fit parents.
While current Michigan law may permit joint custody of minor children to be only a consideration in divorce cases, state family courts seldom rule in favor of this type of shared parenting responsibilities; thus, creating single family custodial households at an alarming rate. The results are publicized in the press and media nearly every day with “most dangerous city” crime headlines and dismal “worst in the nation” high school graduation rates..
Yet legislators and public officials still refuse to implement the only changes that offer us real solutions to many of our societal problems. That is, to enable both fit and willing parents to discharge their parenting responsibilities in a significant manner without state government interference, even if not under one roof.
This constitutional right, known as the shared parenting bill, is currently under review in the Michigan House of Representatives. It is a simple, inexpensive solution that costs the taxpayers nothing and, in fact, will save billions of dollars over time that our state government now must spend in social services, law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. The shared responsibility legislation would allow children to have the love and care of both fit parents in their lives regardless of marital status.
Father’s Day 2008 in Michigan could indeed be a celebration for all Michigan families once we truly recognize what has been missing in nearly a million of our children’s lives…responsible fathers!
MURRAY DAVIS of Southfield is board president of the National Family Justice Association, www.nfja.org, a national nonprofit education and advocacy organization for issues that affect American children and their families. Contact Davis at NFJAPres@aol.com.