OUR OPINION: Thank a father — or father figure — this weekend

Published 4:00 am Sunday, June 18, 2023

Sunday is Father’s Day, a day when we thank those who raised us whether we’re related by blood or not.

Children will proudly present handmade cards and crafts, and dads everywhere will accept them with a sense of pride. They’ll add another coffee mug or less-than-attractive necktie to the bunch, and after church, they’ll join their family over a big Sunday lunch.

But what about the children who don’t have fathers? Or the adult men struggling to be good fathers when they didn’t have a positive male role model themselves?

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If the events of the last year have shown anything, it’s that Vicksburg’s young people need positive role models — especially father figures — in their lives.

The city of Vicksburg, Warren County and the Vicksburg Warren School District are taking positive steps in that direction alongside community partners to form a Youth Development Center. Hopefully, this center will put our local agencies at a better vantage point to bring together children and father figures.

According to early childhood advocacy group Zero to Three, children of involved fathers are less likely to get in trouble at home, in school and in the neighborhood, and they are less likely to experience depression.

When fathers are found to be emotionally and physically remote from their infants at 3 months and again at 12 months of age, by the time they enter preschool the children were found to be more aggressive with their peers.

Fathers are important. They are valuable. We need them in our society and our family units to ensure the wellbeing of future generations.

This weekend, when you’re out and about, if you see a father figure doing a great job, tell him. Let him know someone sees how hard he’s working to be present in his children’s lives and keep them on the straight and narrow.

It might be one of the few times an outsider acknowledges his efforts.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Thank you for all you do.