This weekend is Father's Day, and maybe the most important news of all is that Dads still matter. Over the past few months as I've interviewed people from all walks of life, it has been quite revealing to listen to my guests talk about the importance of their father's impact on their lives. In some cases, the impact was positive because of the presence of a father, and sometimes it was the impact from the absence of a father in a person's life as evidenced by the very powerful story of Rosie Perez who had to fight her way out of poverty and the projects.
Here's a sample of what Rosie, Kelsey Grammar and some other guests had to say:
(BEGIN VIDEO MONTAGE)
ROSIE PEREZ: I was put in a Catholic home for abandoned or unwanted children. And thank God my aunt got me out. But the years that I did spend there were very difficult and horrible. But there was one shining star in my experience and it was the schooling that I had received.
KELSEY GRAMMER: You know, my father and my sister were both murdered. At different times, different events; they were very difficult days for me.
CAROL LEIFER, COMEDIAN: Three weeks before the bat mitzvah my father passed away. So I was very excited for him to have seen that movie, so I was very excited for him to have seen that moment. But I wore the prayer shawl, his talis, that he wore at his bar mitzvah in 1930.
DION DIMUCCI: My father didn't work at all. He would love Obama.
(END VIDEO MONTAGE)
A few years ago, a prison offered free Mother's Day cards so inmates could send them to their mothers. Almost every inmate in the prison asked for a card. It was such a huge success that the prison decided to do the same thing for Father's Day. Virtually none of the prisoners asked for a card to send to their fathers. For those who say fathers don't matter, think again.
Dads do make a difference and during a time in our culture when there is a growing demand to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples because the advocates claim it's all the same, it's maybe time to realize that there is a reason that when God created the human race. He created male and female and made it biologically necessary to have both to create the next generation. When I interviewed Carol Leifer on this show a few months ago, I found her to be a truly sincere and lovely person, although her advocacy for same-sex marriage was a point of contrast between us. As I read her book and enjoyed a very honest conversation with her, it was apparent that her own father had been a very important influence in her life. She perhaps didn't see the irony in that, but I did. Would two mothers or two dads have had the same impact? I understand that there are some great kids who come out of single parent homes and even homes with same-sex adoptive parents. But I know of no credible and objective person who studies the available data who denies that statistically, children do best in a stable environment with a loving mother and father, who each model the unique aspect of their gender, and like it or not, there are differences between men and women beyond physical.
I fully expect to get some harsh responses and a flood of responses from some of you who will point to a specific exception or situation to the ideal. But to quote from the first line of Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life," It's not about you. We don't have children for what they do for us or even how much we want them or care about them. It's about what's best for the children. And kids really do best with a mother and a father working together to train their replacements.
No father is perfect, and neither are his children, but he does matter. When he isn't there, it matters as well. Any prison director will verify that.
If your father is still around, a simple word of kindness might be in order, even if he hasn't been Ward Cleaver or Cliff Huxtable. I remember the day in June of 1996 when I did what I always did on Fathers Day: I picked up the phone and started dialing the number to my parents house to wish my dad a happy Father's Day. I had ritually dialed all but one of the numbers when a cold chill went up my spine and I quietly placed the phone back in the cradle. He had died just three months before, and for a few moments, I had only remembered that he lived and forgotten that he had died. It was the moment when I realized that there would be no more phone calls, cards, or cologne, just memories. Fortunately for me, most of them are good ones.
To all the Dads, happy Father's Day, and I hope you enjoy the special show we've put together while we're getting our studio ready for better things for you to enjoy starting next week.
That's my view, I welcome yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org