American Fathers and Their Children

This incident in Arizona [a little girl allegedly abucted by a sexual offender and later found alive] and especially the Shawn Hornbeck kidnapping case is bothering me on a number of levels. We know there's more to the Hornbeck story than has been reported. And we also know the 15-year-old boy is devastated. So any breaking news will have to be tempered by that. We don't want to make things even worse.

But I do have a message for every American father, even those not living with their children. All of us have a responsibility to convince our kids that we are their protectors, that no matter what happens, we will defend them and right wrongs.

We have to drum this into the kids so that our influence overcomes any harmful outside influence. And this isn't easy. You don't want to scare little kids. You don't want to take away their childhoods.

So what fathers have to do is use every opportunity to tell their children that you are their bodyguards, you are their champions. And you must do that again and again. To quote Kojak, "Who loves you, baby?"

Young children should respond to this immediately. They're looking for security and comfort. Older kids may scoff, but inside, they really want you looking out for them. They want a strong ally.

But words alone won't do it. American fathers have to set up a zone of authority and fairness. In short, the child must respect the father's strength of character.

We're all living in a very dangerous time. And no matter how you try to protect them, the danger filters down to the kids. They know there's evil in the air and they want help in dealing with that evil.

Now growing up in Levittown in the 1950s, my folks told me to be home for dinner. They had no idea what I was doing. That kind of freedom for kids is unthinkable today.— Our society is just too dangerous.

So it falls upon fathers to be knights and at times, avengers. Your children must know that no matter what happens, you will rescue them from evil. If they truly believe that, the odds of their falling prey to evil will fall dramatically.

And that's "The Memo."

Most Ridiculous Item

"Factor" viewers around the country are writing their local newspapers about the terrible child predator situation in Vermont.

For example, Robert Berg in Boynton Beach, Florida, alerted readers in the Sun-Sentinel. In Vermont itself, Jim Serrao from Shaftsbury wrote this: "I must admit it was satisfying to see the editor of the Bennington Banner made to squirm a little on FOX News Channel the other night."

Well, the Banner editor replied, "Not squirming, just disgusted with O'Reilly's pseudo 'news crew'. We consider it a journalistic badge of honor to be attacked by a ratings driven sensationalist like O'Reilly."

A ratings driven sensationalist? Me? Ridiculous? — You make the call. And I don't want to hear about it!