Happy Fathers Day

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2008

Today is Father&8217;s Day, a time to pick up the telephone and give Dad a call or to send a card, if you&8217;re away.

But the most precious gift we can give to our fathers is our true presence &8212; being there, not only in body, but in mind and spirit.

Fathers also should take this day to think about having the time to devote to their families. Earning a living for the household is not enough.

Email newsletter signup

Children need their father&8217;s attention and nurturing as much as they need their mothers.

The anthropologist Margaret Mead speculated that we first became human as a species when the nurturing father joined the original family of infant and mother.

Sure, dads are left out of the biological process. That&8217;s likely a reason why the National Retail Association tells us people will spend $17 million less on Father&8217;s Day this year than on Mother&8217;s Day.

But that doesn&8217;t mean dads should be left out of the rearing of a child.

A Yale study has found that infants living only with their fathers were two-to-six months ahead of others in personal and social skills.

More studies that compared single dad and single mom homes found that children reared by their dads had higher self-esteem and were more mature and independent; were less sensitive to criticism and had fewer temper tantrums.

As far as couples go, dads have to approach the task of primary caregiver in their own ways. That&8217;s one of the reasons people who make baby products focus their marketing on men and women.

Small things fathers do make a difference like exploring new things with their babies, reading to them, talking to them, feeding them, holding and hugging them often.

Fathers may be less open about the emotional tie than the mother, but key to effective fathering is the way many dads remain calm when the child acts out or becomes upset.

Studies also suggest fathers who respond calmly when children misbehave have children with fewer social problems later in life.

It&8217;s a good day to remember our dads in a special way for loving us the way only a dad can.

But it is also a good day for dads to reach out to their children in the ways that only a dad can.