February 25, 2009

Octodads and Dispensable Fathers

A Man-Making blog reader, Charley M., sent along an article link from the Wall Street Journal asking a great question, Where in the World is Octodad?

Octodad is the invisible, anonymous, non-participating, and possibly well-intended but victimized father of Nadya Suleman’s 14 children. Nadya is the Octomother who has recently given birth to more babies at one time than anyone thought possible, and perhaps, more than should ever be allowed.

The WSJ article asks some hard and challenging questions about deadbeat dads, men who sell sperm, and women who decide to have children on their own and don’t want “fathers interfering with their . . . children.”

The article also sites the familiar statistics on absent fathers. “Out-of-wedlock birth rates in the U.S. are now 38%; among African-Americans the figure is 70%. Fathers of children living with single mothers are far less involved with their children than are married fathers; about a third of all children in single-mother families have not seen their father in the previous year.”

A lot of questions come up for me when reading the article:
  • Are fathers becoming “dispensable parents” as the article asks?

  • Can committed man-makers create a difference in these disturbing trends by intentionally stepping forward to build values such as responsibility, paternity, family, and strength of character in young males?

  • Can you make a difference in the lives of the boys around you by your example, conversations, teaching, or by being involved in a (any) boy shaping activity or event?
Wadaya think? What comes up for you?

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