Mitch Albom Asks: “When Did Fathers Become Expendable?”

You know Mitch Albom.  You probably read his best selling Tuesdays with Morrie or The First Phone Call from Heaven.  According to his official bio, Albom is

“…an internationally renowned and best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold more than 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-nine territories and in forty-five languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.”

And if you’re in southeastern Michigan, you may hear Mitch Albom’s radio show on WJR Newsradio 76, or read his column in the Detroit Free Press.

Mitch got my attention with a column on June 22 which asks the sad and important question, “When did fathers become expendable?”

Apart from Father’s Day, Albom asserts, fatherhood is declining in significance.  He writes:

 I’m not just talking about physical absence — a third of American kids now live without their biological fathers — I’m talking about perceived importance. More and more, fathers are being viewed as less than necessary.

A 2010 study concluded that children of lesbian parents fared just as well — if not better — than those from a traditional man-woman marriage. A 2013 book stated “the notion that fathering is essential to children’s … development seems to be a uniquely American preoccupation.”

He goes on to tell the story of an exchange on “The View”–not my favorite television show, so it slipped completely under my radar.  Albom recounts:

A guest host, an actor named Terry Crews, had floated the idea that “there are some things only a father can give you.” He was deluged by objection — both on social media and on the set.

When he said, “A father gives you your name,” cohost Whoopi Goldberg joked, “Like in ‘The Lion King?’ ” When he said “a father gives you your security” and “your confidence,” cohost Jenny McCarthy, who is raising a son on her own, shot back, “I’m a single mother and I guarantee you, I can give (my son) all those things.”

Mitch worries that in our push to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, to support certain special-interest groups, we have negated the very important role which a father plays in the life of his child.

It’s worth reading.  Check out the full column here.


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