A Man and His Time
A group of 369 secondary school boys and 415 girls were asked to list the ten most desirable qualities for fathers. The quality that received the most votes was “spending time with his kids.” The absent or frequently absent father can produce mental illness juvenile delinquency and homosexuality in his children. Dr. Stanley Yolles, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, states that a father has the power to reduce delinquency and also has a decided influence on his child’s mental health and IQ.
In another study done by a psychologist on 300 twelve to fourteen-year-old boys, the boys were asked to keep a diary of the time in an average week that their fathers spent with them. They typical father and son were alone seven and a quarter minutes.
A father is absent if he is not at home regularly. Hence, they busy doctor, the ambitious businessman or the successful salesman who works round the clock is an absent father if he is away from home more than he is at home. A good way to check up on this is to count the number of meals a week Father eats with the children.
The kind of time a father spends with his child is important. A child will remember affectionately the scenes of childhood only if the father was really there. Most of the time a child keeps score in terms of the time spent together more often than the place of action. He will fondly remember the day when Dad walked with him through a nearby park with more enthusiasm than the day Dad brought a new toy. And yet it is more difficult every day for the average child to spend a significant amount of time with his dad. It seems that there is an important correlation between higher pay for Dad and less time for the family. If he’ll give his child undivided attention when he asks a question, if he’ll help him solve a problem the moment it arises, the child will rate it as “quality time.”
Fathers who are not around, who do not make the decisions in the house, who are not examples for their children, will one day find themselves on the outside. These men lament later in life that their children are strangers living in their homes. Successful fathers are recognized by their children as caring, helpful, available, sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but consistently loving and approachable.