Don’t Just Make Babies, Create a Special Memory
You Are a Father
Every child growing up with a loving father often has a memory that will stay in their minds forever.
While growing up, I vividly remember my dad working as a waiter in Chinese restaurants his entire life. He worked six days per week and sometimes picked up an extra shift during the beginning of a school year to buy my new school clothes, and during Christmas to buy gifts.
However, the memory ingrained in my mind occurred when my dad took me to Central Park in New York City once a week (since he worked six days per week) to play catch with a rubber ball. He would throw the ball to me and enjoy watching me catch it. But when I missed the ball and had to run a few feet to retrieve the ball, I noticed my dad shutting his eyes closed as he tried to catch up on his sleep during the 45 to 60 seconds I spent getting the ball. Although I was only five years old at the time, I understood the big sacrifice my dad undertook to spend time with me despite being sleep-deprived due to holding the equivalent of 1.5 full-time jobs.
I will never forget how grateful I was to have a dad that would do this for me because I could see how tired he was. I felt I was the center of his universe during our walks to the park. Sadly, hard work took its toll, and just before I reached the age of 10 years old, my dad suffered a severe stroke and died instantly. For many years, I lived with the beautiful memory of having a dad that cared enough to sacrifice his rest to spend time with me and the guilt for not being more considerate and letting my dad know it was okay to skip our weekly trips to the park so he could get his rest.
It is only after becoming a dad to my three daughters that I have come to understand that spending time with our children is something that many fathers enjoy doing even when we are tired. To have deprived my dad of that joy would not have been fair to him. It is sad that I had to wait until I became a father to unload myself of the feeling that I had contributed to my dad’s passing by not discouraging him from spending time with me so he could rest.
These days, I remain grateful that my children make me feel good about all the time I have spent with them. Sadly, there are 7 million dads that don't play a significant role in the lives of 19.7 million or 23.6% of all children living in the United States.
Why is the top negative factor associated with fatherless children?
• Fatherless children tend to have higher suicide rates in High School.
Of course, some absent dads are missing due to incarceration, homelessness, mental illness, and other uncontrollable factors. But for all those dads that have chosen to walk away, are gainfully employed, and are in good health, we should shine a light on them and encourage these individuals to become a part of their children's upbringing. The memories that a child makes with both parents are forever, and fathers should think twice about depriving their children of these special memories.
Let's always remember to say "Happy Father's Day," to ALL the fathers out there on that special day with the hope and expectation that the pool of fathers not playing an important role in their children's lives will shrink with each passing year!
About the author
Chan Economics LLC, Public Speaker
Chief Global Economist & Public Speaker JPM Chase ('94-'19).
Senior Economist Barclays ('91-'94)
Economist, NY Federal Reserve ('89-'91)
Econ. Prof. (Univ. of Dayton, '86-'89)