“When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats,” the (London) Telegraph reports. “But a survey of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting ‘a dad’ instead.”
Sure, there were requests for toys and such.
“A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer,” the Telegraph noted. “A ‘pet horse’ was the third most popular choice, with a ‘car’ making a bizarre entry at number four. Despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a ‘dad.’”
There were other requests — candy, a dog, even a little brother or sister. But those requests for a father are what are most troubling.
The next day, the Washington Times pointed out that “Fathers are disappearing from households across America.”
“In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade,” the Times explains. “Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother.
And study after study has shown the effects of fatherlessness.
“America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows,” the Times says.
DiCaro explains that we often “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do not is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father.”
These are broad societal trends, not commentary on specific single families. There are many great moms out there. But why aren’t there more great dads?
DiCaro says it’s largely because more and more Americans don’t see marriage as important.
“We have one class that thinks marriage and fatherhood is important, and another which doesn’t, and it’s causing that gap, income inequality, to get wider,” Mr. DiCaro contends.
Yet there’s a model father with a bully pulpit who could help change that perception. President Barack Obama should speak out and remind Americans that dads do matter.
Ask St. Nick.