Fatherhood and Character
A constant refrain by conservatives is that the institution of family, and especially the authority of the father, has been undermined.
I am a man and a father, and I say without hesitation that I do not need these institutions on my side. My daughter knows that I love her, and she loves me back. I do not need to stand over her with a whip or tell her that she will go to hell if she does not obey me.
The men who want these kinds of institutions on their side are the worst men and the worst fathers. A good man, and a good father, gets his children's love and respect by how he behaves toward them. The man who wants to bludgeon them into obedience is a bad man and a bad father.
Which means that the men such as ones who participate in the Fatherhood Foundation are the worst men to be found and have no business claiming to speak for fathers or for men.
These men make such claims as that only nuclear families produce functional people. Yet none of these men begin to approach the success of the most powerful man in the world: President Barack Obama. This man was raised by a single mother - a mother who was a twice-married atheist, and whose husband was black. So much for the necessity of the nuclear white patriarchial family for creation of functional citizens.
There are statistics claiming that children raised by single mothers are more likely to have a hard time than children raised in nuclear families. Yet all of these studies ignore the central question, which is, "Why did these situations see the woman leaving?" In most cases, they leave because of abuse; which is typically directed at both the woman and the child. Which means that it is this abusive behavior, not someone's choice to flee it, that is the core reason for the problem.
There are times when things like this have to happen. Some marital situations are wrong from the start; others become that way. Some can be and should be saved; but there are some that had no business happening in the first place, and there are others that become unsalvageable. Exposing children to violence and abuse is worse for the children than being raised by a single mother or being raised in a split arrangement. So no, it's not a matter of "abuse excuse." It's a matter of protecting the children from the parent that hates them or seeks to undermine them. If a man gets to the woman through deception, then an attempt to make things work out only feeds deceit. And this leads to people developing deception as the core of their character, resulting in them becoming suckers for conmen and having no capacity to see through lies.
Which brings to the most important issue at hand. The Fatherhood Foundation types claim that they speak for character; the reality is that they speak for warping people's character into that of deceivers and deceivers' prey. The man who woos with roses and keeps with fists perpetrates a fraud - a fraud which then claims to speak in the child's mind for authority, conscience, and ethics. The child raised in such a situation is taught to identify fraud with authority, conscience, ethics and reality; and this warps the child's character. He then becomes prey for conmen and racketeers and learns to instinctively hate the truth - the truth which contradicts the lie of the authority figure and that is therefore deemed unadmissible or evil. The character of the population raised this way is the character of conmen and cannon fodder for conmen. And this is in no way a path toward raising people of good character or people who are good for running a democracy.
What is? Well, for one thing, honesty and openness with one's children. They may be little and uneducated but they are not stupid, and they can instinctively pick up on such things. For another, leading through love rather than coercive control. Children naturally love their parents, and when the parents are themselves loving then good things can and do take place. This combination of love and honesty does far more to secure the children's loyalty than any amount of nastiness or brutality, and the more parents do this the more healthy the population raised and the better its character.
To men who are serious about their fatherhood, this is something that they need to understand. It's not about forcing their children into obedience; it's about actually having the child's love and respect. This is not earned with whips, and it is not earned with threats or religious abuse. It is earned through the honor and lovingness of one's actions.
And only those who practice this honor and lovingness have any business claiming that they are raising people of character or that they are themselves worthy fathers.