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On the Demise of Fatherhood

It is news to no one that, in the Western world in general and the United States in particular, the call to fatherhood is being heeded less and less. Anyone unfortunate enough to pick up a newspaper is painfully aware that one-third of American children live without any father and that, in many inner cities, the out-of-wedlock birth rate exceeds seventy percent. Also well known, though rarely acknowledged, is the devastation that such a lack of paternity has wreaked on children and society more generally. Fatherless children have rates of incarceration, criminal activity, possession of firearms, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, incompletion of school, and overall parental neglect and maltreatment alarmingly higher than their two-parent counterparts.

Coupled with the staggering divorce rate and the move in the West toward alternative lifestyles”permanent bachelorhood, cohabitation, or “serial monogamy””it is now possible, without the slightest exaggeration, to begin using phrases such as “the end of the human family.” Continue Reading »

True Fictions of Fatherhood

About two-and-a-half years ago, my wife and I sat in a lawyer’s office trying not to think too deeply about the decision we were then making: to seek to adopt a child. As we sat there, listening to the litany of options for how to bring home a stranger’s baby, a joke occurred to me. What is the . . . . Continue Reading »

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