Samurai Yenta

Award-Winning Journalist, Author, Poet & Inspirational Writer

Francesca Biller

Francesca Biller
San Francisco, California, United States
February 02
Author, Award-Winning Journalist, Poet, Short Stories, Humor and Art Culture
Award Winning Investigative Journalist, Edward R. Murrow recipient, Author, Essayist, Humorist, Poet ____________________________________ Art & Culture, Politics, Multicultural Issues & Identity, Philosophy of Parenting, Humor & Happiness, Inspiration, Female Empowerment, Food & Family, Japanese, Hapa & Multiracial History, Poetry _____________________________________ Published: The Japanese American National Museum, The Huffington Post, My Jewish Learning, The Chicago Sun Times,, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Be'schol Lashon,, Empowering, Lakeview House International Journal- Poetry, The Jewish News Weekly ofSan Francisco, USA on, Discover, Senses Magazine,, The Syndicated News,, and others _____________________________________ Current & Latest: Speaker at "Mixed-Remixed Festival" for Discussion: "Global v. Universal: Otherness & Writing the Female Writer of Color" held at Japanese American National Museum __________________________________ "Samurai Yenta" a Blog about Japanese & Jewish Culture, food and humor for My Jewish ___________________________________ Books to be published book for Ithaca Press, a compilation of authobiographically-based inspirational-themed essays and stories, and a collection of Poetry _____________________________________ Essays published in a series of Textbooks about multiculturalism called "Multiculturalism in America: Opposing Viewpoints." I am writing a book of poetry, as well as a compilation of short stories and essays ______________________________________ Radio & T.V. includes appearances on syndicated national talk radio programs, including for CBS Radio and others wherein I have discussed politics, parenting, anti-aging/health as well as comedy appearances about pop culture. _____________________________________ Journalism Awards: The Edward R. Murrow Award, 2 Golden Mike awards, 4 Society of Professional Journalists First awards and The Los Angeles Press Club. Awards were granted for Excellence in Reporting for both print and broadcast reporting. ______________________________________ Blogs & Sites : Open I've Got Issues ---  The Elephant Journal The Huffington Post Samurai Yenta ____________________________________ Social Media Website: Twitter @francescabiller  Facebook @francesca biller Facebook Writer/Fan Page - @francescabiller-humorist-writer-author

JANUARY 20, 2013 8:26PM

When Fathers Were Allowed to be Men

Rate: 15 Flag


Rodney Dangerfield once lamented, "I was so ugly, my father carried around a picture of the kid who came with his wallet."

My dad too carried with him a lot of acerbic wit, and often we couldn't tell if he was serious or not.

I will never forget the feeling we had when he got home from work each day. As kids, we were excited by his arrival but also knew that rules definitely were in strict order when he walked through the door.

Call it child abuse, but we were not allowed to talk over him. When he spoke, it meant he actually had something to say and that we had better listen up.

Fathers are like that. They show their love and strength largely through action, but when they do have something to say, it is usually memorable and with fewer words spoken and deliberate forethought.

Thankfully, I grew up in a era when men were not chastised for being too manly or strong. Too many children today miss out on the invaluable experience of loving, strong fathers who don't feel the need to apologize for being male, and all of the characteristics that come along with being so.

Some of these traits are wonderful, some so not, but most are necessary for becoming healthy, balanced and mature children and adults.

The politically correct modern notion is that as long as a child seems loved and cared for, it doesn't matter who they are raised or nurtured by. And of course, if there is no father, any loving parent is adequate. 

But even famed feminist Gloria Steinem once said, "American children suffer too much mother and too little father." 

As children, we often don't realize the important roles that fathers play in our lives because they stay in the background more than our mothers, although they often give a generation much of its strength, character and resilience through their actiona, rather than words.

Mark Twain said, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." 

No doubt our appreciation of fathers can take a while to ferment; as they are more pragmatic and less vocal about how they feel about us, and as children we often mistake them for being not as loving as our mothers, with few "I Love You's" spoken, but a lot of loving actions continually played.

This article in no way suggests that millions of single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers have done amazing jobs in raising beautiful, strong boys into men, and with little help.

Furthermore, most women who raise boys alone do so not by choice but because of economic disparity or because husbands, boyfriends or mere sperm donors have walked out on them with no support.

But for those of us who were are are fortunate to have had decent fathers around, our lives are undoubtedly shaped in ways that are at once both indescribable and invaluable.

It is indeed this pragmatism that dads have that is so necessary for both boys and girls to grow up healthy, balanced and strong. Fathers often encourage us to try something new, even when some moms warn we might get hurt emotionally or physically. It is that perfect mix of caution and grit we need in order to become well balanced adults.

Fathers usually encourage us to take the training wheels off our bicycles as well as applying for that job we never think we could get. And when we fall off our bicycles and don't get that dream job; a simple pat answer of "You'll ace it next time, kid" is just what we need to hear.

It also often our fathers we turn to for that extra emotional support we might need in a non-emotional fashion, assuring us things will work themselves out in the end with hard work, determination and chutzpah.

"My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard," said baseball player Harmon Killebrew. "Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys." 

For some fairness and historical perspective, if one were to do their research, as in all statistics, the good, the bad and the ugly can be found quite easily to prove just about any point. 

For example, here is a list of fatherless men who grew up infamous in the worst sense of the word: Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Charles Manson, John Wilkes Booth, Jack the Ripper, Billy the Kid and Lee Harvey Oswald. 

On the other hand, the following is a list of fatherless men who grew up to be prolific leaders and thinkers: Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Aristotle, General Robert E Lee, William Jefferson Clinton, President Barack Obama, George Washington and Leonardo Da Vinci.  

I have to admit I was a little scared of my dad growing up when he got angry. Although he was inspiring, funny, and smart and seemed larger than life, when he got mad at us we knew he must have a reason and we always listened. These moments taught us a lot.

Comedian and father Bill Cosby said, "Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry."

On a more serious note, Cosby would be the first to admit that growing up without a father is no laughing matter. A recent poll shows that more than 70% of the U.S population thinks the most significant social problem in this country is that so many children grow up without fathers.

"A house without a father is a challenge," writes Cosby in his book 'Fatherless Children.' 

"A neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe, and that's just about what we have today. ... Why is the problem so grave? A mother can usually teach a daughter how to be a woman. But as much as mothers love their sons, they have difficulty showing a son how to be a man.... We can't speak honestly of black culture in America unless and until we honestly address the issue of the estrangement of fathers and their children."

And statistics for both boys and girls prove this theory to be more fact than conjecture. For example, an adolescent white female growing up in an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up without a father in the home.

The picture is even grimmer for boys who grow up without dads present in the home. Psychiatrists say that many fatherless boys are motivated by "displaced anger."

According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and The National Center for Health Statistics, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.

And in a study conducted by 'The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One Parent Families', children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two parent families.

Nearly 80% of all rapists are reported to have grown up in fatherless homes. For both boys and girls, 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes as well as 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers from homes without fathers.

Sigmund Freud wrote, "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."

Now that we are all sobered about these figures- the good news is that fathers are beginning to get a better rap on a lot of fronts. The pendulum of public opinion is starting swing as well as rid a culture that suggests fathers are unimportant and valueless, which will prove valuable to the next generation of would-be fathers, mothers and their children.

The politically incorrect notion that men don't matter in children's lives is beginning to be said out loud without much argument from either the pop-psyche culture and from those who claim that dads matter little in the lives of children.

Similarly, the idea that men can only be "good fathers" if they act like women is also looked on as preposterous and counterproductive.

The view that a strong male influence can be easily displaced or replaced is fortunately losing its ground with more women and men realizing the profundity of fathers as role models and teachers for all children and for the betterment of communities and society as a whole.

The worst that can happen as we wake up from years of emasculating and ignoring the male father role as integral and necessary is that more children will one day be wish their own dads a "Happy Fathers Day" throughout their childhood years and beyond. 

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I thank my own father for always "being there."
I agree. I also think that father in the family is not just a pragmatist- he defines the 'path' . Female - dominated family results in the support but not the path. I sound misogynistic and all that but it is up to the father to specify for a girl that she is there not for doing 'anything' but to be a woman and to define for a boy that he is there not to 'pursue your dreams' but to be a man. Moral core of when to bend and when to stay firm comes from the father and it is dfferent for boys and girls.
That's what feminists want, so enjoy.
Mark Sashine, I appreciate your thoughtful comments, truly and I respect your position. Thank you
But did not feminists want to end and/or weaken marriage, to make it easier to leave, because for many feminists marriage was an institution of patriarchical domination? Do not feminists insist that any job can be done by a woman, which therefore makes them rivalrous with men, especially with affirmative action?
So, if you are a feminist, you shouldn't complain, but celebrate the end of fathers. Otherwise you are not a feminist.
Don Rich, I am not a feminist, I am a humanist.
Better get used to the program here, fair warned is fairly armed.
I think your post is totally on track. I admire your writing so much.
Lyle, I truly appreciate your comment and I am so happy that you read this piece. Thank you.
"Fathers usually encourage us to take the training wheels off our bicycles as well as applying for that job we never think we could get."

Interesting that you mention training wheels. When I was about six years old I was a very good bike rider - with training wheels. One day my father just took the training wheels off. He didn't say anything at all. He didn't announce what he was going to do. He just took a wrench and removed the wheels. After a couple of crashes I went inside and told him that I couldn't ride without training wheels. Without even looking up from his newspaper he said "you'll figure it out." And I did.

I remember the frequent kind words and compliments that came from my mother. With my father, kind words and compliments were rare. But when they came they were like gold. It's like the mother gives the unconditional love, but the father makes you work for it. And both are important. You should feel loved unconditionally, but you should also feel like you have to earn it.

When I was a kid my main chore was yard work, which I hated, and I always tried to do as little as possible. But one day I was in a different kind of mood for some reason, and I spent hours mowing the lawn, watering the garden, pulling weeds, and so on, and nobody had to tell me to do it. When I was done my dad came up to me and said "you worked like a man today." He said nothing else and walked away.

If my mom had said that, it would have been a routine compliment, the kind of remark I expected from her. But because it came from my dad, it was a transforming moment. One minute I was a boy, and the next minute I had been inducted into the "Society of Men." It was a kind of initiation ritual or rite of passage, and it had to be another man who spoke the magic words.
Fathers rule...and mother too!
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★R
All the decent/respected science supports your argument that a father is invaluable in raising a child. Yet this view and its concrete and overwhelming evidence is not politically correct. It is simply not popular now. I have seen so much bullshit "science" negating the importance of a father.

We must remember that respecting a father used to be a social norm...not anymore.

No one really understands why children of today are, in general, disrespectful to their parents (mothers and fathers alike). It all started with the disappearance of the strong and respected father from the social norm.

Also, the role of the mother/wife/partner is crucial. A father can be a Nobel Prize winner and a most loving father, but if his wife disrespects him, everyone else will disrespect him too, including his children.

Impeccable argument and a bold piece, Francesca. R
I have always loved my two daughters(31 & 34 now). It's mutual.

I call my youngest "My Kitten" and she loves it.
This is a terrific piece. I applaud your courage in putting it out here. Had a man written this it would have been seen as a simple self-serving essay of little importance.

Personally, I take the place of men in families as a metaphor for the place of men in society. When men are respected and respecting inside their families, they are also respected and respecting in the society.

Children who grow up without a mother to love will have a hard time knowing love; and children who grow up without a father to respect will have a hard time developing respect.

Parents often fall out of love with each other. Unless proper respect is maintained by them toward each other the lack of love between them can be a disaster for impressionable children. When respect is present it doesn't replace lost love but it certainly sets high standards that are a good life lesson to the child and have a major impact on their development as well balanced individuals.

Mishima, what a wonderful story, I love it and thank you. So beautiful
Algis, Indeed, both mothers and fathers are needed and rightfully adored
Thoth, Thank you for calling me bold. That is a special word for me:)
luv your man-positive writing and its like a breath of fresh air or water in the desert a little. however re this weird line: "Furthermore, most women who raise boys alone do so not by choice but because of economic disparity or because husbands, boyfriends or mere sperm donors have walked out on them with no support."
there are also women who try to have babies with men who didnt want the baby, there are women who have babies with guys and then dont tell the guys, and as for sperm donors, well the whole point of that is that the father is not gonna be involved right? so talking about a "sperm donor walking out with no support" is quite the nonsequitur, dont you think? I just read a story about some lesbians suing a sperm donor for lack of support, or maybe it was the state attempting to collect alimony fees, etc.... so this kind of bugs me.... sperm donation is a very modern invention, but donors deserve some protections and usually its provided legally, but there are some weird exceptions popping up.... frankly, I think its quite noble in some ways being a sperm donor, and in some other lifetime, possibly where there is less risk and more respect, might have some inclination to try it, wink =)
ps have 3 kids in my own life, and my own sig other is putting up a lot of resistance to what I regard as "firm boundaries" for the rugrats. shes constantly nagging me to play with them but then she cant tolerate a male POV on firm discipline/boundaries etc. ... its a hypocrisy. female values and empowerment can be taken too far and it can lead to coddling, helicopter parenting, and spoiled/narcissistic kids, something our culture has a blind spot for but which is widespread.... my sig other wants to talk endlessly to a kid who is having a tantrum, to help him "understand his feelings" or whatever, and I see a game and a manipulation by the child of the parent going on.... at least there are lots of very good books about how to raise kids, and fairly well-thought out psychology/theory etc.... if anyone would just pay attn to it....
skypixie0, As a woman who loves being a mother, and who loved having as mother and a father, I only have the "courage" that my parents gave to me by always being solid, present and great examples of courage, character and calm.
vzn, Your words and comments are genuine, heartfelt and mean so much to me. I am grateful. Thank You
"Some of these traits are wonderful, some so not, but most are necessary for becoming healthy, balanced and mature children and adults."

Horse crap!

I can cite NUMEROUS scientific studies AND my own two "healthy, balanced and mature" daughters that prove your OPINIONS wrong.

But thanks for re-spouting the same erroneous, fundy BS that the likes of AFA and the rest of the haters spout. Maybe you can join NOM now (if you aren't already a member, that is).
Ah, you have continued on your course of re-evaluating the current prescription. I put it this way: there must have been a reason the traditional roles were invented. It is even possible, if not probable, they result from instinctual and physiological differences that go even deeper into what has allowed the species to survive, at least, this far.

Because we can imagine another way of living, does not necessarily make it better as history has taught again and again. There may be many advantages to changing the roles and expanding them, no doubt, but there are also clearly disadvantages.

Witness any child who has grown up in a ideologically divided home, or suffered as so many did during the last generation. Let's see what happens to the next, and whether or not the dialogue will grow and develop to take into account what has been learned.

Sometimes, we have to take a stand or later the price is higher than we imagined, and we then become forced to live with it. If nothing else, seek counsel, but clear the air about ideological issues before hand. You don't want to allow yourself to fall into the hands of some Nazi's.
Ignore SafeBeyAmy.

She obviously-missed the pro-female aspects of your blog and can't understand how citing "her" children as well-adjusted (which I'm sure they are) is both biased and meaningless in the context of what you've written about.
Great post

In the Ohio Swiss German culture of my childhood, the rule was that a fathers job is to teach you how to be. A mother's job is to love you whoever you are.

it's grown a bit more complicated, but the jobs are still the two primary and polar anchors of a family-

Family is much harder to define in these days of equality for gays- I think there is a great deal to be said for the notion that it isn't really the number of penises and vaginas that make a couple, or a nurturing set of parents.

I don't dispute that some women and some men DO raise admirable children without a partner, but I also think that there is no doubt that it is a job more easily done when there is , as you say, a division of the roles, one to encourage achievement and being the best that you can be, the other to love unconditionally. These are most natural filled by a male and a female.

That said, I have gay friends who are parents, couples, a "pre surgery transgender" and his wife and a pair of gay men.

My wife has known the Husband of the first pair for 40 years, He has always been "Butch". He makes a great father.

The Male pairing , while not so "butch and femme" is clearly Father and Mother.

The truth of the roles is obvious. "Heather" needs a Mommy AND a Daddy, no matter what the distribution of genitalia is.
As a single mother of 4 (not by choice, by death) I'm familiar with all those statistics and I agree with every thing you've said. A father makes a difference. Also agree with Bill Cosby: "A house without a father is a challenge." Kids need dads; they need two parents. It's hard to be a parent. It's even harder to be a single parent. It doesn't have anything to do with feminism or personal opinion; it's common sense. I've seen both sides of it and I firmly believe children need fathers; my family is proof. Not knocking single parents of either sex or same-sex families; what kids need most is love and security. But I'll bet if you took a poll of children being raised by single mothers, the vast majority would say they also wished there was father in the house, even children of divorce who see their dads regularly.
Ben Sen, Thanks for your unique insight and comments, fully appreciated and noted and respected. Truly
Joisey Shore - Redux -, I appreciate your support, I happen to have strong opinions and know that I will always receive negative comments, that's just part of being a journalist and writer!
Margaret Feike, Your comments are greatly appreciated and noted. I get you. Peace
I rated this post some time ago but didn't take the time to comment. I'm sorry that I'm a month late now, Francesca. It is a great post. It is an unfortunate reality that feminist ideology of the 1970s and '80s disparaged and sneered at any possible positive role for me as fathers. I am certainly not a "macho man" but I was shocked and dismayed by women demanding men subordinate themselves to their dogmatic, degrading ideology of how men should be--a dogma that was often self-contradictory. This dogma certainly interfered with and crippled my relationship with my 3 young daughters. Thank you for this post!