Friday, November 9, 2012

Step Up to the Plate, Dad. You're in Good Company.

Single fatherhood? Very likely, you did not plan to be here. Whether you said, “I do,” or “I do tonight,” you probably hadn’t considered the possibility that you wouldn’t have a partner to help raise your child or children. Divorced? Widower? A little surprise? Okay, perhaps a few single fathers actually planned to be a single father, and that’s cool, too.

“The number of men who list themselves as single fathers has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.[i]” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1.8 million single fathers in the United States in 2010. Of that number, approximately 46 percent were divorced, 30 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowers. Among those, about 154,000 were stay-at-home dads.[ii]

Regardless of the path, you’re in good company. Counted among the ranks of current and former single fathers are musician/activist Bob Geldof, baseball slugger Mark McGuire, actor Al Pacino, basketball star Dwyane Wade , actor Colin Farrell, international soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo , musician Lenny Kravitz, and, ahem, me.

You may know how to change your oil and flush the coolant in your car. Maybe you’re the best defense attorney in the city or a high-powered captain of industry. You might be able to fillet a trout or field dress a deer. You may even know the answer to the question, “Who played third base for the ’42 St. Louis Browns?” or recite the infield fly rule verbatim. Regardless of who you are, what you know, or the specifics of your situation, it’s time to add another dimension to your toolbox. It’s time to put up because someone, or maybe more than one someone, depends on you part of the time or all of the time. Let’s go, Dad. You need to step up to the plate.

-From The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball.

[i] Earl Kelly, “Single Dads Give, Learn Valuable Lessons,” Capital Gazette, June 19, 2011.
[ii] “Facts for Features,” U.S. Census Bureau,, April 20, 2011.

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