Editor's Note: I asked entrepreneur, business owner and dad Joel Wiggins to share his thoughts on the importance of fatherhood this Father's Day. Wiggins' group, Men Standing in the Gap, is behind the popular Triangle Father Daughter Dance and this year's Mother Son Valentine's Ball in February. He works to help men strengthen their bonds with their families and their communities.
When I think of the importance of dads, my first inclination is to speak on the role I play with my children. In a culture that devalues the importance of fathers, I will challenge you to consider that dads are more important than ever.
As a dad, I realize how important my leadership is to my home and the example set for my kids. We have all seen the videos of military dads surprising their children, big or small, toddler or teen. The emotion shown reflects the value. A new commercial by GM shows military dads returning and one little girls says, “oh, daddy."
Dads are not just protectors in the military, but of their families. Any real dad would be willing to die at any minute if it would save just one of his children. Dads are to be the protectors of hearts and minds for their children. A dad who works two jobs, drives trucks on the lonely highways or struggles to keep the family business going so he can provide for his family is priceless.
The presence of a dad makes a noticeable difference in the lives of adult children. You show me an adult who had a loving dad who set a great example, and I will show someone of great wealth.
It is very easy to identify a person with a close relationship to their dad because they seem to shine. It is my belief, verified by many research findings, that a dad’s presence can prevent many issues that affect our society. Poverty, dropout rates, teen pregnancy, low self-esteem, gang activity and prison rates are all decreased dramatically when a dad is present in the lives of his children.
I have pictures from a daddy-daughter dance that I have sponsored for years and almost all of the photos show a little girl who looks very much like her dad. It amazes me that when you sit a daughter on her fathers’ knee, you see a beautiful female version of her dad.
Dads are the producers of children. We all came from a man. Mom carried us. Dad planted that seed. How important is it for the seed to know the one they came from? How important is it for a child to be spoken to with words of affirmation from their dad?
Just ask the millions of children in America who do not know what it is like to have this person in their lives. The hole left in a heart from not having this man involved will last a lifetime for many.
As I write this article, I realize I have never called a man "Daddy." I called my stepfather by his name and did not know my biological father until I was a teen. He never earned the right to be called dad by a stubborn 16-year-old boy who was very independent.
His early death came when I was 28. Now I hear "Daddy" from my children every day.
And you know what? Being called Dad is always the highlight of my day.
Wiggins is a Raleigh father of three.