Mother Nature has bestowed the mother lode of goodwill on mothers. Their day is the mother of all holidays. When we talk about things of importance, we mention Mother Earth, our mother country, the mother ship, the mother board, the mother of invention, mother superior and even the Mother of God. They even get the mother of all swear words.
While founding fathers is a positive term, godfather has some negative connotations. Father Time is kind of neutral, and nobody wants to be told they’re old enough to be your father. Fathers are like the Rodney Dangerfields of parents — they get no respect.
Fathers.com, the website for the National Center for Fathering, tells a different story about the value of dads. According to research on the site, children without an involved father are more likely to be poor, abuse drugs and alcohol, drop out of school, be involved in crime, become pregnant as a teen and suffer from health and emotional issues.
While the site focuses on the importance of fathers, it makes it clear that mothers are crucial to a child’s well-being and says the best situation is having two loving parents who work as partners to raise well-adjusted kids. Each brings a different set of traits and experience to the task that combine to produce the best outcome.
There are four main sections on the site: Training, Research, Blog and Fathering Library.
The Training section offers three programs of instruction. The first one trains people to teach dads parenting skills. The second program features small group settings for dads to share experiences with other dads.
The third offers online tools for dads to work on self improvement.
The Research section is full of studies, charts, facts and figures detailing all aspects of fatherhood and fatherlessness. The site’s goal is to provide evidence of the importance of father figures in kids’ lives.
The Blog section is a collection of essays on fatherhood. Some of them tend to have a greeting card tone to them, a little too sappy and sunny. But there are lots of good observations and advice in many of them.
The Fathering Library organizes content from other parts of the site into categories. You can research different parenting situations, different periods of parenting based on kids’ ages, daughters versus sons, single parenting and many other specific topics.
Fathers.com has a clean, easy-to-navigate design. It’s illustrated with stock photos of happy families. There are some short videos that are well done but not especially impressive. The site’s real strength is in the data and resources it offers for fathers who want to do better.
Kevin OʼNeill has been a staff artist for The Times-Tribune since June 1993. In addition to doing illustrations and infographics and designing pages for the paper’s print and electronic publications, he writes InSites, a weekly column about websites and apps. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5212