Dads Are Getting
the Message

Fathers have increased their involvement in their children's lives over the past decade, according to a new survey by the National Center for Fathering.

The survey, released for Father's Day 2008, compares fathers’ involvement in their children’s education with a similar survey we conducted in 1999. Overwhelmingly, the survey shows a positive trend among fathers. Dads are more involved in every area examined by the survey. The greatest increases in father involvement came in “walking or taking your child to school,” “attending class events,” and “helping your child with extracurricular activities.” Significant gains were also seen in “helping your child with homework” and “visiting your child’s classroom.”

While the numbers are up in every area, dads show room for improvement in some significant areas, especially reading with their children. 38% of survey respondents said they never read to their child. Additionally, 50% of dads never volunteer at their child’s school and 69% never have lunch with their child at school.

While most dads are not able to visit their children's school during the work week, we can make a commitment to become more involved in their education in a larger sense by concentrating on the informal schooling of our children in life skills, character and virtue.

Whether it’s in the car, on the playing field, at the supermarket, around the dinner table or in the garage, you can share life skills and values with your children whenever you’re with them. Those are investments that will have a positive influence for years to come. Teaching those things is not the school’s job anyway. It’s our unique privilege and responsibility as fathers.

Action Points

  • *Set a schedule for your children to read at least some time every day this summer.

  • *Find an age-appropriate way for your child to help you with a project around the house.

  • *Get a book of stories that have moral lessons attached to them, such as The Book of Virtues. Read and discuss one story each day with your children.