Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fatherless Girls

I've noticed for sometime now a steady stream of traffic to this blog because of a brief post I made back in May on fatherless girls. So, tonight, I was trying to count all the fatherless girls I've known in this town.

I would count a few, think I'd finished, then remembered another one or two. In the end, I simply gave up. It's overwhelming. Not the numbers, but the faces. Overwhelming.

I wonder if we will ever again be a society in which it is unusual to grow up without a father. My own father died when I was two years old. At the small school I attended, I was the only child in my class of about 100 students without a dad at home. What are the numbers today?

When I came to Colorado at midlife, I landed in a coffee shop that was a hang out for an eclectic crowd that included everyone from the mayor of the city to a group of homeless gentlemen. The coffee shop was also two blocks from the city's largest high school, and it attracted very many mildly disaffected youth who enjoyed its eclectic atmosphere as much as I did. Most of the first 200 or so people I met in this town were mildly disaffected kids.

Some of those kids attached themselves to me. When I look back it strikes me that the boys who attached themselves to me usually had fathers. But the girls who did were usually fatherless.

I wonder why most of the boys had fathers, while most of the girls didn't?

Growing up a male myself, I knew the boys at that age are not usually looking for a father figure when they attach themselves to an older man. Instead, they are most likely looking for help in entering the adult world. That is, at that age, they want to work out how to relate to adults who are not their father. I suppose the girls wanted pretty much the same thing.

Yet, I don't know. I don't know why most of the boys who wanted to associate with me had fathers while most of the girls who wanted to associate with me didn't have fathers. Nor do I know whether there was any difference between the boys and the girls in why they wanted to associate with me. Some things seem bound to remain a mystery.

At any rate, my experience of fatherless children -- or more precisely, my experience of fatherless girls -- has convinced me they are especially vulnerable, they are often overlooked, and that we all could do more by them. So, I've decided to make my own small contribution to their cause by blogging from time to time about some of the fatherless girls I've known, what kinds of problems they've faced, how they met those challenges, and what wonderful people they are. I hope you'll be interested.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, why would you name your article "Fatherless Girls" even though you mentioned both, boys with fathers and fatherless girls! ;)

Anyway, i'll definitely wait to know more about them. :)


Faisal

Paul said...

Hi Faisal! I named the article "Fatherless Girls" mainly because when I begun writing the article I was thinking mostly of fatherless girls. But as I got to writing, I started thinking of the boys I've known too. Perhaps I should have changed the title, but I forgot to!

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