It has been my belief that historically and physiologically humans look to the male member of the household as the person with the most authority. Strengthening this belief is the fact that children of unmarried mothers with live-in boyfriends identify the person with the most authority in the house as, “my mother’s boyfriend”. No modern woman wants to think of this kind of statement as even a bit true, even though many of them grew up with mothers and or grandmothers who said things like the mother in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “The father is the head, but the mother is the neck; and, she can turn the head any way she wants.” What that means is that for millennium, men have been recognized as authority figures in the house and beyond. But sub-rosa, women are powerful. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.
What about in the matter of faith and morals? Does one parent have more influence than the other? A new book Families and Faith: How Religion Is Passed Down Across Generations by Vern L. Bangston seems to believe so. While many sociological factors such as not practicing what one preaches or intermarriage can cause children to stray from the professed faith of their parents, one factor seems to stand out, a close bonding with one’s father. If the child has a warm, caring relationship with his/her father, the child is significantly more likely to follow the religion of that parent, the exception being among Jews. In that case, a strong bonding with the mother indicates that the child will continue to practice Judaism. Dr. Bangston came to these conclusions after studying 350 families over several years. Personally, I think that he is right. We know through statistics and experience that households with two parents more often produce responsible off-spring. How much more beneficial to society and to individuals to have a caring, loving father?
Boys and men, take heart. You have not been made redundant. Please – rise to the occasion.