It is a question many have asked the last half century. And as the calendar skipped by my personal half century a couple of years ago, it is still being asked. However, should we be asking this at all?
The question then evolves. Will we be having children? In a society where multiracial families are common, gay couples are raising children and blended families are the norm, do women, heterosexual or not, need to have a man around to raise a productive, mentally healthy and balanced child?
Experts can vary on many issues, and no one wants to be politically incorrect, but what do real studies show?
If nowhere else but the African American community, it is painfully obvious what a lack of positive male role models can do to a society. In their three-year study, Rhonda Wells Wilboun and Dr. Spencer Holland researched the effects of having African American males as teachers for school age boys. The results proved invaluable. The perspective of the school-age-boys toward males and their self-esteem greatly improved.
Additionally, research shows that children need a combination of security and reasonable risk-taking for proper development. Even the rough and tumble way of a man helps brain development. Men tend to physically interact with their children differently than women. Men throw their kids up in the air, hold them up on one hand, and twirl them around, all of which help with balance and coordination. There is no doubt that the larger physical aspect of a man aids in providing a child a sense of security. But the greatest contribution a male makes is the modeling of a great male. A man of commitment, a respectful man, a man that respects nature, other human beings, upholds a work ethic, loves his family and community sets a standard for young boys to aspire to, and young girls to measure future mates to.
Therefore, it is not about whether we women can go at it alone. Of course we can. That is no longer the question. The question is do we need a man in our children’s lives? The answer is “yes” we do. However, the positive male role model can come in many forms. It can be a grandfather who is active and involved with the child, an uncle who the child can look-up to, or teacher or mentor with whom the child can bond.
Let’s move beyond the petty gender issues and accept the reality that both sexes are crucial in our children’s lives.