The father's role in the Orosa home

By Joe Aliling

As we celebrate Father's Day, I would like to exhort the fathers in our Orosa Clan to take their place in their own homes. Many families in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, are in trouble today. Perhaps, the most serious is the increasing number of families without a father.  I know that the Orosa male species, such as some uncles I know in the maritime profession, are partly responsible for this.  (ha-ha-ha)  Today, there are more than 8 million fatherless families with children under 18 in the United States. This is over 25% of all families with children under 18. Obviously, single women are the head of these families and they continue to struggle. About 41% of these women have never been married. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nationwide just over one third of births were to unmarried women in 2002.

After two years of research, the Council on the Family in America concluded "American society would be better off if more people got married and stayed married." To support its conclusion, the study stated "that children who don't live with both parents are most likely to grow up poor, have problems in school, and get into trouble with the law; ...the children in fatherless homes are five times more likely to be poor than those who live with both parents. In black families, where the decline in marriage has been most acute, 57% of children in fatherless households live in poverty, while only 15% of children in intact families are poor."

On April 25, 1995, the Wall Street Journal observed: "Marriage may be an imperfect institution, but so far in human history no one has come up with a better way to nurture children in a stable society." The Readers' Digest published an article written by Judge Liebowitz entitled "Put Father Back at the Head of the Family" in 1958. He concluded that the easiest and simplest solution to reduce delinquency among the youth was to put back the father as head of his family.

The family is the basic unit of society. No society can rise over and above the strength of its families. And yet the family is falling apart here in the United States, and elsewhere in the world. Raising children should not be left alone to a single mother. The father should stand also as a pillar of strength in every home.

Do women resent this partnership with a good man in her home? I donít think so. In fact, women may welcome it. A good man becomes the provider, the defender, and the companion who will listen and support his wife. There is no adequate substitute for a father and a mother, both working together, to edify and strengthen each other as they guide their children through life.

How do we get the father to take his place in the home and is it worth it? I believe it is. However, it may take a slow process for us to get the father to take his place in the home. We start this process while he is still a young boy -- teaching him, inspiring him, and guiding him along the right path to fatherhood. I know that it will not be easy. And, we will not save them all. But we can save many of these prospective fathers that we are losing now.

I believe that nobody else, other than a good father and a good mother, together can teach children effectively the value of education, the utter stupidity of using drugs, the dangers of gang violence, and the miracle of self-esteem which can change their lives for good.

I think we can point out to our Filipino youth that there is a better way than the way so many are now following. Of course, it will take patience. And persuasion. It will also take the counsel of good and loving fathers.

A few years ago, I ran into a schoolmate from the University of the Philippines High School (UPHS) at a golden wedding anniversary of a Filipino couple in Newark, CA. Last year, I saw her again at a birthday party in Milpitas, CA. She is a single mom, and now part of a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. It is pathetic that her husband abandoned her and their children in Fremont, CA. Her story is one of many that I know.

This problem of family life that we face here in the United States is great. I believe that we can reform our society only to the extent that we can reform our youth. That this reformation can occur by teaching our traditional values in school, and by putting a good father who will stand beside a good mother in a home where integrity, honesty, respect, and other virtues can be taught by example.