Monday, June 18, 2012

Dads by the Numbers

Okay, this is kind of a stretch for a Mathematical Monday, but Fathers Day was yesterday, and I'm involving numbers. We'll pretend it works.

In contemplating Fathers Day, I found myself thinking about the students I've taught recently and the various roles fathers have (or haven't) played in their lives. Here come the numbers.

0 Dads
I've had several students raised by single mothers without any father in the picture. Some of them mentioned offhand that the last time they heard from him was years and years ago. I have another student whose father died just last year. Even in the absence of a father, the experience can vary widely.

1 Dad
This is just the standard, average situation, right? For some, yes. Some students have the basic one mom, one dad, still married after all these years. (That's the situation I come from.) There are others whose parents are divorced, but their dad has stayed just as involved as their mom.

It's not always so standard, though. I had one student who was raised by her dad because her mom passed away years ago.

2+ Dads
Anyone with half a brain should know that biology isn't everything. When one of my students mentioned her dad, sometimes she meant her biological dad, but often she meant her step-father. She has a great relationship with him.

When another of my students mentioned his dad, he almost always meant his foster dad. The only time he meant his biological dad was when he talked about filling out paperwork and making sure people included the "Jr." so his father's criminal record wouldn't come up and get mistaken for him.

There are lots of kinds of dads, and they cover the spectrum from amazing to appalling. As a writer, I try to hit on various types and situations. Whatever our situation, we have to be grateful for the good, and grateful for every chance to overcome the bad.

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