Sunday, January 9, 2011
Football Legend Bobby Bowden's Concern About Absentee Father Trend
This past Friday night I was home channel surfing. I came across an interesting program on a local Miami sports channel. The program featured lessons learned from the gridiron by legendary college football coach, Bobby Bowden. A year ago, at age 80, he retired as head coach of the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles, a position he held since 1976. He coached professionally for 55 years, including one other stint as head coach at West Virginia University.
The reason the program caught my attention is that Bowden was talking about his relationship with his players. He spoke of how many of them still see him as a father figure. He sent many of them off to the pros after successful careers at FSU. But he sent even more of them off to succeed in other vocations.
The part of the program that was most intriguing to me was when he was asked, “What’s the main difference between the players that you coached at the beginning of your career and today’s players?” He replied, “The kids today, when they walk into my office, have the same innocent smile. But what’s different is that most of them don’t know who their daddy is. I get so mad at these dads that just have them and take off.” That response caught my attention.
I started The Upbeat Dad with the mission to help fathers, mothers and kids realize the very important and critical role that dads play in kids’ lives. Some men willingly embrace this role but far too many do not. So much changed throughout Bowden’s 5 decade career but the point he chose to emphasize was the trend we call the absentee father syndrome.
There are too many situations where kids grow up having no idea who their father is. And for many who have met their father, it’s nothing more than a periodic visit. Here are some statistics from the National Fatherhood Initiative that ought to give us cause for concern: