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Sons of Divorce, School Shooters
National Review Online ^ | December 16, 2013 | W. Bradford Wilcox

Posted on 12/17/2013 6:50:50 AM PST by neverdem

Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.

This is not to minimize the importance of debates about gun control or mental health when it comes to understanding these shootings. But as the nation seeks to make sense of these senseless shootings, we must also face the uncomfortable truth that turmoil at home all too often accounts for the turmoil we end up seeing spill onto our streets and schools.

The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer. My own research suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has written that “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”

Why is fatherlessness such a big deal for our boys (almost all of these incidents involve boys)? Putting the argument positively, sociologist David Popenoe notes that “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.” Boys, then, who did not grow up with an engaged, attentive, and firm father are more vulnerable to getting swept up in the Sturm und Drang of adolescence and young adulthood, and in the worst possible way.

Of course, most boys who grow up in a home without their father turn out okay. They pick up the right cues from a conscientious high-school soccer coach, flourish under the watchful eye of a devoted grandfather, or benefit from the consistent discipline of a strong single mother. But every year enough fatherless boys fall prey to the ministrations of a gang or the rage induced by a high-school bully or the emotional fallout of painful divorce to end up causing real harm to themselves or the members of their communities. So, if the nation is serious about ending the scourge of school shootings, it must also get serious about strengthening the families that are our first line of defense in preventing our boys from falling into a downward spiral of rage, hopelessness, or nihilism that can end in the kind of senseless violence that Karl Pierson, a son of divorce, visited upon Arapahoe High this past Friday.

W. Bradford Wilcox, who was raised by a single mother, is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Follow him on Twitter @WilcoxNMP.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: arapahoe; banglist; divorce; males; malestudents; moralabsolutes; psychology; schoolshooters; sonsofdivorce; teens; violence
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Nobody said it was causation. It is more correlation with the extremes of feminism of recent decades.
1 posted on 12/17/2013 6:50:51 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Perhaps what they have in common is a liberal, shrewish, anti-male, mother who drove the father away and so demasculinzed each of her sons that acting in a crude and violent manner was the only way the sons knew how to “act like a man” since that is what the mother taught the son a man is.

But, by all means, blame the missing father.


2 posted on 12/17/2013 6:55:19 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: neverdem

Disconnect with fathers is a major factor for many problems that young people face. This is why Mal. 4 says the ministry of Elijah, when he comes again, is to reunite fathers with their children.


3 posted on 12/17/2013 6:56:39 AM PST by lurk
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To: neverdem
Finally, someone looking at real root causes rather than 'delusional hysterical liberal woman' fantasies.
4 posted on 12/17/2013 6:57:28 AM PST by GOPJ ("Remember who the real enemy is... ")
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To: neverdem

The bigger correlation is a leftist mind-set and no respect for life.


5 posted on 12/17/2013 6:57:37 AM PST by Twotone (Marte Et Clypeo)
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To: lurk

After seeing some of the ‘fathers,’ sometimes the children are better off without daddy in the picture.


6 posted on 12/17/2013 6:58:19 AM PST by Yo-Yo
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To: neverdem
This article is spot on, although most certainly the Leftists will scream that it is somehow impolitic to say it out loud.

I would take this article one step further to its natural extension, and that is, the Black community. It is a mess. It is a culture now steeped in brutality and wanton violence. And why? Because of the break up of the family and the complete lack of fathers in the Black community. Children born out of wedlock is something like 75% in the Black community.

In the White community children born out of wedlock is skyrocketing as well. If you watch MTV or any other such dreck you will find that out of wedlock birth is now celebrated, in the “Teen Mom”, or “Secretly Pregnant” or whatever other show is now glamorizing raising a bastard child.

And then there is the whole victimology that begins with, “I'm a single mother...”.

You sow to the wind, you reap a whirlwind. I blame this on those many who told us that we were all simply “repressed” and needed to be sexually “free”.

I also blame the feminists and every single TV commercial and TV program that shows the male as the dunce. The female is always the wise one, and the Black person is always the hip one.

Yeah, we are really free now to brutalize each other thanks to what the Leftists have been preaching these last 40 years.

7 posted on 12/17/2013 7:04:36 AM PST by Obadiah (I Like Ted.)
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To: Jewbacca

I think we should look at the psychological abuse being heaped on children from an early age in school.

We start them out with the Story of Stuff which teaches them that government is supposed to take care of them. We drill into them the fantasy that the planet is being destroyed by their parents and grandparents who just don’t care. We manipulate them with sex ed that teaches that only “normal” kids have homosexual feelings. Now we have common core where there are no right answers and to find out if your answer is acceptable it must be taken to the approved government official at the front of the class. We drug boys for being boys. The whole time there is a steady drumbeat of hate conservatives, hate conservatives, hate conservatives.


8 posted on 12/17/2013 7:05:05 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: neverdem

It goes without saying.


9 posted on 12/17/2013 7:05:40 AM PST by ZULU (Impeach that Bastard Barrack Hussein Obama the Doctor Mengele of Medical Care)
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To: Jewbacca

Indeed.


10 posted on 12/17/2013 7:06:53 AM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: neverdem
Nobody said it was causation...

Why not?

If every person who died of lung cancer had smoked AND used multivitamins, causation would be on the table.

Should be on the table here too. Along with weird liberal values, antidepressants, and interest in the Occult. These slaughters by liberal young people have NOTHING to do with guns... and everything to do with rage, envy and hatred, and alienation from fathers.

11 posted on 12/17/2013 7:07:14 AM PST by GOPJ ("Remember who the real enemy is... ")
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To: Jewbacca

It is possible to blame the “absence of a father” without “blaming the father”...


12 posted on 12/17/2013 7:07:20 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: cripplecreek

Yeah, that’s the other thing. The Leftists demand that we sexualize children, those in kindergarten and maybe earlier. They want them to know all about homosexuality and condoms at 4 years old! What a disgrace.

It is time to start defending our children and putting the smack down on these leftists who are stealing our children and our culture.


13 posted on 12/17/2013 7:08:37 AM PST by Obadiah (I Like Ted.)
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To: Obadiah

We need to recognize that the destruction of the culture is the left’s primary goal.


14 posted on 12/17/2013 7:09:28 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: neverdem

Sorry, I can’t agree with this.

There’s a significant difference between an “absent” Father and parents that are simply divorced. There is no way to draw any conclusions about anything - let alone murderous intent - with two variables as major and material as the two mentioned.

With a 50% divorce rate, I know many co-workers and have many friends that are divorced. It would be pretty well arrogant of me to assume that I’m somehow a better Father to my kids simply because they’re divorced.

Like anything - you get what you give. You get the results you work for.


15 posted on 12/17/2013 7:10:45 AM PST by TangledUpInBlue (I have no home. I'm the wind.)
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To: Jewbacca

You are right it is not always the missing Father. It is the missing Biblical principals from our homes and our society. The “curse” the woman received from God after disobeying Him in the garden was not her monthly menstruation but her wanting to rule the roost.
The feminist movement has been at the forefront of the collapse of our family and societal structure, women wanting to be the boss in their home, big mistake!


16 posted on 12/17/2013 7:12:07 AM PST by thirst4truth (www.Believer.com)
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To: neverdem

Another article to drive liberals off the deep end.


17 posted on 12/17/2013 7:12:22 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; Antoninus; ...

Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail Responsibility2nd or little jeremiah to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list. FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search [ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]

Another relevant truth to remind us of the need for healthy families.


18 posted on 12/17/2013 7:12:48 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Obadiah

+1


19 posted on 12/17/2013 7:14:01 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Obadiah

We’ve got to go to the highest levels of education. I’m lucky to have at least 1 tea partier running for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents I can vote for.


20 posted on 12/17/2013 7:15:21 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: TangledUpInBlue

“With a 50% divorce rate”

A statistical lie. Yes, 50% of marriages result in divorce, but it is the once-divorced that marry and re-marry multiple times.

Something like 2/3 of one-time married people stay married until death.


21 posted on 12/17/2013 7:16:16 AM PST by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: TangledUpInBlue

With a 50% divorce rate, I know many co-workers and have many friends that are divorced. It would be pretty well arrogant of me to assume that I’m somehow a better Father to my kids simply because they’re divorced.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All things being equal - a man is ALWAYS a better father if he is at home with his wife and mother of his children than if he is divorced and living elsewhere.

ALWAYS.

Nothing arrogant about that, is there?


22 posted on 12/17/2013 7:18:16 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Jewbacca
...by all means, blame the missing father.

I didn't get that sense from the article. Just that broken homes are bad for children. Marriage failure isn't a gender-specific problem. Sometimes it's the woman, sometimes the man, sometimes both, and usually it's one or the other set of in-laws, right?

23 posted on 12/17/2013 7:20:39 AM PST by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: Jewbacca

Or, perhaps what they have in common is an irresponsible, “can’t be bothered with kids”, low values, father, who abandoned all of his sons and daughters, did not pay child support, and left their mother to do the work of both parents, in addition to struggling to keep them fed and a roof over their heads.

It could go either way, IMHO.


24 posted on 12/17/2013 7:21:14 AM PST by NEMDF
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To: TangledUpInBlue

Sorry, but in fact, better fathers are less likely to divorce. Marriage is extremely difficult: the men who endure miserable marriages in order to remain in the home and act as a fulltime father have a very large influence that those who are not physically with the children do not.


25 posted on 12/17/2013 7:23:59 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: neverdem

There are several problems with this analysis. First, school shooters are a fairly recent development whereas absent fathers have been around a long time. Second, if absent fathers were the problem, I would think the majority of shooters would be black since they have very high rates of fatherlessness. School shooters who are black are very rare. IMO the rise of school shooters reflects the rise in the number of kids who do not believe in God. Belief in God means that you will be punished for what you do in life and that moderates behavior. Those that dont believe do not fear the consequences of their deeds after death. They know they can avoid consequences simply by killing themselves, which they almost always do. Couple this with the desensitization to killing people they get from video games, movies and a high level of anger in general and have a school shooter.


26 posted on 12/17/2013 7:24:05 AM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

All things being equal - a man is ALWAYS a better father if he is at home with his wife and mother of his children than if he is divorced and living elsewhere.

ALWAYS.


I will concur. My father was not perfect, had drinking and anger issues but the older I get the more thankful I am he was there. He was always proud of us and bragged us up in the bar when we went to get him out and I knew my family history so I knew who I was.


27 posted on 12/17/2013 7:26:09 AM PST by PeterPrinciple
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To: TangledUpInBlue; neverdem

If family courts would stop shafting fathers on custody, divorce wouldn’t take such a toll. I have joint shared custody of my 2 kids as a result of a very recent divorce. I’m lucky. I would have taken full custody if I could have. I’m more involved in my kids lives than I ever was, and I was a very active dad when married.


28 posted on 12/17/2013 7:26:51 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: neverdem

Fathers matter.

In a study described in the book, kids with ADHD were paired with male therapists due to a noted absence of fathers in this child/adolecent population. The kids were given behavioral treatment with the therapists and special attention was paid to developing a positive attachment to the male figure. At the end of the treatment, only 11% of the boys and 2% of the girls had to remain on medication. The authors of this sudy suggested that social forces may be major contributors to ADHD. Among these social forces are: “the absence of positive father role models; the presence of a revolving door for negative male role models brought into the home; poor parenting; the need for order in the classroom when teachers are severely curtailed in meting out discipline; and a declining appreciation in our culture of what constitutes normal boy behavior.”
http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2005/11/does-absence-of-fathers-cause-adhd.html


29 posted on 12/17/2013 7:27:39 AM PST by fungoking (Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks)
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To: neverdem

As all these nuts were lefties it may be more a case of LEFTLUENZA.


30 posted on 12/17/2013 7:28:53 AM PST by School of Rational Thought
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To: TangledUpInBlue
With a 50% divorce rate, I know many co-workers and have many friends that are divorced. It would be pretty well arrogant of me to assume that I’m somehow a better Father to my kids simply because they’re divorced.

Men tend to compartmentalize things in their thinking. So to viewing "being a father" as separate from being in the same home, married to their mother, is the comparison you are making, and it's invalid. Even if parents don't get along perfectly, there is enormous value in just being together as a family and not complicating the union from which the kids came and who belongs in one's extended family with second and third spouses and their kids.

Kids go through great emotional turmoil from age 6 or 7 until they are, say, 30 or 40 years old or so. Divorce cannot help but heap more, much more, especially if the parents "date" or have other relationships during or after a split-up.

31 posted on 12/17/2013 7:28:59 AM PST by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: GOPJ

As I’ve seen, there is a VERY high correlation to both liberalism and to a missing parent. It’s not 100%, but there’s clearly something there. That is not complete though, as there is also a persistent thread of anti-religion in many of the shooters. This is not to say that there is not a strong mental health issue, and several other issues....but missing fathers have been shown to generally greatly increase a child’s tendency towards being unable to delay gratification, and moreso, towards acts that require incarceration.


32 posted on 12/17/2013 7:29:54 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: thirst4truth
You are right it is not always the missing Father. It is the missing Biblical principals from our homes and our society.

You speak truth.

33 posted on 12/17/2013 7:30:10 AM PST by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: TangledUpInBlue

Statistics apply to groups, not to individuals.


34 posted on 12/17/2013 7:32:11 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: NEMDF

I agree with you that it’s a no good situation, but with school shooters, in particular, it’s frequently the bullied kid who has been demasculinzed.

The no-good father scenario results in lay-abouts, rapists, and no-good fathers, part II.

Neither is good, but they are different beasties.


35 posted on 12/17/2013 7:36:43 AM PST by TheThirdRuffian (RINOS like Romney, McCain, Christie are sure losers. No more!)
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To: neverdem
No one can say we weren't warned:


36 posted on 12/17/2013 7:37:14 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Bainbridge
in fact, better fathers are less likely to divorce. Marriage is extremely difficult: the men who endure miserable marriages in order to remain in the home and act as a fulltime father have a very large influence that those who are not physically with the children do not.

Amen to your post. I used to marvel at one of my male relatives who was married to a grouchy, irritable, self-involved and sexually cold woman who never had a kind word. But his kids adored him and drew strength from him. He sacrificed because he lost his own father when he was young, and knew the value. All his children, regardless of the trials in their lives, made a living and never came begging for handouts, married decent spouses and raised good children of their own.

37 posted on 12/17/2013 7:37:53 AM PST by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: BenLurkin

Yep, I remember how Dan Quayle was lambasted by the liberals and the media when he discussed this.

Talking about absent fathers or the problems of broken homes, etc. is one of those “taboo” subjects we’re not supposed to talk about.

Sort of how it’s racist to talk about certain things such as gang violence and knockout games, bigoted against gays if one questions gay adoption, gay marriage, etc.

Some subjects have been defined by the liberals as verboten to even talk about. And the importance of fathers in kids lives is one of those subjects.


38 posted on 12/17/2013 7:42:56 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Jack of all Trades
If family courts would stop shafting fathers on custody, divorce wouldn’t take such a toll. I have joint shared custody of my 2 kids as a result of a very recent divorce. I’m lucky. I would have taken full custody if I could have.

Wouldn't that have been shafting the mother on custody?

The very best thing you can do is get a lot of counseling and reconcile with their mother. Marriage is not a competition over who can be the best or most involved parent. It should be a cooperation and a learning and a forbearance to the other's shortcomings, and a long-term exercise in patience, self-control, spiritual seeking and sacrifice. The rewards are also long-term.

If reconciliation is not at all possible, Godspeed. But remember the children will always need to have a positive regard in some way for their mother, no matter what she is like. You loved something about her. They need to love her, too, in order to love themselves who came from her.

39 posted on 12/17/2013 7:44:28 AM PST by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
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To: Albion Wilde

This is not a popular idea. Even some conservatives use the asinine phrase, “ quality time”. No such thing.


40 posted on 12/17/2013 7:54:37 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: Albion Wilde

This is not a popular idea. Even some conservatives use the asinine phrase, “ quality time”. No such thing.


41 posted on 12/17/2013 7:54:37 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: TangledUpInBlue; All

“With a 50% divorce rate, I know many co-workers and have many friends that are divorced. It would be pretty well arrogant of me to assume that I’m somehow a better Father to my kids simply because they’re divorced.”

You can be a good father when you are divorced. It can be done. It is simply much, much harder to do. There is no question about that.

Let me repeat, for emphasis: It is simply much, much, harder to do.

The statistics simply reflect that fact. Any time you make things harder to do, people do less of them.


42 posted on 12/17/2013 8:01:26 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: neverdem

43 posted on 12/17/2013 8:03:32 AM PST by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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To: Obadiah
You sow to the wind, you reap a whirlwind. I blame this on those many who told us that we were all simply “repressed” and needed to be sexually “free”.

The sexual revolution was bought and paid for by the Rockefeller Foundation. It didn't just "happen." They funded Kinsey and had the marketing plan for Kinsey's book written before funding the program. Their media outlets pushed it heavily. It was a coordinated elitist attack on the American Christian middle class.

44 posted on 12/17/2013 8:08:55 AM PST by Carry_Okie (0-Care IS Medicaid; they'll pull a sheet over your head and take everything you own to pay for it.)
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To: neverdem

Ping to 44.


45 posted on 12/17/2013 8:10:18 AM PST by Carry_Okie (0-Care IS Medicaid; they'll pull a sheet over your head and take everything you own to pay for it.)
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To: Albion Wilde

Thanks for the lecture.


46 posted on 12/17/2013 8:29:34 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: Bainbridge
Even some conservatives use the asinine phrase, “ quality time”. No such thing

I use it. But, I suppose that my definition is different.

For instance....I take my kids to the playground. I'm right in the middle of everything - pushing swings, flying kites, whatever. However, many, if not most of the other parents at the playground are parked on the benches off to the side. They're yapping on cell phones, or checking their email / facebook status for the 20th time that hour.

While all involved would likely say "I spent some quality time with the kids today.", there's a real difference.

47 posted on 12/17/2013 8:41:00 AM PST by wbill
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To: wbill

Time is time. Kids just want that,
The phrase (consider the source) came
from “working moms” who started it to
contrast what they did with their children
with what the( lame, backwards) stay-at-home
mothers did.
I never use their language.
He who controls the words, controls the debate.


48 posted on 12/17/2013 8:44:01 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: Jack of all Trades

Well done! I’d like to think the same.


49 posted on 12/17/2013 8:47:07 AM PST by TangledUpInBlue (I have no home. I'm the wind.)
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To: thirst4truth
it is not always the missing Father. It is the missing Biblical principals from our homes

Funny how the Biblical idea of a family always includes a father!

50 posted on 12/17/2013 8:48:55 AM PST by Former Fetus (Saved by grace through faith)
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