Wonderful book! The Catholic Family Handbook

Although this site is not meant to focus on the man's role, this is 
always good information.

If this article gets you frustrated with your husband, 
we will be considering "How to be a Good Mother" shortly 
and we will realize we don't quite measure up either. :)
Pray for your husband, and see the many good points he DOES have!

This is very good for those young ladies who are not single, so they
can look for these kind of qualities in the man they wish to marry.  3db6ef2f46315cb75ec800eb456b7d06

Probably nobody denies that the typical father 
exercises less authority in his home today than at any time in history. 
Reasons for this decline probably are of no interest or help in the 
present discussion; but the effect of it cannot be overlooked. For 
evidence accumulated by psychiatrists, social workers and similar 
experts proves unmistakably that when children lack a strong father to 
guide them, they suffer serious damage in many important ways. Consider 
these facts:

There is a startling growth in homosexual tendencies among the young, 
and most authorities agree that the boy who develops feminine 
characteristics usually has had unsatisfactory relations with his 
father in one or several important respects. 

Increases in juvenile delinquency--a headlined trend in every 
part of the country--are also due to the weak position of 
the father; the lack of an affectionate and 
understanding relationship between father and son is a prevalent 
characteristic in the background of boys charged with criminal 

Many authorities also blame the shocking rates of divorce and 
marriage breakdowns to this cause. The fathers of those who cannot 
succeed in marriage often never gave their children a realistic example 
of how a man should live with his wife in this relationship.

The importance of the father as an example of manhood to his son and 
daughter probably cannot be overestimated. 

For example, one day your son may marry and have a family. 
To be a successful father, he should know how to train his children; 
how to treat his wife and their mother 
in their presence; what to discuss with them about his work; how to 
show them manual skills, such as repairing a chair or painting 
furniture; how to perform in countless other important areas. The best 
way to learn how to act as a father is to observe one in action.

What ideals will he display as husband and father? To a large extent, 
that answer will depend upon those he has learned from you, his father, 
in your own home. What part will he play in the religious education of 
his children? The answer will largely depend upon whether you have led 
the family to Mass each Sunday, whether you say grace before meals in 
your home, whether you take an active part in the spiritual life of 
your parish. 

How should he act toward his wife--aloof, affectionate, 
domineering, docile? Here too the answer will mainly depend upon your 

The adage, "Like father, like son," is firmly based on fact. No matter 
how much he may resist your influence, your son will be like you in 
many different ways. 

If your influence is wholesome, the effect upon him will be wholesome. 
If you are a bad father, you will almost surely 
corrupt him in some significant way. 

Remember also that you represent God before your child 
because you are--or should be--the figure of authority in your home. 
He will be taught that he can always depend 
upon the mercy and goodness of the eternal Father, but it will be 
difficult for him to grasp the full importance of that teaching if he 
cannot rely upon the goodness of his earthly father.

It has been said that, in addition to giving wholesome example, a good 
father follows four fundamental rules in his dealing with his children.
First, he shows himself to be truly and sincerely interested in their 
welfare. Secondly, he accepts each child for what he is, and encourages 
any special talent which the youngster possesses. Thirdly, he takes an 
active part in disciplining his children. And finally, he keeps lines 
of communication open with them at all times. Each of these rules is 
worth detailed consideration, because the typical American father often 
ignores one or more of them.

1. Show an interest in your child's welfare. You can do this by 
devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him 
his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself 
to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can 
always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties. 
In a large family, it is especially important that you find time for 
intimate moments with each child. Every youngster should know that his 
father is interested in him as an individual, and is sympathetic with 
him and devoted to his welfare.

Modern fathers may find it more difficult to make their children an 
intimate part of their lives than did men of a few generations ago. 
Today's fathers often work many miles away from home. They leave for 
their jobs early in the morning and do not return until late in the 
evening, perhaps after the children are in bed. Unlike the men of an 
earlier age who often worked close to their homes, today's fathers may 
seldom see their youngsters during the week. To offset this condition, 
they should try to devote as much of their week ends to them as 

This does not mean that you should be a "pal" to your 
children or that you must act like a juvenile, when aging bones may not 
permit this. But at family gatherings, picnics, trips to the ball park 
or even visits to the school, you are sharing leisure moments with 

2. Accept your child and encourage his talents. One man hoped for a 
son, and found it impossible to conceal his disappointment when a girl 
was born. He now spends much time trying to inculcate masculine virtues 
in her and berates her constantly because she is not proficient at 

A successful lawyer prides himself upon his intellect and once 
hoped that his son would achieve great scholastic success. But the lad, 
now in high school, has shown no pronounced ability in academic work; 
however, he is skilled at working with his hands. He must face unending 
sneers from his father about his "stupidity. 

A third man married a beautiful woman and expected his 
daughters to be beauties too. One girl is extremely plain, however. 
Even at the age of ten she knows that she 
is a complete disappointment to her father.

All of these examples indicate ways in which fathers display a lack of 
acceptance of their children. It is a fact that the qualities a child 
inherits--his physical attributes, aptitudes, and many other 
characteristics--are the result of chance. He may be a genius or an 
idiot: you should not claim credit if the first possibility occurs any 
more than you should feel ashamed for the second. The moral is plain: 
your children are a gift from God, and you should always accept each of 
them in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, the saintly father will accept 
a defective child with greater gratitude, for God has offered him an 
opportunity to provide more love, affection and direction than the 
ordinary youngster might need.

Remember also that your child is an individual, with talents which you 
perhaps cannot appreciate. Let him develop them in the best way 

In attempting to learn why many gifted children do not go to 
college, researchers have found that their parents often have actively 
discouraged them. In a typical case, a father became wealthy through 
real estate investments and could easily afford college for a son with 
a strong aptitude in science. But the father accused the boy of trying 
to "put on airs" whenever college was discussed. Thanks to him, the son 
is now a misfit.

3. Don't shirk unpleasant tasks of parenthood. "See your mother; don't 
bother me" is a remark commonly made by one type of father. He returns 
from work, eats his dinner and then settles down to an evening behind 
his newspaper or before the television screen. When his children seek 
his aid with their homework or when they become unruly and require a 
strong parental hand, he is "too busy" to pay attention. Such an 
attitude tells a child that his mother is the true figure of importance 
in the family, while Dad is only the boarder who pays the bills.

It is not fair for fathers to enjoy all the pleasures of parenthood--to 
play with the children, to boast about their growth--and to give 
mothers all the painful duties. A father should discipline as often as 
the mother. If he fails to do so, he gives the children the idea that 
he does not stand with the mother in her efforts to instill proper 
manners and acceptable forms of behavior. As a matter of fact, in major 
matters the good father is likely to be the court of last resort. This 
is as it should be for his authority is more impressive and its effect 
more lasting than that of the mother.

4. Keep lines of communication open with your children. Teenagers often 
say that they cannot talk to their fathers about questions which 
disturb them. This breakdown in communication usually stems from one of 
three factors, or a combination of them. The father may be so severe in 
his discipline that he appears as a dictator in the youngster's mind; 
in the past he has always been "too busy" to keep on close terms with 
his boy; or he has not given his youngster the respectful attention he 
should have.

Stalin-type fathers fortunately are on the way out in America, for most 
men have learned that it is easier to train a child with loving 
kindness than with brute force. But some stern unyielding fathers 
remain. They may beat their child into patterns of behavior that offend 
no one, but in the process they often create a bitter adult who is 
never able to confide fully in another human being.

The second and third possible explanations for a child's unwillingness 
or inability to confide in his father may have even worse effects than 
the first. In the first instance, unless the father is a calloused 
brute, his child may at least discern evidence that his father is 
interested in his welfare. But when a father does not even care enough 
to concern himself with the child's upbringing in any serious way, he 
evidences a complete absence of love or interest.

There are many things that human beings prefer to keep to themselves, 
and it is probably good that this is so. Your child should not feel 
that he must lay bare his innermost thoughts and desires. But he should 
know that in times of stress and strain he has a sympathetic and loving 
adviser to turn to. You will fulfill that role if you strive always to 
treat him with courtesy and sympathy, and with an understanding based 
upon your memory of the difficulties, problems, fears and aspirations 
of your own boyhood. Never ridicule him: it is the opposite of sympathy 
and probably locks more doors between father and son than any other 

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