Our Readers Flood Columnist with Letters over Her Fine Column on Fatherlessness

Portland, OR– “When I made the decision to divorce my children’s father and move to Portland [from the mid-west] when our twins were age 2, I thought I was the only parent my sons would ever need. I was mistaken.

“No matter how much love I poured into my children’s hearts, my sons were starving with ‘father hunger’…

“I owed them the chance to discover all of their father’s charms as well as his failings and be shaped by his modern day initiation rites, where a father teaches his sons secrets that only men know….

“[M]en aren’t always the only ones to blame when Daddy isn’t a part of his children’s lives. Women have a larger role in that than we’d like to admit…women of divorce need to lose the anger so our children don’t become unintentional pawns in a game to prove how much we don’t need a spouse to survive.’

A couple weeks ago I praised columnist S. Renee Mitchell for recent column Mom might be the reason dad’s absent (The Oregonian, 8/20/08), which is quoted above. I suggested that readers “commend Mitchell for her courageous, dead-on column,” and hundreds of you did.

The next day she posted some of the letters on her Oregonian blog in an entry called Discussing Fatherlessness, writing “I received email from readers from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, South Carolina, Alaska, Texas and even in Portland…”

I reprint a few of the letters below:

You did something that was very hard for you to do but it was the right thing to do, and I admire you for it immensely. Your character and integrity are an inspiration for all of us — women and men alike.
Kirk (Washington state)

It’s a rare person who will admit (in print no less) what they might have done — or failed to do — to contribute to a situation that deeply affects children. I remember hearing a fellow on radio say that the diagnosis of ADS in boys was most often found to be Absent Dad Syndrome rather than Attention Deficit Syndrome. Makes sense I think and apparently you, too, figured that out.

I grew up without my dad and it was entirely due to my mom’s anger and vindictiveness…It was so devastating and really inhibited my growth. There were so many lessons I never got taught that I had to learn the hard way…I love my mother dearly, but on this one subject, I will never forget she did this.
Steven (Alaska) 

Read her full entry here. Thanks to all of you who wrote her.

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