Dear Marriage Supporter,
There is an old story about a father and his sons roughhousing in the front yard with a football, tearing up the turf in their careless play. Then the boys' mother came out on the front porch and yelled at the father that they were destroying the beautifully manicured lawn. He looked up from his position on the ground after having been tackled by his sons, and responded with a shrug, "We're not growing grass here; we're growing boys."
On this Father's Day weekend, as we at NOM continue to work hard in preparation for the 4th annual March for Marriage — now just a week away — I think that little story serves as an important reminder for all of us of the essential reasons why we're marching on June 25th.
One thing it reminds us is that Moms and Dads each bring their own unique and important contributions to the lives of their children and to the enterprise of parenting. On this weekend we think particularly about the role of fathers in kids' lives and in society — a role that is special and irreplaceable and of unspeakable value. To acknowledge this in no way disparages the role of mothers, least of all those mothers who must heroically endeavor to raise children on their own. But we know that even the very best Mom is not a Dad; and that the opposite is true as well. Incredibly, though, we live in an age when this common-sense observation, of a truth we all know directly from our experience, has somehow become controversial to proclaim. Evidently, it flies in the face of "political correctness" and "triggers" those who willfully choose to maintain a hypersensitivity to reality.
The story reminds us that boys and girls are different, too. Amazingly, this has perhaps become an even more controversial thing to say than observing that mothers and fathers are different! It is a sad irony that often the very people who deny any difference between girls and boys then turn around and wonder why young men and women don't know how to behave toward one another in ways that are upright and honorable. Pundits on the news shows this weekend will sit at round tables and scratch their heads and wonder why we have a "problem" in our society respecting fatherhood: why are there so many absentee Dads, so many Dads who run out on their obligations, who mistreat their wives or children? The simple answer — though I don't imagine many of them will discover it, despite all their efforts — is that those fathers never learned to be good men. But how will we fix that problem for future generations if we insist on drilling into the minds of our youth now that there's nothing special about being a boy, just as there is about being a girl; about being a man or being a woman; about being a father or being a mother? We're marching in our nation's Capital in a week's time because we know how dangerous it is to treat gender as a mere chosen "identity," something interchangeable or indefinite. We're marching because we know good men and fathers don't just grow like the grass: they're raised — ideally by their own fathers who love them well.
The final thing that the little story about the dad and his boys messing up the lawn reminds us all, and perhaps the most important, is that we aren't waging this fight because of animus or hatred, bigotry or ideology. We're fighting to protect and preserve the things we love most dearly. We're marching in Washington, D.C. next weekend not because we deny anyone's dignity or harbor ill-will toward anyone: we're marching for our faith, for our families, and for our freedoms. The writer G.K. Chesterton once said that the true soldier fights not because he hates that which is in front of him, but because he loves that which is behind him. As a father myself, I know that one of the basic tests of how to be a good Dad is to try to pass on to your own kids a better world than the one you received. We're marching in Washington not just for marriage and families in general: we're marching for our own marriages and for our own families. I hope that, if you haven't already committed to do so, you will come and join us.
May you and your family have a very happy Father's Day weekend, and I hope you will share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join us next weekend as we march for the truth of marriage and the truth about men and women, which includes the truth that fatherhood is a special and sacred thing.