Editor’s note: Today, I’m pleased to share a guest article by John Clark, author of the new book Who’s Got You? Observations of a Catholic Homeschooling Father. This book looks like a terrific resource for any parent, especially the special dads in our lives! LMH
This afternoon, I did a search on Amazon.com for “motherhood,” which produced 14,368 results; then I did a search for “fatherhood,” which produced only 5,591 results—about a third. If we can use those results as a cultural indication, we’ve got a problem in America: fatherhood is viewed as much less important than motherhood. Though it wasn’t always this way historically, that is certainly the culture in which we find ourselves.
Growing up in an ever-expanding family of—currently—nine children, I’ve seen how important my role is to my family, and I’ve seen the devastation of families whose father is intentionally absent. Even many in the Catholic world occasionally underrate fatherhood, probably because they’ve been so conditioned by society.
We men have forgotten our responsibility and our role. We men have forgotten that fatherhood is a gift to be nurtured and enjoyed. Fatherhood is designed to make us happy. It is sad that we forgot that.
As a father who finds fulfillment and happiness in my role, I decided to write a book about it: to explain to men why their role is great gift. My book, Who’s Got You, is an autobiographical way of explaining the happiness of fatherhood, and how my children teach me about life—through their laughter, prayers, works, sufferings, and joys. Rather than a “how to” book, Who’s Got You simply provides a peek into the life of a Catholic family, and why being a member of Catholic family is such a beautiful experience. It also seeks the console Catholic fathers who feel overwhelmed by life, and feel as though their responsibility will overwhelm them. “Who’s Got You?” is the question posed by the book title, and every chapter hopes to answer that question with: “God has me.”
When the book was released late last year, I had no way of knowing the kind of response that it would receive. Every writer thinks that he has something important to say, and hopes that it makes a difference. And, based on the reviews that I have gotten in print and in person, it seems to be making a difference.
Homeschooling fathers, my primary audience, seem to enjoy it very much.
One homeschooling father read it and wrote: “I wanted to send the book to all my friends and relatives who are puzzled, skeptical, or opposed to home education with a note saying, ‘This is why we do it. Enjoy.’”
Homeschooling moms seem to like it too, as one wrote: “I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed this book. I found myself reading it cover to cover, becoming choked up with each new chapter. It made me feel so blessed and grateful to God that He enabled me to homeschool my own children…”
I am also very pleased that it has found an audience with non-homeschooling parents, such as one who wrote that the “book is a real gem, not just for dads, but for moms, too! As a mother of two kids who are in private school, I can say this book applies to all parents, homeschooling or not.”
It has also been popular with Catholic teenagers. As a writer, especially one who writes about his own family, one seeks to entertain and uplift spirits. Some of the feedback comes in ways that you don’t expect. A few weeks ago, I went into a place where I saw a teenager reading my book, and laughing out loud. Maybe that’s the best kind of feedback there can be.
Though the book is about my family, I think what people enjoy is that it is really about their family. So many people have commented, with a smile, that their family is like that, too. I am so glad that it has made people see the joy in Catholic fatherhood, and I hope that, through my book and others like it, they will continue to do so.