The Texas attorney general"s office recently released its list of top child-support evaders, and there was something notable that was never mentioned. It"s not called the list of deadbeat dads anymore. Of the top five worst evaders, two were women. Did you read any news stories on this? I know I didn"t. Granted, I"m more sensitive to this matter. Until a few months ago, I was a single father with full custody of my son. While this often made me an anomaly at school functions, soccer games and child birthday parties, it gave me a unique perspective on how this world treats men who want to be involved in their children"s lives. Let"s just say it is not very positive. When my son was taken from me across state lines, there was no help; certainly not from the law. In the tradition of the American and Texan spirit, I went and got him on my own. After we returned, I sought some assistance to get him in day care and make sure he had food. Imagine my shock when a state-appointed worker told me that she would not help me with my child, but if the mother came in they would help her. The last words out of her mouth stung in a way that I could not imagine. "That boy needs to be with his mother," she said. Eleven years ago, single dads were unusual. According to the last census, it is a quickly growing demographic. At last check, Texas had about 16,000 fathers who have sole custody of their children. This leads to a few questions: Why haven"t we heard more about this? Why is a man who wants to have a relationship with his children looked upon as an awful thing? From my experience, I have encountered hostility from women for my choice in life. It almost seems like my existence damages the myth that children are better off with their mothers. I won"t go as far as to say that there is an underground conspiracy to keep men from being active participants with their offspring, but there certainly is a one-sided perspective to the situation. Being a single father has many obstacles. We have to work twice as hard just to get custody of our children. Even an unfit mother gets the benefit of the doubt. Teachers, generally being female, want to talk to the mother when they call or when I go to open house. I admit I do get a kick out of telling them I am the mother. This isn"t to say that one parent is ever better than two, but maybe it is time to re-examine what men can do when their children are involved. I am evidence that we can surprise you when given the chance.Write a Letter to the Editor of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram for publication by clicking here. Comment on the piece by clicking here.
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Write Ft. Worth Star-Telegram in Support of Single Father’s Column
"When my son was taken from me across state lines, there was no help; certainly not from the law. "In the tradition of the American and Texan spirit, I went and got him on my own. "After we returned, I sought some assistance to get him in day care and make sure he had food. "Imagine my shock when a state-appointed worker told me that she would not help me with my child, but if the mother came in they would help her. "The last words out of her mouth stung in a way that I could not imagine. "'That boy needs to be with his mother,' she said." A great column by Chris Taylor in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram--read it below then use the address provided to write a Letter to the Editor in support. From Taylor's Texas fathers with sole custody of children growing in numbers (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 5/31/09):