Here we go again — my second Single Dads article in almost 1½ years of the FathersOnline newsletter. I always said the first article wouldn’t be the last. What has brought on this sudden burst of ‘single father inspiration? Read Peter Duncan’s email in the News & Info section before you go any further to find out:

Dear Dads4Kids

Get off your ‘Unfair Child Support Blame the Family Court’ soap box. In your article for single dads there was only one line of any use, the last: “the need for a system of individual justice for all parties is a fundamental issue”. The rest, as in previous articles, is only inflammatory facts that only heighten anxiety and poses no solution.

Single dads, of which I am one, need to admit that they have screwed up, and get right with God. They can still be good fathers, even if it’s only in prayer and one phone call a week. So long as they do all they can to love, assure, affirm and give identity and belonging to their children.  Because that’s the unique thing a father brings to a family that nothing else can, and nothing can replace that and it’s not limited by distance.

Fathers in the past have been irresponsible, which is why the  Government and family court has such draconian methods, so we only have ourselves to blame. Irresponsible fathers will not disappear off the scene overnight. So we better get on our face and pray to God to turn this nation around.

So I applaud your segment, but how about using it for words of encouragement and strength, not a continual whining for how unfair things are. Stir us up, help us rise to the call of manhood and fatherhood, show us what we have, show us what we can bring, show us what we can do. Manhood and Christ-likeness are synonymous.

Why would this Government listen to a minority when the child support of the liable parent is used to subsidise the Government’s own responsibility to the single parent pension of the carer?

Yours sincerely,

Peter has written an email in response to John Flanagan’s comments on the unfairness of the current child support system. Peter has castigated John and our weekly email for getting on the soap box about the problems within the Family Law Court. He pointed out that talking about the negatives all the time to single dads is not going to solve the problems that single dads face. Pete has also offered some positive spiritual insights. It caused me to think again very deeply about our Single Dads articles and the goals of our FathersOnline weekly newsletter.

Our main goal is to inspire dads to a greater level of excellence through stories and peer education. Political change has always been a secondary issue. After all, unless we can speak to the heart of the issue and encourage men to prioritise their relationships, we will continue to have more divorces and more fatherless children.

I have personally begged many single dads to try to write positive articles about their role as a single father. I have been told time and time again that finding positives amongst the pain of having your children removed from you by the draconian Family Law Court is well nigh impossible.

This week I have shared with you some of the pain I experienced growing up in a semi-fatherless home. As a happily married man, I don’t understand the pain single dads go through, but I certainly understand the pain children face having their fathers taken away from them.

After conducting independent research and receiving quality legal opinion, I believe the dealings of the Family Law Court are fundamentally flawed. The Child Support Agency, while a good idea in principal, is a handmaiden of a flawed Family Law Court, and as such continues to exacerbate the injustice of the court.

The ironic thing is that single mothers receive less today, allowing for increases in the cost of living, than they did before the Child Support Agency was introduced. Many single mothers are desperately unhappy with the current Child Support Agency.

This is not to mention that the agency demands untold millions extra from the taxpayer to fund its dysfunction. It is one thing to invest money to achieve something greater, but it is another to spend more money and achieve a worse result for mothers, fathers and the children for which it is supposed to serve.

Pete Duncan’s statement: “Fathers in the past have been irresponsible, which is why the Government and the Family Court has such draconian methods, so we only have ourselves to blame,” cuts to the root of the problem. Fathers should be more involved and committed to their families. It is a good father’s responsibility. That is why the Fatherhood Foundation/Dads4Kids exists. And yet to remind men of their failure while they have a gun in their ear is not going to help lower the shocking men’s suicide statistics.

The Fatherhood Foundation does not always agree with everything everyone says in articles. Free speech is very important to us. Please forgive us if we get it wrong. FathersOnline is meant to be a lifeline for fathers. It is also a forum for dads, to help circulate the truths they learn, the passion they feel and the challenges they face. Such forums are few and far between in our highly feminised society.

So, we must rise up as real men and real fathers. Accept the responsibility for our mistakes where we have made them, and work together to encourage each other in the noble art of becoming a good father. Something that will no doubt take a lifetime.

So Single Dads, take heart, success comes in cans. You can be a loving father even though separated from your children. We are here to encourage you, stand by you, challenge you and hopefully also challenge injustice wherever it may be, including the injustice we find within ourselves. That’s why we need help from above. Thank you, Peter, for your loving rebuke. Not one of us has a monopoly on the truth. That’s why it is so important to be open to one another’s point of view.

Thanks for sharing with us,
Warwick Marsh

[Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash]
Published On: March 15th, 20040 CommentsTags: , , ,

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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