Soul searching can provide an in-depth understanding of the father's changing role in the family, the language of fatherhood, paternal contributions to child security, and the need to nurture androgyny. This chapter highlights the mythic and spiritual perspectives of these issues that should be integrated with social science and human studies in fatherhood research and policy. It explains that fatherhood is an act of faith in the acceptance of paternity and the social expectations of its meaning. The social expectations are derived from Biblical myths and common views about the callings of fathers beyond the family. Children understand the need for fathers to be away from home because of employment or divorce, and appreciate the time that their fathers devote to them. The language used by children to describe their fathers is another demonstration of the importance of soul searching for understanding the emotional dimension of parent-child relationships. Personal narratives about relationships with fathers provide insight into an individual's conceptualization of fatherhood, as good memories of family life will inform the reader's interpretation of social science. Fathers' role in protecting their children is derived from a myth that many children have realized is unreliable. Children in developing countries, as well as the inner cities of industrial countries, have found out that their parents cannot protect them from war or gang violence. Fathers must be more visible and assert their strength to protect their children. However, the violent responses of men must be mediated with the feminine attribute of peace in order for children to be truly safe. Men are beginning to realize the value of androgynous characteristics that will help them form connections with their children by caring and nurturing them at a young age. 12 references.
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