Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

September 20, 2012

Two-parent ideal, one-parent reality

(Continued)

Michelle Obama's speech prompted colleague Kathleen Parker, who leans conservative, to describe it as "perfection." Parker's takeaway: "It was that being a man means taking care of your family. It means showing up and being there. It means that children need a father."

For millions of children in this country, that's a need that cannot be met. And even when single parents intellectually realize that they're doing the best they can, they are racked by a sense of failure. On a daily basis, we are reminded that, to much of the traditional family world, we are invisible.

So the girl whose father has died still gets an invitation to the "Father/Daughter Dance." Paperwork from school comes home with a notation: "Must be signed by both parents." "You and your parents are cordially invited to the convocation where you will be recognized for your academic excellence."

Is the model of family as shown by the Romney and Obama families the one most of us wish all children in this country could experience — that is, being loved and supported by two loving parents (regardless of their gender)? Absolutely.

But to parents who lay awake at night worrying alone about their kids, with no partner to bounce ideas off, I would remind them that the political landscape in 2012 provides a testament to the power of the single parent.

What do Barack Obama, Julian and Joaquin Castro and Paul Ryan all have in common?

Single moms.

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Grant, the editor of KidsPost, writes about parenting issues every other week.

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