WETZSTEIN: Dropping the ball on fatherhood

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Maybe you have heard Roland Warren’s football story before. But if you haven’t, it’s worth a listen.

Mr. Warren recently recounted his tale at a Capitol Hill briefing on the importance of involving men in the prenatal and postnatal care of their families.

His story starts out with familiar scenario: Handsome teenage guy becomes enamored of a pretty teenage girl. She reciprocates. They ended up getting pregnant.

Since this happened in the 1980s heyday of legal abortion, it would have been typical for this young couple to end their pregnancy and split up.

But Mr. Warren had grown up without a father, and he and his girlfriend decided to get married and create a family.

Before long, he found himself in a Lamaze class to learn about childbirth.

When the big day came, though, he soon realized he still didn’t know what was going on.

People were bustling around “and a lot was happening,” he said, “but I really felt like an outsider in that process.”

Then, “at some point … someone gave me a baby.”

“I remember thinking to myself, as I looked down at the little guy, ‘Wow … a baby ‘ And the nurse had a look on her face that was sort of like, ‘Good luck with that.’ And here’s the bill.”

That day’s experiences “helped solidify” his thoughts about the importance of a father’s involvement with children, said Mr. Warren, who has been married 29 years and is the president of the National Fatherhood Initiative.

But a second illuminating experience happened as he and his wife were bringing their newborn home.

It was a snowy day, and after they parked their car and his wife got out, Mr. Warren told her, “I’ll get the baby.” He carefully gathered his son from the car seat and “took two steps and hit a patch of ice and went airborne.”

The only thought that filled his mind stemmed from his years playing football: “Don’t fumble the baby.”

Seconds later, Mr. Warren slammed into the parking lot, landing “all back and all head.”

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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