When you think of a father, what do you picture in your mind?
Your answer to this question is shaped by your own experiences with your father, the father(s) of your children, and other fathers that you interact with. Not too far in the past, the role of "father" was that of showing discipline while providing for the family. Very seldom was a father part-caretaker as well. Although that same view is apparent in some families even today, there has been a significant shift on how important fathers are in society's eyes; especially as single motherhood has been on the rise. Many children are now growing up in divided homes in which the father isn't involved. This can actually have a significant impact on a child's upbringing, especially when their father is a good one.
Psychology Today quotes that, "even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections". This is due to how a father interacts with their children. Almost all of us can agree that when you see a loving father playing and interacting with his children, there's a difference between that and how a loving mother plays and interacts with her children. These differences are what make a well-rounded child, and neither is more important than the other.
Fathers are strong role models for both sons and daughters. When a son is raised with a positive father figure in his life, he learns how to be the best man he can be because he grows up under the wing of a good man. When a daughter is raised with a positive father figure in her life, she learns more about what to expect from the opposite sex. However, when the father is uninvolved and the entirety of a child's upbringing rests on the mother's shoulders, she's capable of raising children with the same qualities- just as children with uninvolved mothers are able to grow up with qualities a good mother would typically provide them with. For the most part, however, this is unlikely to happen.
Society has diminished the importance of fathers in the upbringing of children in recent years, but we are starting to realize their worth more and more. There are some aspects of parenting that are best handled by a good father, just as there are some aspects best handled by a good mother. When a child has both parents in their lives- unless one parent is a threat to the child- that child will flourish. Fathers bring a lot more to the table than we previously realized; and when given the chance, there are certain benefits to a child that can only be provided by their father.
Psychology Today reminds us that, "experiencing validation of their importance... has made fathers much more conscious of their value, which, in turn, leads to their greater desire to be involved". Children benefit from fathers who want to be involved, and a way to encourage that involvement for a is to acknowledge how important these men really are.