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And the Just Plain Dads

July 26, 1998

The fact that you printed the intellectually cloaked and righteously indignant "poor me" garbage espoused by Daniel Akst in "What Father Knows Best" (June 21) can only serve to embarrass millions of people seeking to see people as individuals and not as gender stereotypes. But even worse, he seems to actually seek acceptance of the notion that gender also determines parenting skills.

The so-called "coincidence that values and father have been evaporating simultaneously" not only offends all mothers, single or in partnerships, as beings incapable of role-modeling a strong value system but also proposes to limit the very role of "father" that he advocates.

If the article's intention was to support the involvement of all loving parties involved in the rearing of a child, it missed the mark. All I am left with is an overall sense of outrage that gender bias is thriving in our community and a pervading disappointment that this man fathered children.

Margaret Hartwell

Los Angeles

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As a child, I was reared predominantly by my mother. My stepfather was an alcoholic and rarely involved in parental decision-making. Still, I felt the great love and support provided by my mother. It seemed that single parenthood was enough. My perspective changed, however, once I became a mother.

When I wanted my son to use training wheels, my husband said, "No, he can learn to ride a bike without them." And, lo, he did. Now 12, my son watches and imitates my husband's every motion. They go fishing together, play basketball, talk about life.

Watching my son's development has made me see that, for all the love, support and input I give him, my son needs the other half of the parental equation.

Jackie McCoy

South Pasadena

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