Jim Untershine, GZS of LB, 06-21-04
Father's Day is the holiday that allows us to congratulate
our father for having unprotected sex with our mother.
My situation allows further celebration for my father's
decision to not enter the priesthood. These are the
life saving decisions that a family man makes prior
to becoming a father. It may not seem like a big deal
to some, but it sure means a lot to me.
Although everyone on the planet has a biological father,
some are not lucky enough to know them. Still others
know their father and want to be with them, but are
somehow unable to do so. I was lucky enough to always
be with my father, which allowed me to reap the benefits
of his wisdom, guidance, and unconditional support.
My father served in the United States Air Force and
then received a degree in psychology. He was enterprising
enough to use his college education to convince Aerojet
General to hire him as a Human Factors engineer. Getting
his foot in the door of the aerospace industry allowed
him to evolve and adapt into a Reliability engineer,
which moved our family from Sacramento, CA (Aerojet)
and then Long Beach, CA (Douglas) and then Biloxi, MS
(Litton). After my father's retirement he contributed
to the efforts of Robert Truax in developing a commercial
spacecraft to win the ANSARI X Prize competition that
has recently caught the public's eye.
But children usually never admire their father in terms
of their academic or professional achievements, or their
financial successes or failures. We usually take for
granted the food and clothing and the house they maintained
and the health care and educational expenses. When we
attempt to recount our life experience with our father
it is more along the lines of his selfless endeavors.
My dad taught me how to "keep my skirt down"
when fielding grounders and how to hit a line drive
without "putting my foot in the bucket". He
never hesitated to take the time to emphasize the importance
of staying completely motionless and out of his peripheral
vision when he was driving the golf ball off the tee
and how to keep my head down when it was my turn.
My dad spared no expense in traveling across America
to show me the classics like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite,
Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore. He delivered me to
the steps of the majestic Corn Palace, the curious but
creepy Reptile Gardens, and the bat infested Carlsbad
Caverns. He held me up to the rail so I could spit from
the top of the Hoover dam and he led the way in our
climb up the slippery and perilously narrow trail to
reach the Yosemite Falls.
My dad took the time to be a leader while I was in Cub
Scouts and Boy Scouts and attended the Pancake Breakfasts
and the weekend campouts where he witnessed the bloody
pinecone wars between rival patrols within our infamous
Troop known as the 215.
My dad took the time to be a coach of my baseball team
that wreaked havoc on the Kiwannas T-shirt league. He
inadvertently gave me a lesson in civil disobedience
when he decked an umpire for getting too personal in
front of the kids.
If my dad didn't set the bar of fatherhood high enough
for his four sons to clear - my parents celebrated their
50th wedding anniversary last year. My father's parents
also achieved this accomplishment, but this family tradition
may be interrupted by this new age of no-fault divorce.
I adamantly believe that this abbreviated depiction
of "Responsible Fatherhood", was primarily
the consequence of "Healthy Marriage" which
is achieved due to love for family and the dedicated
teamwork of two parents, rather than a government program.
As the father of three daughters, my journey through
fatherhood involves an uncharted path. The examples
of fatherhood extended to sons do not always apply to
daughters. A son who wishes to follow his father's footsteps
must evolve and adapt to the environment he is forced
to raise his children.
I received a degree in Electrical Engineering and was
hired by Northrop as a control systems designer in California.
In contrast with my father's ability to take his sociological
degree and convert it to engineering, I am attempting
to do the opposite. This decision was not only prompted
by the wrongful termination of my 15-year marriage,
or the wrongful termination of my 13-year employment,
but because of my concern for the safety of my daughters.
The mother of a child in the State of California is
transformed into a weapon of mass destruction that can
be detonated upon walking into Family Court. The cat
is out of the bag regarding Family Law injustice, and
is provoking fathers to attempt to disarm their Family
Law assailant by misdirecting violence towards mothers
As a concerned father with insight into an out of control
Family Law system, I am forced to conscientiously object
to it any way I can. The winds of change are gathering
strength and the exploitation of children for money
will soon be recognized and stopped. In the meantime,
I refuse to discourage marriage or raising a family,
since this would be admitting to my children that parents
are powerless to guarantee their preservation, protection,
"If you want to believe in it, then believe
in it. Just because something isn't true doesn't mean
you can't believe in it. Sometimes, the things that
may or may not be true are the things that a man needs
to believe in the most. That people are basically good,
and that honor, courage, and virtue means everything.
Power and money - money and power mean nothing. That
good always triumphs over evil. And that true love never
dies. You remember that - and whether it is true or
not - you'll see that those things are the only things
worth believing in." ("Second Hand Lions")
Jim Untershine, 3321 E 7th St. #1, Long Beach, CA 90804,