Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said during a Father’s Day interview that strong male role models are necessary to encourage masculine traits in society’s current “epidemic of fatherlessness.”
Speaking with the Washington Examiner, Hawley explained that fathers have a responsibility to provide for and protect their families — despite what some critics of traditional gender roles are currently saying about fatherhood.
“As I continue to grow as a dad, I think providing for your family, protecting them, and then really nurturing them, looking to their growth, those are the key things that I think as a dad, at least in the stage that I’m in right now, are so important,” Hawley said.
“Men are told all the time that to be a man is to be toxic, that if you’re a man, you make the world a worse place, and that fathers are irrelevant or maybe they contribute to the great injustice of the world,” Hawley said. “All of that stuff is false. We need dads desperately.”
Hawley, who has two sons and a daughter, told the Examiner that being a father is “the best thing you can do with your life.”
“There’s tremendous value in being a father, you know,” he said. “I mean, I just say unapologetically the best thing you can do with your life, you want your life to matter. Get married, have a family, be a husband, be a father, invest your life in somebody else’s life, don’t just live for yourself. That will be the path to true happiness and true significance.”
The GOP lawmaker said young men lacking strong male role models has been a generational problem that can lead to the absence of purpose and life goals that builds a constructive family life.
There has been a recent decline among Americans in getting married, starting a family, moving out of their parents’ houses and becoming financially independent, which Hawley attributes to fatherlessness and the media.
Hawley also criticized “the Left and their messaging in the media” for oftentimes putting men down. He said they often show fathers that are “either absent or abusive or idiots.”
The senator acknowledged that some men are absent or abusive and that those behaviors are “bad” but explained that men need to be shown the importance of their contributions to their families.
The 43-year-old Republican emphasized that men who grew up without positive male role models can “break the cycle” by committing to “change the destiny of your family.”
“You don’t have to do it perfectly, but if you will try to spend time with your kids, if you will try to invest in them, that will pay huge dividends in their life and in your life,” he said.
According to Hawley, young men lacking role models can fill that void by resorting to content widely available online.
“Just think about the stuff that kids are exposed to today, on mobile platforms, on the internet, social media, and I think, as a parent, there’s so much out there, there’s so many people who really want to influence my kids, who would really like to raise my kids rather than me,” he told the Examiner. “You’ve got [President] Joe Biden saying they’re all our kids. No, they’re not. They belong to their parents. There’s a reason for that.”
Hawley was referring to recent comments made by Biden in celebration of Pride Month in which the president said LGBTQ+ youth are “all our kids.” The president said in the video these children are “not somebody else’s kids, they’re all our kids.”
The senator said many young men are never mentored at all and these individuals “are the guys who are still … in mom and dad’s basement or … living somewhere on their screens at age 30 and can’t hold down a regular job … I mean, just don’t have any sense of purpose.”
Other young men will embrace messages they hear about male toxicity and find other men who will encourage destructive, aggressive or violent behavior, according to Hawley.
“What we need to find are role models who show what good, strong, healthy manhood looks like — that is self-sacrificial, that is willing to give up your own interests and ambitions for other people and is willing to use the strength and influence you have to benefit others,” he added.
Hawley said this advice for young men begins at his own home as he balances his work as a senator with caring for his family.
The senator’s book, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs,” was published last month.