We here at Pop Culture laboratories, an expansive space between the Keurig machine and the dry erase board at Parenting headquarters, are working on a new study about the effects of pants. Through our exhaustive research, we’ve discovered that there is an 83 (possibly even 84) percent chance that pants will cover your legs. There’s also a solid likelihood we will receive a big, fat grant to continue our work in the exciting field of pantsology.
To all the families out there struggling with their finances and trying to find work, here’s my suggestion: Hook up with a government agency or a local university’s psychology or sociology department. They appear to have more money than they know what to do with. How do I know this? Because we’re living in the era of the dumb study. In recent years, we’ve learned that attractive men have longer ring fingers on their right hands, and couples that participate in “arousing” activities experience greater relationship quality. And the groundbreaking nuggets keep on coming. As I was writing this column, an email arrived in my inbox. Subject heading: “Nearly 50 percent of women avoid intimacy when sick.” The other 50 percent think bronchitis is an arousing activity.
Unfortunately, the dumb study also targets dads. In June, Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life found that fathers who teach persistence have children with higher engagement in school and lower rates of delinquency. That same month, the Journal of Political Economy published a study stating that a father who shares good advice and instills a solid work ethic contributes to his son’s success.
But my favorite is a 2006 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure… and have better social connections with peers.” One expert quoted in the study says, “Fathers are more than just ‘second adults’ at home.’”
Seriously? Like, seriously seriously? More than just second adults at home?
Are we still doing studies connecting smoking to cancer, or carbonated soft drinks to cavities and obesity? When will we accept that fathers help their children with, well, everything? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this run along the CNN news crawl: “New study finds that fathers are kinda a big part of the whole raising-a-miniature-human thing.”
The Pop Culture Laboratories has its own finding to share: One hundred percent of dads know what their job is. So next time, tell us something we don't know, like the effect wool hats have on cranial warmth.