FaithWorld

U.S. working dads’ top priority is giving family love – survey

(Colt Groff, carrying his daughter Peyton Groff (L), and Jason Hill, carrying Trayson Groff, look at the smoke from the Wallow wildfire in Apache County, Arizona June 9, 2011/Joshua Lott )

Many fathers these days want it all — time with kids, promotions at work and a spouse who shares the parenting duties. But some say they would trade in their commute and office gig for a stay-at-home role.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, a new study surveying nearly 1,000 fathers in the United States working at Fortune 500 firms takes a look at just how hard it is for dads to balance their work and life goals. The study titled “The New Dad: Caring, Committed and Conflicted” was unveiled on Wednesday by the Boston College Center for Work & Family.

Dads have long been celebrated for their role as breadwinner in the family. Now the top priority of men with children under the age of 18 still living at home is the softer side of being a father — providing love and support.

More than half of all fathers surveyed said they would consider not working outside the home if the family was able to live comfortably on one salary, a surprising change in perception, said Brad Harrington, executive director of the center. “There’s a lot of new thinking,” said Harrington.

Jobless ultra-Orthodox Jews weigh on Israel’s economy

(Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend a rally in Jerusalem June 17, 2010. Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Israel on Thursday against the court order to desegregate a religious school and force Jewish girls of European and Middle Eastern descent to study together. REUTERS/Ammar Awad )

(Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend a rally in Jerusalem June 17, 2010/Ammar Awad )

Meir Gross is a Jewish ultra-Orthodox father of five who does not work. Despite warnings that Israel’s economy may be threatened by his fast growing, often unemployed, community, he does not want a job. Gross advocates a pious existence geared to study. He spends nearly his entire day learning Torah (Jewish law), which he says is the most important edict bestowed on the Jewish man, and it cannot be combined with a job.

“Torah study demands utter and complete devotion. We’re not interested in making money or in material luxury. We are content with very little and our true joy, and highest duty, is learning,” Gross said.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, or “Haredim,” are a devout tight-knit community who make up 8-10 percent of Israel’s 7.7 million population, with eight children per family on average. Many are supported by the state and live well below the poverty line.  A Bank of Israel report in March said about 60 percent of Haredi men don’t work.