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The statistics are staggering.

More than one-quarter of children in the United States do not have a father in their home, according to U.S. Census findings in 2017. That's nearly 20 million without a dad around.

The impact is far-reaching.

Children without a father at home are at four times the risk of poverty, and twice as likely to suffer obesity and drop out of high school, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. Daughters without dads are seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teen.

These facts are instructive for fathers and others who can play the role of dad in the life of a child.

Father's Day today isn't truly about the fathers. As any good dad knows, it's really all about the children.

The Herald Bulletin challenges fathers to turn this national holiday into a reaffirmation of their responsibilities.

Your kids not only need you in the home, they need you to be engaged in their lives.

Take an interest in their interests, show up at school events, get to know their friends. And open up to your children by sharing details of your day, and talking about your hopes, concerns and ambitions.

The prototypical American father is often portrayed as stoic and unemotional. But kids need to see the humanity in their fathers.

Children need fathers who meet their problems head on, not ones who pretend problems don't exist. Yes, be solid. Yes, be consistent. But don't forget to be honest and personable.

And you don't have to be a child's biological father to play that role. Stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles and family friends can help provide the fatherly guidance and love that kids need and deserve.

Be a father to a child, and help assure that he or she doesn't end up on the wrong side of the statistics.