Mother’s Day is pretty easy to write about. Most people love their moms because they were good to them and treated them kindly. The mother is usually the primary influence in the household because mom is always there whether she is a stay at home mom or a working mom who comes home to an environment that she is still called to “work.” I know that there were some moms who did not live up to this standard and this was not their experience. But I don’t hear as many stories about Mom being the source of dysfunction and abandonment as I do about Dad.

The generation we live in has been called “A fatherless generation” because stats show that fathers are noticeably absent. Check out the latest US Department of Census numbers:

  • 64.3 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation
  • 26.5 million: Number of fathers who are part of married-couple families with their own children under the age of 18.
  • Therefore, 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]

The Problem

43% of US kids live without a father in the household. That number is way too big and should be appalling to everyone who sees it. What is even worse is that the fathers who are still present in the home can also be very absent in the lives of their children. We have a real problem that stares at us in the face, while we do our best to ignore it. If you believe that this isn’t a problem look at some further study that has been done to study the effects of a fatherless home.

  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, Vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. [National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows for all God’s Children]
  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions have no father. [US Department of Justice, Special Report, Sept. 1988]
  • 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]
  • Fatherless boys and girls are: twice as likely to drop out of high school; twice as likely to end up in jail; four times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. [US D.H.H.S. news release, March 26, 1999]

The stats could go on and on that point out the obvious problems that extend from homes without fathers. I don’t share to simply make anyone feel bad…but the best way for change to occur is to be aware of the problem that clearly exists, so that we can work together to bring about change.

So what can be done to combat this problem?

1. Christian men need to stand up and be intentional about their roles as fathers, husbands and men. Not every Christian man is a husband and father but they are a man. We can’t simply sit back and take cues from our culture because it defines a mans role differently than God does. There are many great classes out there for men that teach them about intentionality. The one we are currently using at Gloria Dei is called “33 the series.” It paints the problem and talks about a solution. You walk away from the class knowing what defines a Godly man and you can see how it sits in stark contrast to the world. However you learn to be intentional just make sure that you are following through with what you learn.

2. Christian men can also choose to be mentors to those boys and girls without a father figure. This can be done through a program such as Big Brothers/Big sisters, but doesn’t have to be. Start to notice those around you that are in need of a father figure. Maybe it might be a neighbor, a friend of your child, or a kid at church. It doesn’t matter how you find someone as long as you find someone who needs a mentor. It starts by being a friend to them. Eventually a trust will form and you can start to pour into them the good stuff that every child needs. Every child needs to hear: 1)You love them 2)You are proud of them 3)They are good at something. Every child also needs boundaries and a set of rules to live by.

3. Christian families can become more aware of the problems that exist in their own communities. You can identify the groups that are trying to work in this area already. There is no need to re-invent the process, so if there is a group already doing it, ask them how your family might be of assistance. It is important for your children to know the problems that exist and that your family can be different, while reaching out to help others.

4. The most important one– point people to a Father in heaven who has loved them even before they were created. No matter how imperfect an earthly father was or is, the Heavenly Father can heal those wounds and restore a person in any condition. God is the ultimate example of how a father loves his children. No matter if Christian men have their own children or not, through God’s love, they can be a role model to others in their homes and communities. We can love not as our culture defines, but simply how God loves. It is our job as Christians to point the way to our Heavenly Father. We need to let people know that they are father-less no more!

I want to hear from you. What are your ideas about what can be done to combat this problem? How have you seen or felt the impact of this problem?