(This is a cross-post from a blog entry I made in January on my Multiply blog. I think it’s appropriate for Father’s Day.)
Some men don’t appreciate the fact that they’re fathers. They think having children is a burden, a curse, an accident, a crimp on their social lives or careers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fatherhood is an awesome privilege and responsibility. In this day and age, not having a father – or having an apathetic one – can make or break the difference for generations to come. Look at these statistics (courtesy of AllProDad.com):
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
(Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
(Source: Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
(Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
(Source: National Principals Report on the State of High Schools )
- 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
(Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children.)
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home
(Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)
The impact fathers make affects generations. These statistics translate to mean that children from a fatherless home are:
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide
- 32 times more likely to run away
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- Boys are 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution
- 20 times more like to end up in prison
I grew up in a home with a relatively old father (my dad had me when he was 46; my brother came a year later). His age certainly was a factor in our dad-son time, and while, yes, there was no denying he loved me, I did yearn for more attention from my dad. A son’s template for manhood is set by his father, and, no disrespect to my father meant, but mine wasn’t around enough for me to develop a good “imprint” of what it meant to be a man. He was always busy working to give us a good life, but good lives aren’t always about having more than enough money. What I remember most about my dad were our lunches out at Shakey’s, our talks on his rocking chair, our time just him and me watching television.
Kids don’t want your money; they want your time. They want you.
The impact fathers make affects generations.
In hindsight, I can see the areas where my dad was weak as a father, and I am determined to not make that same mistake. When we have intimate relationships with God, when our marriages are strong, when we prioritize our family over less important things, we send a very important message to our children that they are important, that our values are straight, that we know who matters.
As fathers, we affect generations upon generations.
AllProDad asserts fatherlessness may very well be the most important sociological issue of our time, and I am inclined to agree. A home with an active and caring father is the best thing you can provide for your children. All your sons and daughters will create their templates of manhood from you, and carry that template over to their children, and so on. Cast your love for them upon them and you change their lives; cast your love for God upon them, and you change the world.
Being a father is an awesome privilege and responsibility, affecting generations. Go and be the man and father God destined you to be.