I was fortunate to be raised in a wonderful, supportive family. Growing up, my parents never missed my sporting events, birthdays, prom nights, college orientation week, graduations, wedding, the birth of my son, and everything in between. I will always remember when my father was the coach for our Baseball youth league.
He built a Baseball diamond, a Field of Dreams, in our front yard. His mission was to provide other teams the option to practice in this field for free so more parents would get involved and the kids would have a positive environment to learn life skills. He was successful at this mission and was a hero for the community. Of course, my parents were not perfect, but I know they did their best.
Where are the heroes today? John Sowers, author of the book Fatherless Generation: Redeeming Story discusses the negative impact of growing up without a father. He states: “What happens when our givers of life give us a lifetime of tears?” Instead of being heroes, some fathers have become villains, ravaging their families through violence, incarceration, drugs, or running away from their responsibilities to take care of their children. Here are sober statistics that reveal the destructive consequences when a father is absent in the home.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”
Men, it’s time to step up and take action for our future generation. We can be heroes to our own families by loving, supporting, and leading them, but don’t get discouraged because all of us will fail and make mistakes. That’s why we must rely on the strength of our heavenly Father, the ultimate SuperHero of the story of life. He is our strong fortress (Prov. 18:10), rock (2 Sam. 22:2), refuge (Ps.61:3), and never grows tired or weary (Isa. 40:28). He is like a reservoir where we can collect His infinite wisdom, strength, and love to distribute in the lives of our family and communities. Men, let’s be courageous!
Practical Steps to Fatherhood
1. Find time every day to ask your children, “What did you do today?” or “How was your day?” Just a few minutes of interaction and building that relationship is worth more than gold.
2. As men, we are tempted to either work too much and create an idol or work too little and breed laziness. It’s important to find a balance so you can support your family while also working around your hectic schedule for “family time.” I suggest literally writing “family time meeting” in your schedule and take it more seriously than your work meetings. You know that if you didn’t show up, you would get fired. You may not get fired from your family, but don’t take advantage of the grace given to you.
3. Startup community projects that will make an impact on the next generation. My father had a dream to build a baseball field and he did. Are there any ideas that you have that will make a positive influence on your city?