This whole blogging thing is hard for me. I was born during the time between generations. The generation before me valued excellence and edited thoughts. Articles were written, re-written, edited, condensed, and edited again. The generation after me values unedited, spontaneous thoughts. The Twitter and Facebook generation just wants to know what you are thinking or doing, right now.
Well, here is what I’ve been thinking about today. And I have already forgiven myself for not over editing this.
I Have a Friend
He is a twenty year-old man. This has been a hard week for him. The car he’s been loaned broke down, and then was stolen. Yes, the thieves towed it away while he slept. Without a car, he is in jeopardy of losing his job. Tomorrow, he has a court hearing for a moving violation and an accident he had, in another borrowed car, earlier this year. At the end of the month, the friends he’s been living with are moving out. He can’t pay the lease, so he’s homeless.
The more time I spend with my friend, and others like him, the more I realize the truth behind the numbers. The numbers represent lives. Our culture – the ones who lead from organized, well written, over edited, and condensed one-liners – are focused on the numbers. We want lower crime rates, fewer murders, less drugs, and more hard working people who pay taxes. The problem is you don’t solve problems or change the world by manipulating numbers.
Here are the Numbers
- 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
- 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 f 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]
– Taken from http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/ accessed 10/9/13
What Problem Do the Numbers Reveal?
Our prisons and graves, our drug houses and homeless shelters are full of boys living in men’s bodies. These young people have grown up abandoned and alone.
My friend needs a car and a place to live. But what my friend, and thousands like him, really need is a father.
My friend grew up with a dead beat dad, who was strung out on alcohol and drugs. The only time dad was around was to beat him. Once he brandished a gun threatening to shoot his own son. This is why he can’t go home.
His sister’s life is a wreak. She works under the table and doesn’t have a bank account because she doesn’t trust anyone. The only reason she isn’t still a stripper is because of the effect the STDs, infections, and drugs have had on her body.
You want to change the numbers. You want America to be safe. You want your neighborhood free of crime. You want to read the newspaper, hunt, and enjoy your life. But you can’t because the numbers scare you. So, you fight over politics. You post angry status updates on Facebook and by passing judgment on these abandoned kids you further stoke their mistrust of adults.
The best way to change the world…
is to PARENT A CHILD.
He may be 10. He may be 40. He may be employed or he may be homeless. He may be tough. He may be shy. What all these boys in grown up bodies need, is a DAD.
If you are a dad, please know that your greatest achievement, your most powerful influence on America and on our world is to parent your children. If you are not a dad, then become one. I know that you’ve been hurt too. I know that your own dad didn’t treat you very well.
It’s time to let that go, suck it up, and become the kind of Dad you wish you had. You can’t change the numbers, but you can change a life.
Become a Dad who loves like the Father of all Fatherhood. Become a father who doesn’t provoke his son to anger. Become a dad who loves his children; who is willing to put down the paper, to take your kids on the hunting trip, and to enjoy their life. You’ll find that your greatest pleasure will come when you realize that your kids aren’t in the numbers.
Let me know what you think (about the thoughts in the post, not my lack of editing). Why aren’t men stepping up the plate and parenting their children? How can we encourage each other to man up? As men, how can we father other people’s children?
Can you pray for my friend? He is struggling. But he and I are both thankful for men in our church who are stepping up and helping him follow the path God has for him.