Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53% of Hispanics
73% of black children are born to unmarried women.
No Dad, Big Problem
The absence of a husband and father from the home is a strong contributing factor to
poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance and a host of other social problems. (Article)
Thirty years ago, when we first got involved helping unmarried women cope with unplanned pregnancies, the “professionals” said many of these young women who found themselves expecting a baby outside of marriage had broken relationships with their dads. In those three decades, marriages have had a harder time holding together, and because of government subsidies, single parenting is the alternative to abortion or adoption or coerced marriages.
While we have helped women to survive – how are we helping the children to live without their fathers?
Or, do fathers matter so much in a child’s development?
First based on personal observation, dads were more fun than moms. They do neat flying tricks with itty-bitty babies. They can break mom-rules that kids can’t. They aren’t so uptight about mud and messes. They like to cook junk food and are more ready to go to McDonald’s than moms ever are. They will play video games with their kids, and the stories they tell of their growing –up adventures are often way more fun than moms’ stories about ballet recitals. Their stories even make moms laugh – nervously.
But dads were also tougher, using far fewer words than moms. They don’t count to three; they issue one word commands in voices that send budding debaters scurrying. In the middle of the might, in the middle of a nightmare, dads seem bigger than any monsters who may have snuck under the bed.
But dads without moms aren’t any more super-powered than moms without dads. Kids need a man and a woman even to have been created; how much more do little folk need both parents to grow up?
God bless the woman who has the courage to give her child life; God help us help her to raise that child – making us kind and encouraging. But God show us how to help boys become men who love and cherish the lives they create.
Right now, there are fathers who have bolted from their daughters and sons. To an increasing number of men, the children they create are as notches on a gun, and the women seem to be powerless to persuade them otherwise. So little girls grow up, seeking a man’s approval, and settling for rough approximations; little boys grow up without a man’s guidance, and settle for cheap imitations.
And single moms often break down under a load that is meant to be shared.
Broken relationships with dads – whether they are corporate executives, Hollywood glamour-types, preachers, or drifters – have sharp edges that cut children’s hearts, and wound many others. Thirty years or more years of encouraging the brokenness isn’t making stronger or better communities.
· He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~ Clarence Budington Kelland
· One father is more than a hundred Schoolemasters. ~George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640
· Fathers represent another way of looking at life - the possibility of an alternative dialogue. ~Louise J. Kaplan, Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual, 1978
What’s the conversation we need to be having . . . first, in the church? We can’t offer much to social policy, until we are proving it is a good plan amongst ourselves.