Father’s Day is a time when we reflect and honor the men who have provided for us and raised us. For some, honoring dad is easier than it is for others. I grew up with a dad who preferred to spend more time with a bottle in his hand than with us.
When you grow up with an absent, alcoholic father, it’s very easy to follow the same path of destruction. Though I did start that way, I was fortunate not to become another statistic. Many young men aren’t as lucky.
In fact, every year more and more boys grow up fatherless or without a positive male figure in their lives. You might be thinking that’s sad, but it has nothing to do with you.
As a men’s pastor and former mental health professional, I see the impact fatherlessness has on our society. Today, virtually every social evil, injustice or abnormality can be traced to absent, delinquent, misbehaving, drunk, or sexually immoral dads who didn’t respect or understand their enormous calling.
Don’t believe me? Turn on the news. There are plenty of recent events highlighting the epidemic of young men wreaking havoc. Look at the school shootings that have taken place over the past year. All of the suspects are male and many of them grew up fatherless.
This should come as no surprise because research from the National Center for Fathering suggests that fatherless children are nine times more likely to drop out of school, 11 times more likely to exhibit violent behavior and 20 times more likely to be incarcerated.
So what do we do?
If you are a dad, it’s time to evaluate your relationships with your children. Are they a priority to you? If not, I encourage you to change that. Maybe that means fewer hours at the office, or the bar, or setting aside a few hours on the weekend to do a project with your son.
If you grew up with a positive male figure, whether it was your own dad or someone else, consider becoming a mentor to a boy who is fatherless.
Boys are looking for someone to show them the way. If young men don’t get healthy approval from a father or father figure, they will chase it in a number of unhealthy and self-destructive ways that destroy them and the people around them.
Men become men in the company of other men. That’s a sociological fact all over the globe, in every culture. Whatever is modeled, mentored or messaged is always multiplied with respect to boys, young men and fathers.
Dads, the boys in your life are watching, waiting and learning. The question is: What will you teach them?