Today is Father’s day and I have been thinking a lot about the men that are important in my life and the lives of my family and children. My dad is a kind, hard working man. He has always been respectful and kind to my mom. He is soft spoken, but encouraging in all of our endeavors. He is kind to everyone he comes in contact with and he loves life and all the good it has to offer. My husband is also very kind. Rarely does he raise his voice. My kids say it’s scarier when he gets quiet anyway! He strive to teach our kids how to work and take care of themselves, and to take responsibility for their lives. He encourages them in whatever they choose to pursue and tries to help along the way when they need some counsel or advice. I am grateful for them as well as all the great father figures I see around me.
I also had the opportunity to look into some statistics about dads and the crisis happening in America because of the lack of a father figures in children’s lives. Here are some of the statistics that I found most interesting. You can read all of the stats from the article here.
- Children who live in a fatherless home are 279% more likely to deal drugs or carry firearms for offensive purposes compared to children who live with their fathers. (Allen and Lo)
- Even when poverty levels are equal, children who come from a two-parent home outperform children who come from a one-parent home. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- 63% of youth suicides involve a child who was living in a fatherless home when they made their final decision. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- 90% of the youth in the United States who decide to run away from home, or become homeless for any reason, originally come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- 85% of all children which exhibit some type of a behavioral disorder come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Living in a fatherless home is a contributing factor to substance abuse, with children from such homes accounting for 75% of adolescent patients being treated in substance abuse centers. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Children who live in a single-parent home are more than 2 times more likely to commit suicide than children in a two-parent home. (The Lancet)
- Girls who live in a fatherless home have a 100% higher risk of suffering from obesity than girls who have their father present. Teen girls from fatherless homes are also 4 times more likely to become mothers before the age of 20. (National Public Radio)
- Children from fatherless homes are twice as likely to drop out from school before graduating than children who have a father in their lives. (National Public Radio)
- 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home. (Texas Department of Corrections)
- 7 out of every 10 youth that are housed in state-operated correctional facilities, including detention and residential treatment, come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
We live in a country where men are consistently being sidelined and trivialized. It seems that we have worked so hard making sure girls can do and be whatever they want, and don’t need help from anyone, that we have left boys behind. Through this reeducating of our kids, we have lost a lot of the basic roles that were meant for men and women. I am not saying that a single parent family cannot be successful, I’ve seen many examples where it has been. I am also not trying to suggest that mom’s aren’t important, but today I am talking about the importance of good men. What I am saying, is that there are ideals in family life that we can strive for. So much of the divorce that happens today is simply because parents don’t want to work on their relationships. We live in a throwaway society. Objects are made cheaply so that instead of fixing them, we just go buy a new one. Marriages have become the same way. I believe it is because too much of our time is focused outside of our home, through relationships with coworkers and friends, the hype that I need to work on myself first, but that become the only focus, to spending too much time in the same room as your family without ever engaging because of social media, smart phones, games, etc. Instead our focus should be inward on each other and what’s best for our kids and how to strengthen our marriage on a daily basis.
I also found this article very interesting, and the statistics are a stark contrast to the ones above. Not really statistics I guess, but scientifically proven, good reasons why dad’s are important. You can read the full article here, it’s pretty short.
- Father’s and their daughters – Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. If a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating. If a father is strong and valiant, she will relate closely to men of the same character.
- Father’s and their sons – Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world.
- Emotional Development – Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.
My Church has this great proclamation that was written in 1995 that I feel like lays the best foundation for families, and the roles of men in the lives of those families. It also talks about the roles of mothers and children. You can read the full proclamation here, as I will just touch mainly on the role of father’s here.
- By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
- Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
- Husbands and wives – mothers and fathers – will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
So, back to the beginning. Men, and their roles and responsibilities in our day and age are often shifted to the side in light of women’s desires to prove they can do everything, and can do it better. We were not placed on this earth to be the same. Men have a unique role in this world, and especially in the live of a family. I don’t think the question should ever be, “Are men and women capable of doing the same thing?” Instead the question should be, “How do we work together, using our unique strengths to bless each other, our families, and make this world a better place?” I am grateful for the strong men in my life, that have helped me feel safe, helped me feel strong, and helped me become better than I could have ever become on my own. Who are the great men in your life?