I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends, but I could not eliminate thoughts of Newtown, Connecticut, from my mind. I was somewhat hindered in my attempts because I have three six-year-old granddaughters. Every time I think of the children in Connecticut, I see the faces of my granddaughters.
I am not so concerned about the little children who were killed because I know that they are basking in the love and presence of our Heavenly Father. I am however very interested in assuring that no more innocent people are killed and have often pondered what we as a nation should do to protect our children. I am also very much concerned with the children of all ages who were traumatized by the useless killing and how their experience will affect their future lives.
Vincent DiCaro published on the fatherhood blog about the connection between disappearing fathers and tragedies of the type that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He wrote, “While it is not our job at NFI [National Fatherhood Initiative] to figure out how to solve issues around gun control and mental health treatment, we would be remiss not to point out that once again, like in so many tragedies of this nature, there appears to be a significant `father factor’ at play.
“As we learn more and more about the troubled life of shooter Adam Lanza, it appears that the divorce of his parents had a significant negative impact on his life.
“It is becoming clear that Adam Lanza suffered from some sort of emotional or psychological disorder that has not yet been specified. It also appears that this mental disorder contributed significantly to the heinous crime he committed. However, we know from research that children from father-absent homes are more likely to have emotional problems and are also more likely to commit crimes….”
The fatherhood blog wrote previous articles about the father factor in other mass murders and the patterns found in those cases. No one knows if things would have been different if Adam Lanza’s father had been more involved with his son. As we “work together to devise solutions that will reduce the likelihood of this sort of tragedy happening again” we must “ensure that all children have involved, responsible, and committed fathers in their lives who can help them navigate a difficult world, one that is especially difficult for the mentally ill.”
Our society must recognize that fathers are valuable people in the lives of their children. I believe that many of our societal problem a regular basis. I understand that one-third of all children have no relationship at all with their fathers while another one-third see their fathers only once a month.
Luke Rosiak at The Washington Times also wrote about fathers disappearing from households all across our nation. “In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.”
Rosiak referred to the article by DiCaro and indicated that DiCaro counseled us to “Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.” The “rest” includes “poverty, crime, drugs and other problems.” When we “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school” and want to help that child, we must ask, “Why does that child need help in the first place?” “The answer is often” the absence of “a responsible and involved father.” I found the charts about families in Rosiak’s article to be very interesting and suggest that you link to his article to see them.
If our national and state leaders really want to make a difference in the lives of our children, they would stop blaming the problems on guns and look to the underlying causes. A typical single mother earns approximately one-third the income of a married couple with children. When there is no father in the lives of her children, the typical single mother turns to the government for help in raising her children. Although the government can dole out food stamps and low-cost housing, it is useless in properly preparing children and youth to be responsible adults. The longer a single mother relies on government handouts, the further she goes down in “dangerous spiral” of government-assisted poverty.
There is a great racial divide in this problem. Rosiak wrote that census data shows that “the lack of live-in fathers also is overwhelmingly a black problem” “regardless of poverty status.” “Among blacks, nearly 5 million children, or 54 percent, live with only their mother. Twelve percent of black families below the poverty line have two parents present, compared with 41 percent of impoverished Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families….
“In all but 11 states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 7 in 10 white children do. In all states but Rhode Island and Massachusetts, most Hispanic children do. In Wisconsin, 77 percent of white children and 61 percent of Hispanics live with both parents, compared with … 25 percent of black children.”
The number of single-parent homes continues to increase from coast to coast and from the northern border to the southern border; the numbers also include every race and places known for their “family values.” Black single mothers tend to have more children than black married mothers; single white mothers and single Hispanic mothers tend to have fewer children than married mothers.
We tend to follow the examples of our parents unless we make a definite decision to not follow their example. I know people who were raised in cluttered homes who de-clutter their own homes regularly to avoid following the parental example. The same would apply to whether the parents are married or single. If the mother does not marry the father of her child, the child will probably not understand the need for marriage. Teaching young men who were raised without a father’s influence how to be responsible fathers would be very difficult. This is one reason why families continue living in the downward spiral of single parents, poverty, and crime. I believe that this is the main reason why the number of single parents continues to increase.