Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when fathers are active in the lives of their children. The importance of fathers cannot be understated, and there are too many “missing fathers” in our nation.
Many of us - adults, youth, and children – honor our fathers annually on a special day known as Father’s Day. We honor them for the impact they have on us throughout our lives. Yet there are many people who have not been blessed with having a father impact their lives for good because their fathers are missing in action. Where are the missing fathers?
First Things First is an organization in Richmond, Virginia, that is dedicated to strengthening families and keeping dads involved with their children. One week prior to Father’s Day, this organization held “Celebrate Fatherhood 2013” at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center. Dads and their children took the opportunity to spend time together swimming, bouncing, and competing in contests; however, there were many children in the area whose fathers were not around to help them celebrate.
According to First Things First, 60 percent of Richmond families are headed by single-parent households. That figure shoots up to 86 percent within the African-American demographic. This problem is not just in Richmond, Virginia, or in African-American families; it is part of our present culture.
Fathers are more likely to leave their families than mothers according to experts. Truin Huntle, executive director of First Things First, said, “We have a major father absenteeism issue in Richmond…. Father absenteeism, broken homes, broken marriages and teen pregnancy are continually being found as the root cause of [childhood poverty and poor performance in school].”
A First Things First web page discusses the importance of fatherhood and lists reasons for why fathers are important: “1) Every child needs a Dad. 2) Children perform better in school when connected to Dad.
3) Children make better social decisions when connected to Dad. 4) Children have better self-confidence when connected to Dad. 5) Children become more active citizens when connected to Dad. 6) Mom is relieved of developmental pressure when children are connected to Dad. 7) Mom and Dad have a better relationship when children are connected to Dad. 8) Generational family formation is desired and experienced when children are connected to Dad. 9) Non-family relationships are healthier when a child is connected to Dad. 10) Our community is a better place to be when children are connected to Dad.”
Another web page at the site discusses five reasons why children do better when their biological parents are married to each other: “1) Children are less likely to thrive in cohabiting households, compared to intact, married families. 2) Family instability is generally bad for children. 3) American family life is becoming increasingly unstable for children. 4) The growing instability of American family life also means that contemporary adults and children are more likely to live in what scholars call complex households. 5) The nation’s retreat from marriage has hit poor and working class communities with particular force.”
This site lists the top 101 cities with the highest percentage of single-parent households and populations of 50,000 people or more. I looked to see if my city was on the list and found it was not. The top cities with single-parent households appear to me to be located in the eastern half of the United States. Why?
Trevor Thomas published an interesting article entitled “Where Is Daddy?” at American Thinker. As part of his article he discusses the question “Why are so many American dads not married to and in the home with the mothers of their children? There are two scenarios to consider: the dads who divorce and the dads who never marry. Increasingly, the latter is more common. In December of 2011, Pew Research revealed that, according to U.S. Census data, `[b]arely half of all adults in the United States – a record low – are currently married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26. 5 years) and grooms (28.7)[.] … In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are.’
According to Pew Research quoted by Thomas, the percentages of both men and women who claim that “having a successful marriage is important to them” have dropped and the reason given is that “women aren’t women anymore” and neither are “men “men” anymore.
“Many men have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they can have all the sex that they want without any real commitment or other consequences…. [F]ar too many men have allowed themselves and the roles that they were created to fulfill to be cast aside….
“Many women have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they are no different from men and can have careers and children without marriage or devout motherhood…. For the first time in American history, women outnumber men in the workforce, and more women than men are obtaining college degrees….
“Thus, it’s not just fatherhood that is dying, but motherhood as well….What we are seeing here is the death of the traditional (biblical) family, and when the family dies, that will herald the end of our republic.”