The Fatherless Epidemic


What is fatherlessness anyway? Fatherlessness is simply the absence of a father’s influence in the lives of their children. Fatherlessness ranges from mere absenteeism, neglect or ineptness to parent effectively. For example, it has been discovered that when a father leads the way spiritually that 93% of family members are likely to follow him, as opposed to only 17% of family members when a mother attempts to take the same spiritual role. This is a significant finding and confirms the role, authority and influence a father possesses over his family. Fathers in the Field, an organization dedicated to mentoring fatherless boys claims:

Some 24 million boys are growing up fatherless in America – Nearly a third of all American children are born to unmarried parents; the numbers are even higher among poor, minority populations – 40% among Hispanics, and 70% among African-Americans.”

As you can see fatherlessness is rapidly rising among Hispanics, and consuming the African-American community. Unless we get serious about this cultural epidemic, fatherlessness will continue to disrupt the family and devastate communities, perhaps even bring our culture to its demise. Dr. Leonard Sax, author of Boys Adrift notes:

Enduring cultures have strong bonds across the generations. In contemporary American culture, we’re seeing those bonds dissolve rapidly, in the span of a single lifetime.”

Dr. Sax is referring to the generational bonds between grandfathers, fathers and sons. This trend of generational disconnect in our society is showing significant signs of cultural decline. The following statistics from Fathers in the Field website should alarm you:

1. Fatherless children commit 72% of adolescent murders.
2. 70% of juveniles in reform institutions are fatherless.
3. 67% of state prison inmates come from fatherless homes.
4. 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
5. 30% more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
6. Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
7. And, 11 times more likely to exhibit violent behavior at school.

It is for these reasons and other unseen factors that we should pay more attention to the fatherlessness issue in our society, but just how do we begin to address this epidemic? Dr. Sax provides the following insight:

To become a man, a boy must see a man. But that man doesn’t have to be his father. In fact, ideally, it shouldn’t be only his father. Even if your son has a strong father or father figure in his life, he also needs a community of men who together can provide him with the varied models of what productive adult men do.”

So where do we find this “community of men”? Many high profile athletes who were considered “role models” have abdicated their leadership role in the area of providing the leadership to inspire a generation of young boys by scandals of infidelity, drug exposures and boyish antics on public television for all to see. These examples of fallen heroes and others from admired professions force us to turn somewhere else for answers.

What solutions can you offer to curb the “fatherlessness epidemic” in America today?

Updated article, previously published on Ezine Articles on 3.19.2010


3 comments on “The Fatherless Epidemic

  1. I was raised without a father and have had to learn how to be a Father from the example of my Heavenly Father and men of the church. Psalm 68:5 has inspired and encouraged me to start a charity in the UK. SixtyEightFive is dedicated to dealing with the issues which are brought about in the fatherless generation.

    I think the image used in this article speaks a thousand words. I have incorparated it into my website: I would really like permission to use this image, however I will remove it straight away if there is any objection.

    God Bless


  2. Absolutely Ian… may God use you mightily to do His work, which is so needed in our day and age. Please stay in touch. If we can be of any help let us know.

  3. Lara Ogundipe says:

    Thank you for this article. What can you say about how fatherlessness can affect our relationship to God. Thaks waiting for reply.

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