In America, 1 out of every 3 children live without their father (http://www.fatherhood.org/father_factor.asp). This is a devastating statistic, and one that has been moving in the wrong direction for far too long. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, kids with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use and criminal activity than children who have uninvolved or absent fathers.
Why then do so many fathers today fail to grasp the import of their role? Why are so many opting out of their God-given responsibility? Why are so many dads casting a blind eye to their neglect and laxness, oblivious to the painful and long-term consequences of their delinquency? Why? Why? Why?
We have a dilemma in America right now. Too many men do not know how to be men. Too many fathers do not know how to be fathers. Understand, this is not a self-righteous statement to elevate my own manhood or esteem my own fathering abilities. I, too, have great opportunities for improvement! My point is simply this…. it is becoming a traumatic rarity these days that children are given the fair and deserved chance to succeed because of a father who is present and engaged in their life.
Psalms 82:3 instructs us to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless.” (NIV) My heart’s cry is that more men in our laissez-faire society would stand up and start being MEN. I understand that some children lose their fathers because of death and not always due to neglect, abandonment, or indifference. For those children who have lost their father due to death, we (us other fathers) should defend their cause and fill in the gap in their life. And for those children who have been robbed from their father because of delinquency, we should, likewise, bear the responsibility of their predicament in our hearts and actions. If you don’t stand up for them, then who will? Our children need mentors. They need consistency. They need attention. They need stability. A generation – or at least one third of a generation – depends on it.
If you have a moment, take a listen to a song written by T.D. Jakes and sung by Israel Houghton that begs the question, “Where are the fathers?…. The responsible ones…. Where are the fathers? Have they helped to raise their sons?…. ” (click here to listen). It is a great song… powerful.
Fathers, be blessed! I know how hard it can be sometimes. I lift you up in prayer. Please lift me up, as well.