The Epidemic of Missing Fathers

I know a handful of families suffering this fate. For most of them, this is not caused by early demise of the head of the family, but more of a choice that was made one time or the other by the fathers themselves. The hubby himself has lived majority of his life with an absentee father and could only go back to the time when he was smaller that he was with his father.

Even as forgiveness can bridge gaps and heal wounds, reality sets in and stares us in the face that this could be one of the major reasons why some fathers just have no idea how being a “father” means more than just their contribution to the genetic make up of the child. It is only by God’s grace that I don’t live to see its ill-effects. The Lord has redeemed this family because of the choices the hubby has made. Redemption is possible. I know I have seen a handful of times, men putting the blame to their pasts. But as the hubby would have it, ultimately you have control over the things you want in your life and it is true.

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I have been reading this booklet of marriage and this is one of its article that is rather controversial and oh so predominant in our society.

The Epidemic of Missing Fathers

Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the connections between fatherlessness and criminal behavior in a 2002 speech. He noted that in the United States, “both fatherlessness and our prison population are at all-time highs.” Following is an excerpt from his speech:

“The most consequential social trend of our time is the dramatic increase in the number of children growing up in father-absent families. In 1960, this number stood at less than 10 million. Today it’s 24 million. This means that tonight, one out of every three children in America will go to bed in a home absent their father. And it’s not just that these kids are going to bed without their fathers tonight, 40 percent of children who don’t live with their fathers haven’t seen their father during the past year. And one-half have never set foot in their father’s home.

“Studies find that children who live apart from their biological fathers are on average five to six times as likely to be poor. They are twice as likely to suffer physical or emotional neglect; to manifest emotional or behavioral disorders, including suicidal behavior; to abuse alcohol or illegal drugs; to be suspended or expelled from school or to drop out; and at least twice as likely to end up in jail. A few findings from the research:

“According to a Princeton University study, ‘each year spent without a dad in the home increased the odds of future incarceration by 5 percent.’

“According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single-parent or no-parent situations, and 53 percent of state prison inmates grew up apart from their fathers. Indeed, the National Center on Fathers and Families reports that the typical male prison inmate grew up in a single-parent, mother-headed home and has at least one close relative who has been incarcerated.

“We hear a lot about that last factor, ¬Ěthe father or other close relative who was in prison. But we don’t hear nearly enough about the other, interrelated factors, growing up without a dad” (“Responsible Fatherhood and the Role of the Family,” plenary remarks at the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Grantee Conference, Sept. 30, 2002, Washington, D.C.).

quoted article from http://www.gnmagazine.org/booklets/fm/fathers.asp

The Epidemic of Missing Fathers
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