Men: Raising Men (2)
That may be a general statement with plenty of exceptions, but it does expose the importance of the father’s role in the life of children. It is likely why James emphasizes the importance of ministry to orphans when he writes,
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (Jam. 1:27)
Orphans (and widows) are much more vulnerable, because there is not the one (the godly husband or the godly father) God designed to protect them. God designed from the beginning that every child should have two parents – a man and a woman – in the home. Children learn roles and responsibilities from both parents. It is difficult to learn those roles if one of the parents is not present. The problem is the hearts of fathers and children are often separated by problems of sins. In the last book of the Old Testament, God promises that one day He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children,
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Mal. 4:5-6)
After Malachi spoke, there was a period of 400 years of silence from God. There was so much conflict and rebellion between people, including fathers and children, that God was silent.
We live in a day when more and more children are growing up in fatherless homes. It’s interesting to note the influence of not having fathers in a home. The National Center for Fathering records1,
Fatherless Homes Produce:
90% of Runaway Children
85% of Children With Behavior Problems
71% of High School Drop Outs
70% of Juvenile Detentions
75% of Children Addicted to Drugs
63% of Teenage Suicides
80% of Rapists
85% of Prison Inmates
Additionally the following sources provide interesting considerations2:
Educational Attainment. Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families. (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)
Confused Identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
Aggression.In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.” (N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).
Achievement.Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).
Delinquency.Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married. (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994).
Criminal Activity. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. Source: A. Anne Hill, June O’Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993
The need of fathers is clear both statistically, but primarily from God’s Word. Fortunately, God sends hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ. He is the solution to our problems and woes. He is the solution to fatherless homes. He is the solution to draw fathers to children. Are you walking with Him?
1“What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” The National Institute of Justice, 1998.