If you are a dad, I ask you, have you let personal tragedy, work demands, selfishness, or any number of other distractions cause you to drop your guard? Have you left your wife and children unprotected? Men, we cannot let our guard down even for an instant. Our enemy the devil is just waiting to land a sucker punch….
We are losing ground in…
Carol is the oldest of three siblings. She has two younger brothers; half-brothers to be more precise. They all share one birth mother but different biological fathers. Carol’s father is married and has another family across town. She doesn’t ever see him but she is perhaps the lucky one. The father of her next youngest brother went to prison for drug trafficking and was drowned there in the toilet. Her brother now receives a small pension but he’d rather have his dad. The father of the youngest boy never made it to prison as he was executed at home for an outstanding drug debt. Carol carries a large portion of the responsibility for the care of the boys and has, ever since she was about 9 years old. Her mother holds jobs on and off and they live with their maternal grandmother and an Aunt. In this one case we see three common causes for the absent male in poor families; promiscuity and general unwillingness to take responsibility for offspring, incarceration, and violence. In all three cases the results are the same. Children are raised in female led homes, older siblings are pressed into child rearing responsibilities, and the entire family sinks into a mode of survival where healthy connections to community institutions, like the church and schools, are weakened as the family’s focus turns to meeting basic physical needs.
As recently as the 1960’s, the vast majority of children still lived in dual parent homes. Contrast that with the current situation where 50% of all children will experience a single parent home for at least a portion of their childhood. This number is significantly higher in poor communities where incarceration and violence are added on top of the divorce and out-of-wedlock birth epidemics as causes of fatherlessness. Our organization, Open Arms Worldwide, works in communities in Brazil where 80-90% of the families are without an adult male in the home. These families are most often led by what I will call, “functional widows,” women who are not technically widowed, but by virtue of abandonment are in fact functioning as such. Sadly, even when the family is blessed to have a present and employed father it is not always much better. The modern urban socio-economic structure, in which we live, different from the days of old, requires that the father work long hours some distance from home, leaving him less present in the daily life of his family and the community. He is fulfilling his role as provider but not the other three pillars of protector, teacher and friend. The bottom line is that across the world and across so called class lines, but more acutely in poor families, fathers are falling fast under a barrage of body blows from our enemy.