Fatherlessness is a real, more devastating epidemic than COVID-19.
The “nuclear family” is quickly disappearing. Due to divorce and the rising trend of single-parent households, only a minority of children can count on living with both Dad and Mom.
This has led to devastating consequences for society. Fatherlessness is now seen as the most dangerous social trend of this generation. It drives most urgent social problems like crime, teen pregnancy, child poverty, educational failure, child sex abuse, and violence against women.
While many people today think that fathers are no longer necessary, all the research shows the opposite. A father’s love of adventure and playfulness helps his children develop confidence and motor skills. Without him, children tend to become more fearful and passive. The closeness felt by father and child is strongly correlated with positive life outcomes 25 years later.
The science shows that both parents are ideal for bringing up balanced and mature children. Children are born with a drive to connect with their fathers and not only with their mothers. In fact, Dad’s very presence at birth leads to a healthier baby and mom.
It is God’s will that the hearts of the fathers be turned toward their children and the hearts of the children toward their fathers. We can’t improve on God’s original design of a loving father and a loving mother — along with an extended family — rearing their children in His ways.
You are not alone. Not everyone grew up with both parents. Single-parents are to be commended for doing their best to raise their children under less than ideal conditions.
God, the only perfect Father, is more than willing to be the Dad you’ve never had. He is described in Scripture as a “father of the fatherless and a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5).
This Father’s Day, if you have a good father, tell him how much you love, appreciate, and respect him. But if you have a bad or “not-so-good” father, pray for him and ask God, your heavenly Father, to give you the strength to forgive him.
As we reflect on fatherhood today, remember the thousands of fatherless children who were murdered last year. Or died from drugs. Or committed suicide. Or were incarcerated. Let’s do everything we can to help the millions of other fatherless children avoid the same fate.
If you are a father now or will be in the near future, don’t follow the trend. Follow God.
After all, your example is everything. As Austin L. Sorenson observed, “A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.”
So strive to walk in purity before marriage. Be faithful to your wife. Your children will be blessed!
Believe it or not, there is a more devastating epidemic than COVID-19. It doesn’t make sensational headlines, but it leaves a trail of broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken lives every single day. What is this tragic outbreak? I’m talking about the epidemic of fatherlessness in America, in the Philippines, and many other nations in this world.
Now, WHY is this happening?
The “traditional family” (a home with both a father and a mother) is fast disappearing. Only one-third of the children living in the U.S. will reach 18, having both biological parents still living at home. With half of all U.S. marriages ending in divorce leading to a rise of single-parent households, only a minority of children can count on living with both Dad and Mom. Usually, it is the father who does not stick around, leaving the mother to raise the kids all by herself.
Fathers are now seen by many as expendable — or even as part of the problem. Today, if you ask, “Does every child need a father?” Many would tend to answer “no,” or at least, “not necessarily.”
This has led to devastating consequences for society. According to David Blankenhorn, social historian and author of the book Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem, “Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being in this society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sex abuse to domestic violence against women.”
“Whether our concern is with teenage pregnancy, crime, violence against women, educational failure, or child poverty, no social trend of our generation is more dangerous than fatherlessness. It weakens families, harms children, causes or aggravates our worst social problems, and makes individual adult happiness harder to achieve.”
And while a growing number of people today think that fathers are optional or unnecessary, the research shows otherwise.
According to Marilyn York, a Reno, Nevada divorce attorney with over 20 years of experience: “Men parent differently than women. I don’t think that comes as a big surprise. But their influence is crucial in the development of their children.”
When getting her clients ready for court, she prepares them for this kind of interrogation: “Who’s your children’s doctor or dentist?” “What’s the name of your school principal or even their teacher?” “What grades did they get on their last report card?” “Nine times out of ten, the fathers miss the majority of these questions.
Does this mean that they don’t care or love their children as much? I bet it makes you wonder. But please, hold your judgment, she says.”
Here are the questions that her clients can easily answer: “If your son could be a superhero, what would his power be?” “What kind of monsters do your kids fear?” “How high does your daughter feel comfortable flying in a swing?” “What makes your son feel defeated?” Yet, in her experience cross-examining hundreds of mothers in family court, these are the harder questions for them.
According to Yale child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett, “By eight weeks, infants can anticipate differences in maternal and paternal handling styles … When infants were approached by their mother, they slowed and regulated their heart and respiratory rates, relaxed their shoulders, and lowered their eyelids (Ahh … Mom). When the father approached, the infant’s heart and respiratory rates quickened, shoulders hunched up, and eyes widened and brightened (Dad’s here … party time!)”
This shows that a father’s playfulness and love of adventure helps his children develop confidence and motor skills like balance and eye-hand coordination.
According to several studies, without a strong father figure, children tend to become more fearful and passive. Research further shows that it’s the closeness felt by father and child that is most associated with positive life outcomes 25 years later.
All the science points to one conclusion: Both parents — actively involved male and female parents — are needed and ideal for bringing up balanced and mature children.
Children are born with a drive to connect with their fathers and not only with their mothers. They yearn deeply for dads.
In fact, according to the Child & Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas at Austin, Dad's presence at birth leads to a healthier baby and mom. It's the most vital factor that protects against birth complications and illness or trauma in the newborn.
God is also very concerned about preserving families.
Speaking about the last days — the end-time generation we are now living in — He says that Elijah the prophet 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” (Malachi 4:6).
The hearts of the fathers must FIRST be turned to their children before the children’s hearts are turned toward their fathers.
This turning of the heart starts with parents following God’s example in His love for His children. And then by children loving, honoring, and obeying their parents.
Science has confirmed that we can't improve on God’s original design of a loving father and mother — along with an extended family — rearing their children in His ways.
According to Dr. Ross Parke, professor of psychology and author of the book Fatherhood, fathers and mothers are truly different, “but their distinctive styles of caretaking complement each other perfectly to the advantage of children.”
Sadly, not everyone has grown up with both parents. And so I commend single-parents who did their best — or are doing their very best — to raise their children in less than ideal conditions.
If you grew up without a father, if you raised or are raising a child without a father, or if you are a father who’s been separated from your child, know that you are not alone.
God is a Father — the only perfect Father. He is more than willing to be the Dad you never had.
In Psalms 68:5, we read this beautiful and comforting Bible verse: "A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation."
In the New Testament, we also see this promise for those who love God enough to reject the false values of this world: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
In closing, let me share a story I heard about preschool children who were asked by their teacher to draw a picture of God. The children came up with different illustrations, including rainbows and men with big hands. One child drew a man in a suit and tie and told the teacher: “I don’t know what God looks like, so I just drew my daddy instead.”
Austin L. Sorenson once wrote: “A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.”
Today, the third Sunday of June happens to be Father’s Day. If you have a good father, tell him how much you love, appreciate, and respect him. But if you’ve had a bad or "not-so-good" father, pray for him and ask God, your heavenly Father, to give you the strength to forgive him.
As we reflect on the importance of fathers today, remember the 1,000 fatherless children in the U.S. who were murdered last year. Or the 3,000 fatherless children who died from drugs last year. Or the 3,200 fatherless children who committed suicide last year. Or the 14,000 fatherless children who were incarcerated last year. I’m sure there are more in the country where you live.
Let's do everything in our power to help the remaining 19.7 million fatherless children in the United States and the 1.8 million abandoned children in the Philippines — and who knows how many more around the world.
Finally, if you are a father, or will be at some point, don’t follow the trend. Strive to walk in sexual purity before marriage. Be loyal and faithful to your wife. Be a real man — a man of honor. Follow God’s laws and His true values so that you can be the kind of man He wants you to be.
Your children will be blessed!
Until next time, this is Daniel Macaraeg, for BiblicalTruths.TV, reminding you to always be growing, always be giving, and always be grateful.