Fathers and the Future of America
 
Fathers and the Future of America
Written By Israel Wayne   |   06.18.16
Reading Time: 4 minutes

“So, what is your relationship with your father like?”

As a volunteer chaplain for our county’s juvenile detention center, I asked this question about three hundred times over the course of about six years. I only recall two occasions where a young inmate told me that he had a good relationship with his father.

What was interesting to me was that in our county there really was no demographic consistency that you could point to that would explain youth crime. We had Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. Economically, we had upper class, middle class and lower class (the rich youth would often steal, which was ironic). There were Christians (mainly), Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Atheist. They came from urban, suburban and rural settings. The only absolute consistency was that there was no healthy relationships with their fathers.

On Mother’s Day, nearly all of the inmates would send cards to (and receive cards or letters from) their mothers and/or grandmothers. But Father’s Day was simply a non-event.

Many never met their biological fathers. Many had abusive step-fathers, or lived with a revolving door of men coming in and out of their lives. Some lived with their fathers, but their dads were too preoccupied with work or other responsibilities to take time for them. The conclusion I reached, from my own observation, was that the lack of a father’s guidance was the single-most dominant factor in juvenile crime.

The Influence of a Father

Some time back, I read a study in a news magazine, where school students were asked which academic subject was the most important. It turns out, surprisingly, that all of the students gave the exact same response! No, they didn’t all choose the same subject in their answers, but the underlying reason for that choice was exactly the same. The most important academic subject that you could learn, according to school students, was whatever subject their father helped them with for homework. So if their father tutored them in Math, then Math was the most important subject. If Science, then the students said Science, and so on.

The reason for this is that children intuitively understand that their father has limited time, and if he is going to take his precious time and help a child learn something, it must be very important (at least in the mind of his child). This speaks to me of how important it is for us as fathers to be intentional about how we spend our time investing in our children.

Shortly after reading that report, I had a conversation with a man after church one Sunday who had three adult children. He proudly informed me, “Israel, over the years there was one thing that I made sure to impress upon my children. If there was one thing I really wanted them to embrace, and learn to love, it was sports! And they have! All of them are huge sports fans, just like me. They played all kinds of sports, we watched lots of sports on television, and even had season tickets to the local stadium games. Yep, they are now teaching their children to love sports as well.”

While I recognize some of the benefits of organized sports, I had to wonder about the wisdom of promoting sports as such a high value in life. If a father has one chance to pass on values and beliefs to his children, he had better be mindful and selective with what he chooses to emphasize.

God Give Us Men!

As a young man, I grew up with a very limited fatherly influence. My parents divorced when I was six, and I saw my father only one weekend a month until I was fifteen, and then not at all. From six to fifteen, I lived with a physically abusive step-father. Today, I am a blessed father of nine children! By the grace of God, I have been able to break the cycle of abuse and dysfunction and my children are able to live in a peaceful home with two parents who love them.

I believe that when men turn their hearts to their wives and children, and commit to be godly servant-leaders in their own homes, we will see the beginning of the stabilization of society. Consider the many areas of society impacted by fatherless homes:

Statistics

Read more HERE.

I strongly encourage churches and civic institutions to do everything they can to train, equip and encourage men to take seriously their roles as husbands and fathers. The future of our nation, in many ways, depends upon it (see Malachi 4:6 & Luke 1:17).



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Israel Wayne
Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker, and the Director of Family Renewal, and the the father of eleven children. He writes on Politics, Education, Worldviews, Religion, Cultural Issues and Philosophy at the ChristianWorldview.net blog (where he serves as Site Editor). He is the author of the books Raising Them Up: Parenting for ChristiansQuestions God AsksQuestions Jesus Asks and Pitchin’ a Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting, Education: Does God Have an Opinion? & Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask....
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