As we prepare for the Fathers Matter Forum in March, we want to highlight some of the organizations in our community that are dealing with the issue and working with at-risk youth. To sign up for one of the forum sessions, visit this link: Fathers Matter Forum Registration
This is a guest post from Don Phillips, President/CEO of Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen, Indiana.
Most people are not aware of what is to be a “fatherless child”. They have enjoyed a healthy and stable relationship with their father. Unfortunately, many of the kids Bashor Children’s Home serves are “father less children”. They are kids who have been forced to grow up without a stable positive adult male in their lives. The number of children living without their father has grown dramatically. It has doubled since the 1970s and tripled since the 1960s. Over 43% of children in the US now live without their father. The reasons for the absence of fathers are numerous, including divorce, unplanned pregnancies, parental conflict, incarceration and drug abuse. I was raised by a single mother. I know firsthand what tremendous efforts mothers make to properly care for their children and what a challenge that can be when the father is absent. I praise single mothers and grandmothers for the love they give. Most go to extraordinary lengths to ensure their children develop into well adjusted adults. However, studies have shown that in many cases the absence of father in the life of a child can adversely affect that child’s growth and development. A fatherless child is twice as likely to drop out of school, four times more likely to have behavioral disorders, is more likely to display higher levels of aggression, is twice as likely to be engaged in criminal behaviors, and is twice as likely to end up in jail. Too often, these children have also been traumatized by neglect and abuse. This trauma has disrupted their ability to cope with their emotions and to control their behaviors. Such children are victims, but out of desperation can turn their anger against themselves or others. Sadly, depression and aggression becomes their friends. Bashor Children’s Home serves children who struggle with these issues. What we have found is in addition to our caring female staff, we also need strong men with soft hearts to reach these children. Men who are able to keep a child safe, while showing unconditional caring, can help these kids risk the belief that their lives matter. Such men can soften the hardened heart of child and pull the child back from a life of misery and mistakes. We are blessed in this community with a blend of child serving agencies that reach out to children. These wonderful organizations provide the caring children so desperately need. Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The Boys and Girls Club, CAPS, The Center for Community Justice, The Crossing, Five Star, Lifeline, Oaklawn, The Post, Ryan’s Place, The Tolsen Center, and Bashor Children’ Home understand what it is to be a fatherless child. These agencies do so much, but they can’t do it alone. They need help. Bashor Children’s Home like so many of the other child serving agencies, need men to take time to reflect upon what strong men with soft hearts have done for them and then consider sharing that caring strength with a child searching for it. I urge strong men with soft hearts to find a place where you can help fatherless boys grow up to become faithful fathers and fatherless girls see how a caring man respectfully treats others. Become a supporter, become a volunteer or consider applying for a paid position. Caring for children is not a career that is exclusively for women. It’s for anyone who wants to be “hero” to a child. Caring for children changes their lives, then it changes all our lives ….especially strong men with soft hearts. About Bashor: Bashor Children’s Home is a 501-C-3 non profit child welfare agency affiliated with the United Methodist Church. We provide help for troubled children and their families through residential care, day treatment/ alternative education, foster care, and many other services. Bashor has become a regional provider for services over the last 90 years and works with over 150 children daily from 22 counties and 3 different states.
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