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 Kevin Deary, President/CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.
Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families…those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated — even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.
Following is a sample of what other sources have had to say about the risks faced by fatherless children:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas)
Fathers and providing the rudder for the family, especially for boys, is a huge issue for our country. I have been blessed to raise three children into adulthood, none are in prison, all are Christians and remember their childhood as love with discipline. They could not go play with their friends until the house was clean and chores were done. Respect to parents and all adults was taught at a young age. They grew up active in church, school, sports and the arts. We celebrated our days over family dinners and supported each other when life’s inevitable challenges came upon us. As a dad, I protected my children and pointed the way. They knew they could confide in me and that I would be honest with them. As adults, I hear my children speak to their children with the same words I spoke to them. It warms my heart.
Many children, you can see the stats on the above, grow up in homes with no fathers. No rudder to come to, to be shielded from, to be encouraged. Many places have developed to fill the void of homes with no fathers to break the cycle of poverty, crime, pain, hopelessness. I myself was raised in a rudderless home. It was a loving church, caring teachers and coaches that helped me find my way. God had a bigger plan for me and ensured that positive men and women interceded on my behalf to help point the way. Today, hundreds of thousands of boys especially, are rudderless and places like the Boys & Girls club, Lifeline, the Post, The Crossing and Five Star have developed to help make a positive difference for children, but especially boys, who need positive male interaction to help them find their way. You make a difference when you donate time, talent and treasure to these organizations that help fill the void for so many missing fathers. Thank you for taking time to read this and remember, it starts in your home. Love your children, light their paths, be the person they need you to be.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County
About BGC: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County has been serving children since 1956. Since that time, we have expanded from serving solely the Goshen community to serving all corners of our county, including Middlebury, Nappanee and Elkhart. We also serve children through our fee-based, before and after school care program, KidsCare. We look forward to inspiring and empowering young people in Elkhart County, providing hope and opportunity and a way for children to realize their full potential, both now and for decades to come.