Twice this week, on Thursday and Friday, I wrote of how good people are made, not born. I have so written because we seem to be short good people in highly visible positions these days. The country is actually full of good people, but they are too busy being good to attract any attention. And so we find our vision filled with bad examples.
Part of the reason for this is an absence of fathers. The statistics are stunning:
- An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.
- Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.
- 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.
Yes, those stats focus on biological fatherhood and there are alternatives, but those alternatives are not picked up that often. The consequences of fatherlessness are stunning. Just a few:
- Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
- Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
- 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father-absent homes are more likely to be truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood.
Fathers matter. And while today, as a holiday, is a creation of the greeting card companies, I think it a great day to consider the importance of fathers while we pour out our affection to each of our fathers. (Miss you Dad! – I have every day since you died.) Despite our societal rejection of the Bible, it is simply chock full of wisdom about a lot of things – fathers among them. I cannot think of a better way to consider fathers than to consider just a few Proverbs.