My parents divorced when I was a child. Divorce is a bitter pill to swallow for the children involved. No matter the circumstances. No matter whose to blame, most parents agree the children are innocent bystanders, the collateral damage of a broken relationship. Somehow I managed to escape any catastrophic damage done by the undoing of my family as a child. Credit should be given to the importance my parents placed on raising their children in the midst of their failures. I was blessed with really good parents and then stepparents.
Today, there are simply too many children growing up without the physical presence of a father. According to the US Census Bureau, it is more than 20 million children (24.4% of children in America, up from 8% in 1960). Honestly, I used to feel sorry for myself having come from a divorced home. However, since I was 11 years old I have had TWO fathers. Two men who have loved, supported, and encouraged me. They would each admit they are not perfect men, but both of them have been there for me. I have never NOT had a male figure in my life. I have NEVER known the feeling of being totally abandoned by my father. I have ALWAYS had a father in my life. I have had TWO fathers, twice the blessing! They are completely different men, but both men taught me the value of education, respect, discipline, obedience, determination, and perseverance. Both men taught me to strive for excellence in the classroom and on the ball fields. Both men helped me become a man.
We have a problem in America with “fatherlessness”. The statistics are bleak for those who grow up without a father figure in the home. Here are just a few:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
On this Father’s Day I am thankful that from a broken relationship I ended up with TWO fathers. I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore. I feel sorry for all those children who are left without the presence of a father at all. I am reminded of the powerful words of Psalm 68:5, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” God is a father to the fatherless and I am still confident that God has the last say. For thousands of years people have referred to God as Father. There is a Heavenly Father that loves each of us and loves those 20 million “fatherless”. With God’s help I pray more men will heed the call to be fathers to their biological children, foster children, adopted children, and those wandering through life without a male role model. I hope more men follow the lead of the Heavenly Father and become “heavenly fathers” here on earth for all God’s children!
My prayers are with the “fatherless” even as I give thanks for my TWO fathers.
Happy Father’s Day to “My TWO Fathers”!
Happy Father’s Day to all those men who are helping to raise the next generation!