by Pastor Larry Sorrells, Rockville, Trinity UMC

There is a father absence crisis in America. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today.

Without a father in the home, a family is four times more likely to be living in poverty. The children are twice as likely to drop out of high school and teenage girls are seven times more likely to face teenage pregnancy. In addition, significantly more children from fatherless homes are likely to commit crimes, face prison time, have behavioral issues, much more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of others.

A generation ago, an American child could reasonably expect to grow up with a dad. Today, an American child can reasonably expect not to. Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend in this generation.

There is certainly truth in the Biblical adage from Proverbs 22: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It all starts with being there.

David Elkind, a psychologist, tells the story of visiting his son’s nursery school class, at the request of his teacher. She wanted him to observe a “problem child” in the class.

While he was there, he caught a conversation between his son and some other boys. Their conversation went like this: “My daddy is a doctor and he makes lots of money and we have a swimming pool.” “My daddy owns a company and we have our own airplane.”

Then his son said, “My daddy is here!” He proudly looked in his father’s direction. Dads, your presence means more than anything else to your children – more than your money, more than your position at work, more than the toys you buy them. Your time means more to them than anything else, because it says, “I care.” Happy Father’s Day. Blessings to you all.

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