Fatherhood in America Has a Shelf-Life
Can society move on without fathers?
When a man fails to father his own children, is he not only failing them, but also society as a whole?
"Fatherlessness is approaching a rough parity with fatherhood as a defining feature of childhood," wrote David Blankenhorn, chairman of the National Fatherhood Initiative, in his book, "Fatherless America." Members of the NFI range from former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett to actor James Earl Jones.
Blankenhorn said Fatherlessness is the leading cause of the decline in the well-being of children, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to domestic violence. The late anthropologist Margaret Mead observed the supreme test of any civilization is whether it can socialize men by teaching them to nurture their offspring.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports in 1960, 80.6 percent of American children lived with both parents. In 1990, the number was down to 57.7 percent. Today the number is 46 percent according to the Pew Research Center.
Dr. Lewis Sullivan, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, said, "I see a direct link between senseless violence in our streets and a generation of young males raised without the love, discipline and guidance of a father."
Those who would tell us to be realistic argue divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing are here to stay. They say the fact is growing numbers of children simply will not have fathers present in their lives. More programs aimed at substituting for fathers are the only solution.
Is that it? Is that the best we can do in America for our children? How much intelligence does it take to see a connection between a throw-away mentality where children are concerned and a generation of children growing up angry and violent with no respect for life or property? How much intelligence does it take to see kids with no goals are nine times out of ten kids with no one in their own personal lives to look up to?
We spend millions of dollars on social programs whose simply-defined intentions are to fill the empty space left in families without fathers. Is that the best effort we can produce on behalf of the children we are bringing into the world?
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said, "If you fail at raising your children, no other success in your life matters very much." She was speaking as a mother. It should be obvious the same is true for fathers.
I know many men who absolutely deserve to be honored this Father's Day. To those who don't, you are failing not only your own children. You are failing the rest of us too.