According to the 2010 Census, of the 168,000 children living in Memphis, nearly 67,000 — about 4 in 10 — are living in a family with a female householder and NO FATHER PRESENT.
Later this month, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will host the Second Annual Memphis Training Camp for Dads. (Wharton is writing a guest column about the issue that will run with your response.)
From your perspective, how big is this problem? How do you see if effecting your congregation, your community, the culture at large? What can/should be done about it?
President Obama’s statement that the nation has “too many fathers missing from too many homes, from too many lives” points to a problem of such magnitude that it affects schools, congregations, corporations, communities – indeed, the culture at large.
A fatherless home compromises the home’s stability, creating uneasiness which kids soak up. And the ripple effect of such unease is borne out in research New York Times columnist David Brooks cites that shows how much better off children are who feel emotionally safe. These children do much better in school, Brooks reports. Moreover, “they tend to choose friends wisely, handle frustration better, are more resilient in the face of setbacks, and become more productive workers.”
As for what can be done about fatherless homes, the first thing would be to penetrate the denial that this problem is the root cause of so much of what’s wrong with our society. Indeed, one sign of the denial is that little, if anything, is said concerning the relationship between broken homes and poor school performance in the national discussion about school reform. To cut through the self-deception, I see, as one step, media outlets making the research that draws this relationship common knowledge.