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?
Fatherless homes have become an epidemic of major proportion in society; one which will continue to have spiritual, mental and physical implications upon families and communities for years to come. It is one of the grand contributors to many of the societal ills that plague us today. The family is the fundamental unit of society and when this breaks down, we are susceptible to an increase of problems such as behavioral disorders, educational deficiencies, dysfunctional relationships, an increase in crime, drug abuse and premarital sexual encounters to name a few.
Marriage is ordained of God and the family unit is essential to His plan. When we contemplate why God has allowed mankind to procreate upon the earth and placed us in families, we know that it was for a wise purpose. Fathers and mothers will be held accountable before God if they fail in their responsibilities to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their children.
As we celebrate fatherhood this weekend, perhaps a few suggestions for the men may be cause for some thought:
1. Father humble yourself. Pride is one of the great sins of the world and many a man has fallen when he has become self absorbed in satisfying his own desires. To put self, work, or carnal pleasures ahead of wife and children is selfish and wrong. Too many fathers are quick to give up rather than to give in when faced with challenges.
2. Father should be a righteous leader. Most women and children desire a strong role model who they can look to for love and support. Someone who leads the family in prayer, and religious study; who calls the family together for meaningful discussion and takes part in wholesome family activities. A righteous father walks beside his wife and takes counsel from her as they jointly make decisions which affect the well being of the family.
3. Fathers be an impact teacher. It is essential to teach correct principles to our children. These are basics of honesty, integrity, love of God, country and fellowman. Teach your boys to honor and respect womanhood and your sons and daughters to be chaste and virtuous. Teach them it is important to work in order to get gain and that getting an education will greatly improve their future opportunities. We can’t send our children out to “specialists” to be taught in the weightier matters of life; it is our responsibility to help them understand things of greatest importance.
4. Father as a provider. Scripture indicates that man shall “work by the sweat of his brow” and the father is to provide for the temporal needs of the family. He should use his financial resources wisely in order to provide for the basic needs of his family. Living within his mean and staying out of debt are essential elements of a healthy family. When the father is providing for the temporal needs of the family it allows mothers more time to concentrate on their role as nurturer of the children.
Fathers, come home and be involved in your family’s lives!