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?
In the rite of baptism for children, there is a wonderful blessing for the father of the newly baptized child. In part, the blessing reads: “He (the father) and his wife will be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they also be the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do.”
Often in church, it is the mother who seems most responsible for the child’s religious formation. Letting the father know that we expect his participation at all levels of the child’s faith formation is one significant way of reminding the father of his role as a teacher and mentor “witnessing to his faith in what he says and does.”