Men and fathers really do matterby Eddie Thompson
Recently I was watching a television talk show when the female host stated something like this, “We don’t need men or fathers anymore. As women, we can have a baby, raise a family, own a home and be happy - all without them. Since men have been the source of almost all of society’s problems, why don’t we admit we just don’t need them anymore?” Since it was her show the audience applauded and she smiled. My heart sank.
She is partially right. Some of these things are possible and some men have been the source of problems. But she’s missing the point. Instead of simply dismissing men, what if we challenged them to be the men the world needs?
First, let’s look at a few eye opening statistics cited in For the Record: The Foster Report from Christian Counseling Connection, a publication of the American Association of Christian Counselors:
Children Need Fathers
Nearly one in three children lives apart from their biological fathers today, and those kids are two to three times more likely to grow up in poverty, suffer in school, and have health and behavioral problems. They also tend to be at a higher risk for child abuse. (Tony Dungy, USA Today 9/29/11)
According to a 26-year longitudinal study, the strongest factor indicating whether children practiced high levels of empathic concern for others in their adult years was whether they had an involved father in their lives. In fact, father care was a stronger indicator here than the top three other strongest maternal factors combined. (Pastor’s Weekly Briefing 8/5/11)
For Kids’ Sake
The psychological well-being of children and young people, especially young girls has seriously deteriorated in the past 10 years, according to a new report, For Kids’ Sake, by University of Sydney professor, Patrick Parkinson. Rising divorce rates, the breakdown of cohabitating relationships, and the increase in children born to single mothers are largely responsible. The report emphasizes the negative impact of the family breakdown, “in particular to a rapidly worsening situation for vulnerable teenage girls.” (LifeSite News 9/6/11)
- 2.5 Million US grandparents were responsible for the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) of the grandchildren living with them in 2007
- Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- Seventy-five percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
- Eighty-five percent of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
- Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school
As we can see from these statistics, men are very necessary to the well-being of our culture. So much failure on the part of men points to something. Today’s young men seem unprepared for the task of manhood and fatherhood, and when a man is not prepared for great challenges, he often fails. So what does a prepared man look like, and what does he do?
Here are seven principles from Scripture that all come together to form a single definition of manhood:
A man is an adult male (Leviticus 27:3) who accepts his masculinity (1 Corinthians 16:13), speaks and acts with maturity (1 Corinthians 13:11), embraces responsibility (Genesis 1:26; 2:15), functions independently (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 12:46-50), can lead a family faithfully (Genesis 2:24; 1Timothy 3:4-5), and recognizes his accountability (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) as an image bearer of God (Genesis 1:26; 1 Corinthians 11:7).
We can give up on men, or we can challenge them to be who God created them to be. Since there is much at stake, I think I’ll choose the latter.