W. Bradford Wilcox in his December 16, 2013, article, “Sons of Divorce, School Shooters,” wrote,
Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.
Just approximately 18 months later, the list grows as we add Dylann Roof to it. You may feel compelled to pull your child from school if you check out Wikipedia’s “List of School Shootings (and School Attacks) in the United States.” The killers may not always come from a broken home, but if you take time to investigate, you’ll find the appalling collateral damage—emotional, mental, physical, and often overlooked, spiritual—that comes from a home with an absent father.
Not to downplay the importance of a mother in the life of a child, this Fathers’ Day, I’d like to highlight the dismal statistics of a fatherless home:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times the average (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average (National Principals Association Report)
The National Fatherhood Initiative says, “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America—one out of three—live in biological father-absent homes. Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today.” For more information and free downloads, visit their website.
Lynda Lee-Potter, in her article, The price we will pay for a fatherless generation, makes this observation,
A recent study by clinical psychologist Jenny Taylor found that only 4pc of boys in a secure unit for unmanageable adolescents lived with their biological fathers. There is no such thing as the perfect family. We all have our problems and difficulties, our sad times and our disagreements. All parents make mistakes. But when children know that they are loved and that there are boundaries, they are able to cope in the out-side world. Study after study shows that children are far more likely to prosper and become strong, proud and responsible in a two-parent family. It’s the best environment we can provide. The evidence is there but year after year we have failed to heed it.
We need our dads!
Every child requires the active involvement of a dad (or dad-figure) in their lives. I’m not advocating a “father-at-all-cost” scenario—we read and know enough about abusive fathers to avoid that pitfall. I know there are also situations where the marriage simply does not work, or is harmful for either spouse or for the children, and divorce happens. This is not to condemn those situations—what I’m talking about is the absent father, not the divorced or single father.
I have to admit that I’ve grown tired of society’s stupid male syndrome. Yes, I agree, there are enough examples of idiot men out there. I’m not blind to that. But women who spend time in wallowing in sarcasm and celebrating this tragic portrayal of the simple-minded male dummkopf (their husbands, boyfriends, fathers), haven’t realized the negative boomerang effects it is having on their lives. This effect is most keenly felt by the most innocent and powerless in our society—our children.
If men aren’t around then, in our advanced technological age, our children are being raised by their electronic parents (Internet, Games, TV, iEverything) and by their equally technologically addicted peers. (More another time on the devastating role the internet plays on children). We are relinquishing our jewels, our absolute treasures, to be influenced by godless, inanimate, and pronouncedly atheistic mediums. How brilliant are we? If you want to have children, invest your time in them, or don’t have them at all. I’m so tired of hearing parents wring their hands in despair about their parenting decisions and challenges. “I thought it would bring our family together,” “I could hear my biological clock ticking,” “I can’t wait for school to begin so I can send them off to school,” “I felt I was getting old and needed to be a dad.”
Really? Don’t even get me started. I have so had it.
Every decision we make has consequences—good, bad, and some very evil. Our children not only need constant supervision, interaction, love, nurture, and care, but also positive male role-models in their lives. The church should be leading the charge by teaching about or filling this vital society-changing role. Additionally, children should be taught about their heavenly Father, a Father whom they can trust, who never fails them, and who will always be with them no matter how much their earthly parents may fail them.
When are we going to do something about it?
Photo Mark Nye via Flickr