Honoring Thy Fathers

June 13, 2008; Page W11

For millions of children across the U.S., this Sunday will not be a cause for celebration. Because of dramatic increases in divorce and nonmarital childbearing, about 28% of our nation’s children — more than 20 million kids — now live in a household without their father, up from 10 million kids (14%) in 1970, according to a recent Census Bureau report. Moreover, because most of these boys and girls see their dads infrequently (once a month or less), Father’s Day will offer cold comfort to many of these children.

Our nation’s epidemic of fatherlessness is just the most salient indicator of what University of Chicago theologian Don Browning has called the “male problematic” — the tendency of men to live apart from their children and to invest less emotionally and practically in their families than women do.

This situation has not gone unnoticed in America’s houses of worship. Religious leaders, particularly evangelical Protestant ones, have expressed their alarm. “As I review the latest research on family disintegration, I am repeatedly confronted with the same disturbing issue,” recently wrote Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family. “Boys are in trouble today primarily because their parents, and especially their dads, are distracted, overworked, harassed, exhausted, disinterested, chemically dependent, divorced, unable to cope or simply not there.”

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1 Comment

  1. Dr. James Dobson was the single source that I relied upon while raising my children. I believe that his view concerning boys being in trouble for not having the influence of a dad is correct. It will have a mega influence on our society as the future years will show. Especially, the increase in the amount of same-sex marriages. While your at it, why not also add and girls, because we girls adore our dads. I’m total grateful for mine. Marie

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