June 12, 2013

A Father's Day Wake-Up Call and Some Challenges

If you are a father, and you're engaged with your family, Thank You. Connected and loving fathers are critically important in the lives of their children, and dads happen to be the most powerful man-making force on the planet for young males.
From the bottom of my heart, I honor and bless my dad
for doing his best with what he had.
From the bottom of my heart, I honor and bless my dad for doing his best with what he had. However, he was not the father I wanted, needed, and deserved. His alcoholism pushed me and the rest of my family into the background, and made him a terrifying and abusive presence in my life. Fifty years later, after clawing my way toward compassion and forgiveness, I can see he was a terribly lost and wounded man who was alone and up against way more than he could handle. Today, I do have pieces of evidence to prove he was trying his best to be a good man and father. One fact is that he didn't leave the family.

On this Father's Day, PLEASE take just a moment to consider all those kids who have grown up without a father around. From sitting with countless fatherless young men in groups and on Passage weekends, I can tell you Father's Day is a hard one for them. Fatherlessness is a tragic legacy for them, and all of us, to bear. Try on some of these statistics:

  • 24.7 million American children, approximately 36.3%, live in fatherless homes.

  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from homes without a dad around.

  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children were raised without a father present.

  • 3 out of 4 adolescent suicides are kids from fatherless homes.

  • 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes.

That is just a part of the tragic picture of what I call the epidemic of under-male-nourished young males. In light of the above, and if you're willing, I have some FATHER'S DAY CHALLENGES for you. Stepping up to any of them might just make this Father's Day different for you and, possibly, life changing for someone else.

1.  For your first challenge, I've inserted a couple short videos below. They have some additional data and a couple of personal stories about fatherlessness. Your first challenge is to watch as many of these videos as you can handle. It's hard, because most people don't see the face of fatherlessness. In this week, with all the talk and marketing about Father's Day, it's good to remember and then open your heart to all the fatherless kids.

2.  Use this Father's Day to honor and thank the fathers you know.

3.  Sometime this week reach out to a fatherless kid in your world. Maybe a neighbor, a kid on your son's team, or the son of a single mom you know. Find a way to let him know that in the eyes of an adult man, he's an amazing young man.

4.  Finally, when you have a chance, tell the young men around you the story of your relationship with your father (for better or worse). Remind them, when their turn comes, it will be critically important for them to be the very best present, engaged, and loving dad they can be.

Accepting any of these Father's Day challenges could brighten the day for a dad or a fatherless kid. It may also make you a better man and the world a much better place.



If this clip doesn't show up use this link.



If this clip doesn't show up use this link.



If this clip doesn't show up use this link.
Learn more about ABSENT - The Fight to Get Fatherhood Back,
or request a screening at absentmovie.com.

"The father wound is so deep and so all-pervasive,
in so many parts of the world,
that its healing could well be
the most radical social reform conceivable."
Father Richard Rohr
from the movie Absent

Happy Father's Day



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