In his book “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture,” Professor Anthony Esolen asks, “What is the single condition of a boy’s life that correlates most strongly with whether he will turn criminal?” He then answers his own query: “Not income, not by a long shot. It is whether he grew up in the same home with his father. Our prisons are full to bursting with fatherless boys who never became the men and fathers that God meant them to be.”
This is something of which many Americans are not aware. They mistakenly believe that poverty is the major reason why many young men — especially from our inner cities — end up in prison. But it’s not.
Poverty is certainly a factor in the equation, but it’s clearly not the major factor. The major factor is the absence of a father (or at least a father-figure) in a young man’s life.
The statistics (which can be found at fathers.com) tell the sad and tragic story:
— 85% of youths in prison come from fatherless homes
— 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
— 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
— Nearly 25 million children live without their biological father
— 60% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
The message of all this is both simple and clear: Fathers matter! Their love matters; their encouragement matters; their presence matters; their discipline matters; their forgiveness matters — and their example in every other dimension of life (including the spiritual dimension) matters.
In commenting on the recent school shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, sociologist Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia said, “We know that young men who are raised without the benefit of good fathers are more likely to engage in violent behavior.”
The world obviously needs many more “good fathers.” If you’ve been blessed to have one, and he’s still with us, be sure to thank him this Sunday, on Fathers’ Day.
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