“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Sigmund Freud
According to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data, over 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers. That is 1 out of every 3 (33%) children in America. Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents. About 40% of the children who live in absentee father households haven’t seen their fathers in at least a year while 50% of children who don’t live with their fathers have never stepped foot in their father’s home. These statistics are alarming, but aside from this, there are millions of families that have a father in the child’s life but that father is not really there. Many times, articles such as this are written by men but I am going to compose this article from the standpoint of a person who grew up in a father-less home.
Like many, I am a statistic. My parents divorced when my brother and I were 6 years old. Because I was so young, I didn’t know any different than what was a single parent household. It’s kind of like the old saying, a crooked line doesn’t know it’s crooked until it’s next to a straight line. Well, as I got older my crooked line was being revealed to me as I got to know more people who had straight lines. My mom did a great job raising my brother and I by herself, I can’t deny that. But when my dad re-married and my brother and I were forced to conform to someone else’s family (on a temporary basis), it became more obvious that we were being raised much different than the ‘average’ American family.
After the divorce, my brother and I didn’t have a close relationship with our dad. My daddy’s girl mentality as a toddler was crushed as I slowly lost respect for him. My dad re-married to a woman we did not like and who treated us much different than her own children. It would bring most people to tears to know how we were treated by this woman. My dad’s addictions consumed his life and quickly he had changed into a man I didn’t know. What’s worse is that the little time we did spend with our dad he was not around. This too is not uncommon in divorced families.
However, the older I got, the more forgiving I got. Christ was truly working on my heart. I wanted that relationship with my dad that every girl wants, I just didn’t know how to get it. Eventually, our communication opened up as we made more of an effort to get to know each other. We discovered that we have common bonds such as fishing, lakefront property, basketball and reading that may have never been discovered had we both chosen to give up on the relationship. Today, I see my dad as a superhero. While our relationship isn’t perfect, it is precious in my eyes. And that’s what really matters. Whether we are man or woman, black, white, brown or green, mother, father or child, we have a responsibility to model superhero-like leadership for those around us.
There is a huge epidemic going on right now in society and it is affecting families everywhere. Over 50% of marriages are ending in divorce and it is drastically changing the dynamics of a child’s upbringing. Little girls need their daddy to protect them, nurture them and lead them and little boys need their daddy to mold them, build them up and teach them how to be men. I know the LIFE community has a calling to teach men how to be men, teach husband’s how to be husband’s and teach father’s how to be father’s. Leadershift is a great foundation and starting place for all of us who want to live up to the leadership potential God placed inside all of us. Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo and all the LIFE founders are examples of courageous men who are standing up and leading their families. They are men who exemplify heroism in the lives of not only their children, but other children’s children. And their impact is influencing thousands of other men to stand up and lead as well. Enjoy this video clip as it is a powerful message to not only men but all of us.