It’s not “either/or” — It’s “AND”
I think it’s only logical that God’s intentions were that children would grow up with both a mother and a father. If that was not true than women could give birth without a man being involved. Yet, our society does not seem to agree with God on this. The media not only disagrees with God, they seem to go out of their way to convince us that not only is a father optional but that raising children without a dad is preferred. Are there some awesome moms raising awesome children alone? Absolutely! Are there some awesome dads out there on their own raising awesome children? Absolutely! Yet, is it preferred?
There is a growing crisis in this nation — more and more children are growing up in homes without fathers present.
24 million children (34 percent) live without their biological father
Nearly 20 million children (27 percent) live in single-parent homes
43 percent of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years
Over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents
In McDowell County the numbers are much worse. From 1990 to 2000 the number of children living in single parent homes doubled (see Kids Count data) and Reconnecting McDowell reports that 46% of children in McDowell County live in homes with no biological parent present, compared to 4% nationally (seeChildstats.gov)
There is an overwhelming body of evidence showing that children need fathers. They grow stronger, smarter, and better in every measure of well-being. We are called to turn this around here and now for the future of all children.
Managing a program like Parents As Teachersincludes so many reports and so much paperwork for over 40 families that sometimes the stories are hard to fully appreciate. Beyond statistics and demographics there are real people, real problems, and both wonderful as well as heart-wrenching stories. One mom was quoted as saying that the only friend she has who will listen is her CCX Parent Educator. Another young mom said that she is not sure how she would have made it without her CCX Parent Educator. We also have many active fathers in our program, and several fathers have requested that we do not schedule a visit unless they are able to attend as well.
Nevertheless, there are some stories that are not easy to hear and some situations that
are very difficult to even try to explain. Too many moms are struggling to survive financially or provide a home that is safe, warm and dry. There are times where we do not know where our clients are living as they float from house to house. Some live in a constant state of insecurity that basic needs will be provided for their children. There are no easy solutions, partly because there are so many different problems. At the center of both the problems and the solutions though is a common denominator, Dads. We need men who do the right things at the right times. Men who stay, provide, and guide. Men with integrity. They exist, but they are a rare breed. The question is — are they born or are they developed? We are counting on the latter. We also want to challenge the young men in our youth programs to embrace this vision and plan now to be responsible fathers.
Pray with us that God will move in the hearts of our fathers in McDowell County. Pray that they will develop a desire to become all that God has intended for them to be. Pray that we at the CCX can join God in this endeavor to restore the family. One more thing, pray for how God wants to use you and that He will give you the courage to be obedient to help reverse the curse of absent fathers:
“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”