Father’s Day as an American observance is Sunday, 16 June this year, for those who have not yet bought their Dad a tie he will not wear except under duress. I decided to devote this week’s posts to fatherhood in general.
These days I am Executive Director of Chains of Grace, a Christ centered ministry. We provide re-entry services and supervision for persons coming out of incarceration. We get as many as 100 applications each month from those seeking a place to come so they can be paroled. We never disclose any personal information from those applications, but there are general items it is hard to miss.
Pornography, alcohol and drug abuse are common precursors to criminal behavior. Persons who spend an inordinate amount of time, money and effort watching porn, getting drunk or ruining their body with substance abuse are also more likely to populate our jails and prisons.
And, I notice, the relationship an inmate had with his or her father is a key factor in where a person may spend a large part of his or her life. Most of the applications we receive indicate the absence of the father predisposes a person to criminal activity. Yes, you are right, a father can be present and still be absent in fact, or, worse, unproductive or abusive. Certainly, what we see is the need for the father to be present, productive and protective.
Therefore, I am going to advocate with persons who may be deciding to produce children together to take stock of their situation before they make a child who will need each of them. To wit:
Ladies, take a good long look at the fellow who will be your partner in making a child. Does he seem likely to be present, productive and protective in your child’s life. Does he come and go without concern for your needs now? Do not expect that to change just because you make a baby with him. Does he produce works of benefit to you before you sleep with him? Does he appear to be the kind of person who will be protective of you and his child? If not, you might want to hit “Pause” on your biological clock before you find yourself trying to provide for and protect a child conceived with an absentee person.
Gentlemen, please decide that fathering is more than a one time act of procreation (Ok, sex). Do not accept the fiction that children are resilient or that mom can do the raising. If you are not prepared to be present, productive and protective in the life of your child, you may have to face his or her life behind bars because you do not man up and raise your child. No, mom cannot do it all alone, though many women must do so. Homes where a single mother is raising a child or children alone is much more likely to be a home below the poverty level. No father? No supervision? No money? A mother tired out of her mind and stressed beyond human capacity? This is a recipe for crime.
Ladies, take a good, long look at your partner in the light. Consider him not just as a sex partner but as a life partner.
Gentlemen, decide right now you are going to raise your own children with their own mother. Be present, Be productive, Be protective.