Ron Wood

Olive Branch, MS

#1 Jun 9, 2008
Fathers are MIA

Father’s Day is a big day for Hallmark Cards but a sad day for America. This Sunday millions of homes will have a dinner table set with an empty chair at the head. For half the kids in America, dad isn’t there. He’s gone MIA- Missing in Action.

If we measure the success of the American Dream based on the number of intact families, we would score a failing grade. These disappearing daddies are costing us all dearly.
Cold statistics can’t truly paint the dismal picture filled with small scenes of heartache.

This is a portrait painted in muted tones of gray, the sad shades of children put to bed by frustrated mothers, half the parenting team missing, men who’ve gone AWOL.

Where have all the fathers gone? What’s the impact on American? This trend has been measured over decades and is now deeply entrenched. The reports are grim. I would gladly give up my color TV if I could take back the old-fashioned moral values and marital fidelity of yesterday compared to what our enlightened liberal Hollywood society of “Do your own thing” has produced. Look at these facts:

- The number one indicator of poverty is a fatherless home.
- The number one indicator of teen pregnancy is a fatherless home.
- The number one indicator of gang involvement is a fatherless home.
- The number one indicator of youthful drug abuse is a fatherless home.
- The number one indicator of high school drop-out is a fatherless home.

Imagine all these boys wondering,“Who am I?” No manly voice answers,“You are my son.” Imagine all of these girls wondering what it’s like to be loved without lust, to be held by the safe arms of a strong daddy, receiving pure affection from someone who will protect them at any cost. Imagine all of these heroic mothers- now abandoned by the man who impregnated them; working long hours; weary, worn, fighting fatigue; struggling to do the work of two; smiling through the strain of never-ending stress from making ends meet on half the pay with no time to really rest.

Besides the personal toll and the emotional impact, there is also the economic drain. Our government doesn’t have enough money in its treasury to replace with generous welfare checks what faithful fathers could and should do in every American home.

Where will we find the answer to this dilemma? The last bastion of fatherhood, what should be a model of heaven on earth, is the church.

But in the church, men are often in the minority. Masculine men are made to wonder if church is just for women. Is this very far from the truth? Church culture in many cases has been feminized. Picture this: crowds of gray-haired women, passively sitting on padded pews, hearing an emotionally sensitive rhetorically gifted pastor preach, then they all sing,“Faith of Our Fathers,” while restless kids squirm on mothers’ laps because daddy wanted to stay home and watch the game.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Each of us men can make a choice to be true, to man-up.

Fathers are MIA ©2008 by Ron Wood. Ron is a father and grandfather, writer, self-employed businessman, and pastor of Real Life Church in Olive Branch, MS. To contact Ron, write to him via email at ronwood@centurytel.net.

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