Many boys today don't know what it means to be a man because they don’t have a man in their lives. Sadly, children will go to bed tonight without saying goodnight to their father because he just isn’t there.
Nearly one-fourth of America’s children live in mother-only families. Locally, 39 percent of Hamilton County families are headed by a single mother.
Of the children living with their mothers, 35 percent never see their father. And, 24 percent see their fathers less than once a month.
More than likely, a woman teaches them at school and at home. So, where do they see and interact with positive male role models? Or, how do the boys learn what it means to be a man? Television? Movies? On the street?
Even in homes where the father is present, research shows that the average father spends less than 10 minutes a day one-on-one with his child. In our society, emotional and spiritual fatherlessness is becoming the norm. Many of today’s fathers did not have positive role models to show them how to be a father, so they are not there to show their children what it means to be a father.
No matter how great a mother is, she cannot replace what a father provides to a child. Irrefutable research shows that mothers are typically nurturing, soft, gentle, comforting, protective and emotional. Fathers tend to encourage risk-taking and to be challenging, prodding, loud, playful and physical. Children need a balance of protection and reasonable risk-taking. If a positive male role model isn't around, there is a void in this child's life. Children without positive male role models are more likely to be involved in criminal activity, premarital sexual activity, do poorer in school and participate in unhealthy activities.
Studies have shown that involvement of a father or a positive male role model has profound effects on children. Father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well-being, perceptual ability and competency for relating with others. Furthermore, these children demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and evidence self-control.
How can you make a positive difference for these children?
- Encourage positive male role model involvement in your child's life if you're a mom.
- If you're a non-custodial dad, make the effort to visit with your children more often. You can also be very intentional about teaching them important life lessons.
- If you are an educator, encourage fathers to be more active in the classroom.
- You can influence the lives of children in your community be being a positive male role model.
- Faith-based institutions and programs can bring fathers together with their children. Additionally, they can encourage male role models to engage children in their sphere of influence.
- Business leaders can encourage employee involvement in community efforts with children. For example, you can promote mentoring with organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, youth groups, Boys Club or Girls, Inc.
Every child needs someone who is absolutely crazy about them. Let's make sure they have that person.