Having a father in the home is critical in every family. One in four children in the United States have no father at home (Szecsei). If this is true in just the United States, how much is it prevalent in the rest of the world? It is a problem that is growing (Sanchez). Some fathers fear responsibility, while others put material things over their family and decide to leave. Will it ever be acceptable to leave a family? No, never! The consequences of leaving children are tremendous. Being a father is a blessing and a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
The consequences of a father leaving his home are overwhelming for children. Over 40.6% of children are illegitimate in America (Szecsei). And many of these illegitimate children are not wanted by their fathers. Seven percent of absent dads in America were married to their children’s mother but now live away from them (Szecsei). Also, thirty percent of dads in America have been through a divorce, leaving children behind (“National Center for Fathering”). Fathers help children to develop mentally, socially, and behaviorally. “The involvement of a father figure has unique, but nevertheless proven, impacts on both sexes” (“Why Fatherhood Engagement Matters”). For boys, having a father in the home helps to develop his gender identity, reduce behavior and emotional issues, and curb criminal activities. From a sample of 835 juvenile inmates, researchers found that each of them was fatherless (Allen). For girls, having a father is to help support them emotionally and prevents them from sinking into depression (Children’s Bureau). Research also shows that 3.5% of women whose fathers are absent are more likely to get pregnant illegitimately through peer pressure (Lang). Fatherlessness can cause ADHD/ADD/ODD and CD, which are psychosocial issues, caused by lack of emotional and self-control (Lang). Fathers tend to challenge their children, so they can be better prepared for future responsibilities. Fathers discipline us to help us learn to abstain from harmful or insulting behavior and help us with self-control and responsibility. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Fatherhood has such a significant impact on a child’s outcome in life.
Fatherhood is such a blessing! To mentor children during each step of life and set them up for success is a privilege. When I was five, I was taken from my biological parents, my parents had a choice, a choice to keep my siblings and me by changing their lives or continue abusing prescription drugs. Tragically, they chose drugs over us. It crushed me when I realized the full meaning of this when I was older. They chose what they deemed better, material things, over our welfare. I have often asked myself what it would have been like to be a normal child, born and raised in a home with a great mother and father. I never had that opportunity, because after I was taken away at five, I lived in foster homes, and sadly, not all of them were the loving kind that genuinely cared for me. I was never taught to read in these homes, so I failed first grade. It was not until I was eight that I was finally adopted into a loving Christian family. They helped me change my life and introduced me to a heavenly Father, who broke my heart of anger, pride, and selfishness. I developed these traits because of a lack of a good example in my life. My adoptive father has set me up for success and I am still benefiting from his wisdom. God has completely changed my life and what I live for. I exist to glorify Him and help others.
It is so important to help young men prepare for fatherhood because it is a huge responsibility. How can we help fathers in their responsibilities of parenting? A good first step is to look for other dads who are good role models. Spend time with these men to build a great relationship, so they can be there for any questions or problems that come along (Delony). Showing and “treating your wife with dignity, respect, and kindness” tells her that she is cared for. This relationship is mirrored in the way that children act. Being healthy will set a fitting example for children to follow in the future (Delony). Be involved in our children’s lives. If we are at home and never talk or spend time with our children, that is a problem. It is important to stop finding other “things” that are more important than spending time with family. “Your kids crave your attention”; they would rather spend time with their parents than doing anything else (Delony)!
Once again, I would like to talk about my father, not my biological, nor my adopted, but my heavenly Father. He is the perfect father who has been with me every step of my life. He has never left me. He knew me even before I was born (Ps.139:16)! Even in my times of suffering, despair, loneliness, and anger, he was there with me. Though I do not understand why I was born into a broken family, I do know that he has a plan for my life (Prov.3:5-6). He knows we fail, but he does not forsake us. No matter how hard people strive to be the perfect father, only God can be that to all of us. God desires to make us better if only we follow his example.
Allen, Andrea N. “Drugs guns and disadvantaged youths.” Co-occurring behavior and the code of the street., vol. 58, no. 6, 2010
Accessed 5 December 2022.
Delony, John. “How to Be a Good Dad: 12 Simple Steps.” Ramsey Solutions, 30 December 2022
Accessed 5 January 2023.
“The Extent of Fatherlessness.” National Center for Fathering
Accessed 14 December 2022.
Lang, Delia L. “Multi-level Factors Associated with Pregnancy among Urban Adolescent Women Seeking Psychological Services.” NCBI, 28 September 2012
Accessed 15 December 2022.
Sanchez, Claudio. “Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids.” NPR, 18 June 2017
Accessed 5 January 2023.
Szecsei, Szabolcs. “20 Statistics on Fatherless Homes and the Importance of Dads.” Modern Gentlemen, 7 January 2021
Accessed 14 December 2022.
“Why Fatherhood Engagement Matters.” Children’s Bureau, 1 May 2017
Accessed 6 December 2022.
Submitted by Ryan Uplinger
2nd place winner of 2022 BFLW Essay Contest