Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007

The plight of fatherless children

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On Father’s Day, my minister stood in grief as he revealed sobering statistics, which caused all of us in the church deep and profound sadness. The information was alarming and depressing. Many members of my church were wringing their hands as we wondered where do we start in addressing what is happening with our children here in Prince George’s County and America.

1. From 1960 to 1990, the number of children living apart from their biological father rose from 17 percent to 36 percent.

2. In inner cities, one in five children live with their father.

3. Forty percent of children in fatherless homes have not seen their father in at least one year.

4. Fifty percent of children living without their father have never set foot in their father’s home.

5. Sixty-three percent of young people who commit suicide are from fatherless homes.

6. Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavior disorders are from fatherless homes.

7. Eighty percent of rapists arc from fatherless homes.

8. Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

9. Seventy-five percent of all adolescent patients in chemical-abuse centers are from fatherless homes.

10. Seventy percent of juveniles in state operated institution come from fatherless homes.

11. Eighty-five percent of youth in prison are from fatherless homes.

12. Seventy percent of teen pregnancies are from fatherless homes.

Prayer alone will not correct these grave problems.

If we truly love our children and have hope for a better nation, we must take immediate steps in addressing the 12 points mentioned. Our children, especially our young men and boys, are in desperate need of positive role models and the presence of strong focused males in their lives.

This is not to say females and mothers should not be a part of the equation. Let me be real clear. Had it not been for the strong presence and influence of the female, more of our children would fall through the cracks. A return to the village concept is urgent!

Historically, the two institutions who played a role in helping to shape the lives of our children were the school and church. They helped to bring the home and community together.

Today, we have many organizations who can help stem the tide of negativism among our children.

We must volunteer and spend more time in our schools serving as mentors. Each one must reach one. We must talk with our children about life and living. Both the father and mother must realize their responsibility when it comes to their children who didn’t ask to be born. Our children should not be subjected to the ills of grownups. We all need to think before we speak or act when it comes to our children. When born, our children should come first.

Anything less will further enhance the mind-boggling statistics in this article, which caused me to cry in my heart. We can and should do better for our future, which are our children.

Del. Joanne C. Benson (D-Dist. 24) of Landover