Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 12, 2019

Kids Need Dads

As we continue trying to make sense of the senseless shootings of recent weeks, we must not overlook the truth that strong families are the first line of defense in preventing children from becoming the kind of adults who spiral out of control and end up harming others. Further, we must not overlook the fact that the presence of a father in the home is of far more importance than our society is willing to admit.

As our political leaders continue fixing blame (mostly on one another) very little is being said about the fact that of the 27 deadliest mass shooters of recent years, the majority are men who came from broken homes — mostly homes without the presence of a good, stable father. Boys who do not grow up with a father who models self-control and empathy toward others are especially vulnerable to ideas that can sweep them in the direction of anger and violence.

That said, most boys who grow up in fatherless homes pick up the right cues from other adult males in their lives — a teacher, coach, uncle, or grandfather. But, many do not.

On Father’s Day in 2008, then Senator Barak Obama gave a speech in which he said, “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives … family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.” I agree with that. The best environment for a child is a home with a dad who is present and involved in the lives of his children. I remember the days when liberals and conservatives both agreed on this one thing — kids need dads!

Sadly, political winds (even under Obama’s administration) shifted and now bluster for a new definition of the family, a new category that either excludes the presence of a mom or a dad. Growing up with two dads means that a child grows up without a mom. Growing up with two moms means that a child grows up without a dad. In the current political climate, those who disagree with this paradigm are quickly labeled as intolerant and haters.

The truth is that we cannot yet fathom where the social and moral consequences of this new parenting category will ultimately lead us. Deliberately trying to create homes that are either fatherless or motherless is not a good idea. I believe in traditional marriage and want to see strong homes where moms and dads are the primary faith trainers of their children. As a Christ-follower, I unashamedly embrace the biblical model for the family.

As we debate gun violence, laws that govern the purchase of guns, and the role of mental health in mass shootings, we must not overlook the connection between violence and broken homes, especially homes with absentee dads. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson observed, “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.”

If we fail to fix broken homes, then no legislation will do enough to keep us safe. If fathers fail to take responsibility for their homes and to model good behavior, then boys may likely be more susceptible to ideas that will lead them down harmful paths. On Father’s Day of this year, my friend Brad Flurry said in his sermon, “It’s much easier to prepare a boy than to repair a man!” Well said.

Dads, understand how important you are to your family. Take responsibility. Teach, correct, and love your children. Be present when you are present. Do this because kids need dads!

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