Sunday will be Father’s Day and I will be blessed to celebrate with four fathers: my husband and our three sons. Our youngest will be celebrating his first Father’s Day. I must say that one of the surprises of having grandchildren has been watching my sons be fathers. It is a particular joy. From the challenges of discipline to the silly play time, they are all devoted to their kids and fully participate in their lives. What a blessing to their children, to our extended family and to our community. Stable families with present fathers make such a difference to our society.
It’s no secret that many of the critical problems in our society today correlate to the decline of men stepping up to fatherhood. According to a recent article from The National Center for Fathering, “Some fathering advocates would say that almost every social ill faced by America’s children is related to fatherlessness. Six of the most notable: poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, poor physical and emotional health, low educational achievement, crime and teen pregnancy.” It’s a pretty grim picture.
We try to counter the effects of absent fathers every day at My Safe Harbor. As a matter of fact, we have already begun some discussions about expanding our work to include fathers. We believe The Strong Families Institute curriculum, with a few tweaks in content and delivery, can be just as transformative for men as it is for women. The key is focusing on the change that must come from within. We are just barely beginning the research and dialogue about this effort, but I am convinced that if we are truly committed to transformational impact in the families of this neighborhood, we must address the role of fathers and, for their sons, what it means to be a man. Hence…we need “A Few Good Men” who will join us to do the work of providing this much-needed addition to our ministry. MSH has been so successful because a large contingent of mothers have risen to the challenge to support, educate, encourage, set an example and mentor other mothers. We will need fathers to step into the gap and do the same for fathers. We will begin the conversation with a special “Think Tank Breakfast” in September. If you’re interested, would you let me know? Email me at email@example.com. There will be lots more details to follow.
I leave you with a quote from Jim Valvano that was certainly true of my Dad: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another person: He believed in me.” Happy Father’s Day!