been a tough couple of decades for fathers in particular, and men
in general. In saying that, I need to underline that no man should
be excused his abusiveness, and no father should be excused the
abandonment of his children. Much of the trouble men find themselves
in these days is of their own making. If men act like bullies or
drones, women will very reasonably act to defend themselves and
their children. But today, the critiques of men in our society go
a lot deeper than just correcting bad male behavior. They attack
men's identity and undermine the whole idea of fatherhood. In the
process, women and children are hurt, families are damaged, and
our understanding of God Himself becomes confused.
of easy divorce
delusion of the 1960s, '70s and '80s was that women and children
could survive and even prosper without husbands and fathers; that
divorce could be a good thing with little or no impact on the children
involved. Just the opposite is true.
is clear. The breakdown of intact, two-parent families severely
damages children. Worse, as single-parent and step-parent households
increase, our social fabric weakens. There's no mystery to the data:
Children need fathers, and we all suffer if fathers disappear. Which
is why David Blankenhorn, the author of Fatherless America, can
say that "fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of
this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being
in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social
problems from to crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse
to domestic violence against women."
love their wives
Samuelson puts it another way: "The only solution [to our contemporary
problems] is to reconstruct, somehow, families that provide the
love, sense of self-worth and discipline that children require to
develop into responsible, self-sufficient adults. But no one really
knows how to do this . . ."
that's not quite true. I think the solution exists, and we can find
it in our faith.
men and women to complement each other, to complete each other in
Him, to share in His community of love. We love God best by loving
and serving each other sacrificially. That takes many different
forms. But it's the family, the love between a husband and wife,
a mother and father, which is the glue of everything else in society.
Children learn the language of love the vocabulary which
enables them to understand God by watching their mother and
father. They need both.