By Ryan Bomberger, a dad of four
Imagine a world without dads.
Ok. The exercise is over, because you wouldn’t be here to imagine anything if it weren’t for those who are 50% biologically responsible for your existence.
Nature is an extraordinary thing. It reveals to us how important every piece of the biological puzzle is to Life. Each gender, female and male, is significant and different and wondrous.
But what happens when we pretend that they’re interchangeable or dispensable?
The puzzle starts to fall apart leaving gaping holes. We see that in our modern society as the epidemic of fatherlessness sweeps across our country. The sexual revolution should have taught our nation one thing: irresponsibility leads to instability. Today, 40.6% of American children are born to unmarried mothers, with a culture-shifting 58% of them in mostly unstable cohabitating unions. Back in the 1940s, unmarried births amounted to less than 5%. Today, abortion has become a violent form of birth control with 85.5% of America’s 1.1 million annual abortions occurring among unmarried women.
Roe never empowered women. It empowered men to have sex and run. This is what happens when people choose abandonment over accountability.
Nothing replaces a father. Not a woman. Not a live-in boyfriend. Not government insistence programs (which insist that fathers stay out of the picture).
The repercussions are serious as study after study reveals the impact of father absence. This isn’t to disparage single moms who do all they can to love and provide for their child(ren). Neither nature nor Nature’s God intended for women to play both the role of mother and father. According to the US Census Bureau report on poverty, single female led homes are 5.27 times more impoverished than two-parent married homes. (Just to compare, single father-led homes are 2.74 times more impoverished.) Among children, lack of involved fathers has led to higher high school drop out rates, higher usage of drugs, higher rates of suicide, higher instances of teenage pregnancy, higher incarceration rates, higher instances of violent crime, higher rates of abuse and neglect (typically by live-in boyfriends who are not the biological parent), higher abortion rates, lower college graduation rates, lower employment rates…lower opportunities to thrive and succeed.
Hollywood mostly portrays fathers as buffoons and disconnected reluctant participants. Disney, one of the leading influencers of children and tweens, typically conveys a world where parents don’t exist altogether. So nearly every sitcom churns out sassy, witty, self-absorbed kids who journey through life without parental guidance.
Our society is being socially, and radically, re-engineered to believe that men and women are simply interchangeable. They’re not. In our reality-show obsessed culture, a failed father and husband automatically becomes a pop culture icon and ESPY hero for exchanging his manhood for faux femininity.
Fatherlessness is destructive. Hollywood can pretend dads are optional, but reality doesn’t need reassignment surgery. Despite the fact that 72.3% of black children are born to unmarried women, civil rights groups like the NAACP and the National Urban League, ignore the devastating epidemic. In fact, in the National Urban League’s 2015 “State of Black America: Save Our Cities” annual document detailing the issues facing the black community, there’s not one single mention of “fathers” or “fatherlessness” in the body of the report. Ferguson, Baltimore, and every urban area across this nation exude the brokenness. Fatherlessness is the most apparent yet most ignored social issue in the black community. Save the family–the strength of any community–and you will “Save Our Cities”.
Many in the education establishment insist that changing the standards of learning will bring massive changes to communities, especially those more economically depressed. Common Core Standards, for instance, will never impact a child’s possibilities like a community whose common core includes involved dads. Fathers who are present and continually engaged in their child’s life help shield against the social ills and crushed opportunities that are all too common in vulnerable, fatherless communities.
Father absence is painful regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic circumstances. It is felt by over 24 million children in this country today.
This Father’s Day, many will not have a father to celebrate. That sobering reality is created by dads who’ve chosen self over sacrifice, by social policies that try to exclude men, and so-called “justice” activists who ignore the urgent necessity of fathers. But this epidemic has a cure. It requires fathers, adoptive fathers, mentors and other role models to defy the national trend and put it in reverse. There are great resources on fatherhoood (here, here and here) to help educate young men to understand why they matter, how to treat others (especially women) like they matter, and why dads matters. I am forever grateful that I had an amazing father to model love, devotion, dependability, integrity, compassion and unwavering faith. His and my mother’s love formed me into the husband and father that I am today.
Women are invaluable. Men are invaluable. And children (born and unborn) are our priceless posterity. They are worth every effort to provide an environment where they are loved, protected and nurtured and where their beautiful potential can be unleashed.
Ryan Bomberger is the Co-Founder of The Radiance Foundation, an adoptee and adoptive father. He is happily married to Bethany Bomberger (Executive Director of The Radiance Foundation) and daddy to four amazing kids.
Please visit these powerful fatherhood resources: