The year is 2019 and the statistical landscape is, to put it mildly, less than encouraging. As a society we have a problem with fathers, or should I say the lack of good fathers. Fathers are missing or unprepared. We talk about it often but what are we doing about it? I was recently on a local talk show and it reminded me of the problem we have with fathers and the need to talk about solutions. According to the Department of Statistics, children born to single mothers is somewhere between 65 to 70 percent and possibly even higher if the latest figures were to come out. Not only do we have a problem with fathers, we have a problem with men. Men not taking their role and responsibility seriously. Non-functional men. Abusive men. Absent men.
A pastor friend of mine recently went to speak at a church in one of the Family Islands and lamented the fact that there were almost no men in church, but that at the same time the church service was going on, a large group of men were under a tree on Sunday morning drinking and playing dominoes. The domino game was just across from the local numbers house. I would go out on a limb to say this is not a good picture. Later that same day, I was driving along Thompson Boulevard and noticed a very interesting sight; an unmarked vehicle pulled up to the police headquarters and out of the back of the SUV the policemen pulled young men out by their handcuffs. On the same drive, I noticed policemen apprehending two young men in a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. I looked into the faces of these young men and I saw a sense of tragic hopelessness. Young men who could have been taking their children to summer school or a church program, but here they were about to spend the weekend or longer in a cage. This reminded me of the need to focus on men.
When I say focus on men, I am not talking about complaining about men. We do have a reason to complain about the status of men but complaining is not good enough. It made me ask myself, ‘Am I doing enough? What can I do to help steer men in the right direction, to rescue and rehabilitate and, better yet, to prevent men from being in these positions?’ I am not big on complaining, I am an action person. I am not calling talk shows and just lamenting the male problems and problem with fathers, I am doing something and trying to find new ways of doing more.
A few weeks ago, I decided to share my story of hope and inspiration with a group of young men who were sentenced by the court system to undergo counseling rather than sending them to prison. As I spoke to these young men, I was pleasantly surprised at how open they were to my message. According to the counselor, these were murderers, gang members, drug offenders and others. They appreciated me taking the time to talk to them. I happened to have a copy of my book about choices and I let them see it for reference. Many asked for a copy and this week I will present copies to several dozens of them in hopes that they can gain inspiration that would lead to a turnaround. My point is someone – me, you, we, have to do something. If we just talk, nothing significant really changes.
We must focus on men.
Churches, what programs do you have in place to teach young boys to be men?
Local civic organizations, what programs do you have in place to teach young men to be better fathers?
Your answer may help in determining if we will get better or worse as a country. I have decided to continue to work. Let’s all agree to do something – coach a sports team, join your men’s ministry, become a part of your fraternity mentoring program, be a neighborhood big brother. Do something! Focus on the fathers because the fathers are the foundation and if the foundation is cracked the building is not strong enough to last.
Jesus made this important statement about the father of all – John 5:19: “Therefore, Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’”
We must remember that in many ways this is what is happening in our society. Young men are repeating whatever their fathers do. They may loathe their fathers when they are young, but many end up doing just what their fathers have done, good or bad. Pastors, community leaders, politicians, please focus on the fathers.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.