The number of boys growing up without fathers in their lives has reached epidemic proportions. High rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have created a generation of fatherless boys.
The Magnitude of the Epidemic
~One in three children are born to unmarried parents.
~An estimated 24.7 million children do not live with their biological father.
~43% of urban teens live away from their father.
~42% of fathers fail to see their children at all after divorce.
~Since 1960 the rate of U.S. boys without fathers has quadrupled.
~1 in 6 black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, 1 in 3 black males born today will spend time in prison in his lifetime.
A recent Newsweek article “The Trouble with Boys” states “one of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to? Too often, the answer is no.”
~85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
~71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
~80% of rapists with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
~63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
~Gang membership increased from 50,000 in 1975 to 1,150,000 in 2008.
~90% of homeless children are from fatherless homes.
~85% of children with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
~90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
~Fatherless boys are 4 times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
The Financial Cost
~5% of the adult male population is in or has been in prison, costing taxpayers $75 billion a year.
~The prison incarceration rate more than quadrupled since 1975.
~A boy leaving high school to enter into a life of crime or drug abuse can cost his community $1.7–$2.3 million in his lifetime.
Relationships are God’s highways to Healing
The answer to the problems that are caused by fatherlessness are not found by passing a law or passing out more checks. A problem that is caused by the loss of a primary relationship – e.g. a missing Dad — must be addressed and solved, by the establishment of new, positive personal relationships. Governments can do some things well, but creating warm personal relationships is not one of them. Creating loving personal relationships and wholeness where there is brokenness is a fundamental calling for the Church of Jesus Christ.
The solution is also not found in attaching blame to a single mom who is already struggling and in most cases, doing the very best she can do. The solution is found in supporting those single mom’s and grandmothers by attaching a mentor to each of these precious children.
But the problem is so big. What can the little group of people that meets under the steeple on Main St. do to fight this fast growing cultural cancer?
The Army of Hope (The Church)
16 million men and women served in the US military during WW II. It was the introduction of this force that turned the tide in the fight against the freedom killing cancer of Hitler’s Germany and Imperialistic Japan. On any Sunday morning there are between 50 and 100,000,000 people attending Christian Churches in America.
We first must recognize the reality of the growing problem and what this can mean to our nation. Then we need to wake up that sleeping giant called the Church. The Church is more than the pretty white building in the middle of town where people get married, baptized, and eulogized. The Church is the body of Christ, and the answer for this cultural cancer called fatherlessness.
Why Should I Spend Two Hours a Week Mentoring a Child?
Paul challenges us in 2 Timothy 3-4 to: Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus calls His Church: to be the salt of the earth.
Salt not only brought flavor to food, it was the only preserving agent. We are that preserving force that is to permeate society to keep it from going bad.
When society is going bad; when children are suffering with a hopeless life perspective, ours is not to give an annual turkey followed by a Christmas present. Health, hope and direction is delivered within the context of relationship.
Long Island Youth Mentoring is here to connect troubled fatherless and orphaned children to the hope and direction that is found in a relationship with a Christian mentor.
You Make a Difference
Mentoring is the only methodology that consistently, and reliably, helps troubled youth negotiate the dark hallways of fatherlessness and ushers them into the light of productive citizenship. When a Christian commits to mentor a child, he commits to spend two to four hours with his assigned youth each week for a minimum of one year. 83% stay on for the second year, and over 70% see the third year through to it’s completion.
A controlled study done by Public/Private Ventures depicts the results statistically. Mentoring reduces:
~Drug abuse by 46%
~School drop outs by 52%
~Teen pregnancy by 35%
~Violent behavior by 52%
Statistics do give us an aerial view of the impact of mentoring. But we have found that when a mentor prays up and then shows up faithfully each week, the Spirit of God shows up and a life is often changed for an eternity. The I.B.I.Y. Male Mentoring Group, sponsored by the Forest Hill Church Ministries' Youth Department and the Men Of Valor, endeavor to reach the unreachable, touch the lives of the untouchable and encourage the incorrigible one child at a time. Young lives matter.
Discussion topics include:
• What is your dream? What are you doing or not doing to achieve that dream?
• What kind of man do you want to be? What will you need to do to become that man
• What are you afraid of?
• What masks do you wear to hide what is really going on inside you?
• How does peer pressure affect you?
• What are you most proud of, and least proud of?
• Have you ever been bullied or been the bully?