Do Dads Still Matter?

What do FATHER’S DAY, WHITE RHINOS, and JUVENILE ELEPHANTS have in common?

More than you think. And what’s more, they combine to answer this question: Do Dad’s still matter in 2013?

With so many fathers absent in their homes, it seems fitting to ask, “Does it really matter? I ran across this story from the world of nature that answers the question in a profound way:

ElephantImage from: http://www.stellamays.co.uk/portfolio.html

Several years ago the TV show 60 Minutes ran a fascinating segment about the slaughter of white rhinos in the South African wildlife preserve. 39 of these rare white rhinos had been killed, and Park Rangers were on alert! But after a thorough investigation, it turned out that the rhinos weren’t killed by poachers, but rather by unlikely juvenile delinquents–teen elephants!

The story began a decade earlier when the park could no longer sustain the increasing population of elephants. They decided to kill many of the adult elephants whose young were old enough to survive without them. And so, the young elephants grew up fatherless.

As time went on, many of these young elephants roamed together in gangs and began to do things elephants normally don’t do. They threw sticks and water at rhinos and acted like neighborhood bullies. Without dominant males, the young bulls became sexually active, producing excessive testosterone and exhibiting aggressive behavior. A few young males grew especially violent, knocking down rhinos and stepping or kneeling on them, crushing the life out of them.

Believe it or not, the park rangers theorized that these young teen-aged elephants were acting badly because they lacked role models. The solution was to bring in a large male to lead them and to counteract their bully behaviors. Soon the new male established dominance and put the young bulls in their places. The killing stopped. The young males were mentored—and saved.

Wow. What a crazy story . . . but it underscores something that I think we all know – that the presence, participation, and power of a father cannot be overestimated. In fact, recent studies confirm that children who grow up without a positive male influence in their life are at risk of serious struggles.

For instance:

    • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
    • So are 90% of all homeless and runaway children;
    • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes ;
    • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;
    • 85% of all teens sitting in prisons.

The one common denominator is that these children lack a positive male role model. Don’t misunderstand the point here – it’s not that children raised by Singles Mothers are doomed to struggle. (I know so many AWESOME single Moms here who I respect immensely).

The point is that men matter. Children need to see and interact with Godly men. And when society attempts to write strong men out of the script, chaos is sure to follow.

Fathers, this is a call to action. Stand up and ENGAGE in your children’s lives.

Men, this is a call to action. The children in this country are hungry for positive male role models. Most do not see them in school – 75% of all elementary schools have no male teachers. They do not see them on television or in movies – pay attention to what you are watching. Nearly every father depicted in the media is a drooling idiot. We need men who will stand up and mentor the children of our country.

Start at home. Engage there. And then consider who you can branch out. Coach a team. Tutor a student. Volunteer at school. Join a mentoring organization. But make a difference. The children of America need you!

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5 Responses to Do Dads Still Matter?

  1. Reblogged this on Moderndaymomme and commented:
    “…that the presence, participation, and power of a father cannot be overestimated.” Dad’s Matter! Happy Father’s Day Weekend and remember to appreciate the Father’s, husbands, mentors, father figures that you have in your life!

  2. Chris Pritchard says:

    Great article, Matthew! One of the reasons correctional ministry is growing is the lack of strong Christian role models (See “More God, Less Crime” by Byron R. Johnson, Templeton Press, 2011). Could you give a list of your data sources for us to examine?

    • matthewsink says:

      Hey Chris – I’ve had these numbers in a file for a few months, so it may take some “research” . . . but I’ll try to find the sources.

      I LOVE the ministry you are doing! Keep up the good work!

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