February 25, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
This is not a post about guns. If you want that, there are plenty to choose from elsewhere. This is a post about fatherless boys. I write it of course because of the horror perpetrated against school kids in Parkland, Florida by Nikolas Cruz. The debate about guns will go on, but sadly, it seems that it won’t include a debate about fatherless boys. Here’s Suzanne Venker to try to right that wrong (Fox News, 2/19/18).
I often point out the many deficits produced in children by the lack of a father in their lives. The statistics are overwhelming and have been around for decades. The terrible effect of fatherlessness on children, including when they become adults, is the single greatest social ill we face. And yet we promote it – actively promote it – as a matter of public policy. Family courts do it, child support laws help, adoption laws pitch in and so do child protective agencies. The absence of laws prohibiting paternity fraud does its part too. Depictions of fathers in the news media and pop culture also contribute. At every turn, where we should be doing everything in our power to keep fathers in children’s lives, (which is where most of them fervently want to be), we do the opposite. We sideline them marginalize them, call them deadbeats, assume they’re not important, assume their greatest importance is as a source of money. Not occasionally, we offer cash incentives to mothers and states to keep fathers out of children’s lives.
These are the broad-brush strokes of the problem. They paint a picture of a deeply dysfunctional society. It is a picture of a society that knows what’s right and deliberately does the wrong thing, the thing that damages everyone, fathers, mothers, children, society generally and the public purse.
Nikolas Cruz was raised without a father. So was Adam Lanza. So was Dylan Roof. So were countless others.
Broken homes, or homes without a physically and emotionally present mother and father, are the cause of most of society’s ills. “Unstable homes produce unstable children,” writes Peter Hasson at The Federalist.
He adds, “On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.”
Returning fathers to children’s lives won’t stop violent crime; it won’t stop mass slayings like the one in Parkland. But it will reduce violent crime and indeed crime generally. It will mean boys do better in school, have fewer emotional and psychological problems, be better able to commit to relationships, be more likely to be employed and to hold a job and be happier people. What’s not to like?
Venker quotes Warren Farrell:
“Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.”
Just so. The case for fathers gets lost in so many ways. In the Nikolas Cruz case, it’s lost amid the hubbub of the gun control debate. When drug and alcohol abuse is the topic, fatherlessness is there like the elephant in the living room, huge, present and unmentioned. When the decline of American education is discussed, there’s fatherlessness again, but again, if it’s mentioned at all, it’s only in passing.
So thanks to Suzanne Venker for doing what needs to be done. Multiply her effort by 10,000 and we’d be getting somewhere. Fatherlessness is an issue that We the People understand, but with which policy elites can’t be bothered. It’s time we forced them to do the obvious thing, the right thing, the constructive thing. It’s time we forced them to change laws, regulations and the public discourse toward solving the most important problem we face – the absence of fathers from children’s lives.
Nikolas Cruz may be an argument for greater regulation of firearms, or he may not be, depending on your take. He is unquestionably an argument for keeping fathers in children’s lives whenever possible. MORE