Commentary: The impact of having a father
The following is a commentary for the Opinion page submitted by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
By Scott Fassett, Alexandria, MN
Long ago, I had heard a story, and have since heard it many times over, of a prison. Mother’s Day was approaching, so Hallmark dropped off hundreds of Mother’s Day cards for the inmates to write their mothers. The response was overwhelming. Every single card was used, so much so, that Hallmark had to drop off more cards because the inmates wanted to send cards to grandmothers, aunts, teachers, neighbor ladies etc. No matter where you are in life, no matter how good or bad you may perceive your life to be, you always remember the love and kindness shown to you by the special mother figures in your life — and this was still true in this prison filled with people who have done unspeakable acts of evil.
As Father’s Day approached, Hallmark, which was so touched by the outpouring of love on Mother’s Day, anxiously collected hundreds and hundreds of Father’s Day cards for this prison. The day came and hundreds of cards were dropped off, but curiously, almost none were taken, and almost none were sent. Surprisingly (but not so surprisingly) the overwhelming number of these inmates, either had a bad relationship with their fathers, or no relationship at all.
More than almost any other factor, Fatherlessness is the most harmful condition that could possibly happen to a child.
A 2021 US Census Bereau study found that a child growing up in home without a biological father, step, or adoptive father is: four times greater risk of poverty; more likely to go to prison; 700% more likely to become pregnant as a teen; more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; two times more likely to be obese; and much more likely to commit suicide.
Another study was completed by one of the largest church bodies in the world, concluded that the single greatest factor in keeping children in church through their adulthood, was going to church, with their dad, as a child.
Think about that! The study compared almost every possible factor: Does the church have an active youth group, summer Bible camps, cool worship teams, Christian K-8 schools, Sunday school programs; did you attend church with you mom, grandparents or friends etc.? But more than anything, the number one indicator of whether or a not a child will remain in church as an adult was “Did you go to church with your dad?”
Please understand, I’m not sharing this stuff to make it sound like all of us fathers are super cool, charming, attractive, stunning, brave and intelligent, but I am sharing this with you because, although I am not a biologist, I know that each of you has a father, and I know that many of you are mothers whose children also have fathers. And I am imploring you now, to pray for those fathers.
Pray that fathers will know, with full certainty, who their heavenly father is.
Pray that they openly delight in their children, and the task of fathering.
Pray that the devil may have no stronghold in their mind or in their actions.
Pray that they are granted wisdom, humility and strength, so they may be a pillar of safety and truth in your home.
Pray that God would prepare men to be father figures to children who have none in their lives.
And finally, pray that God continually prepares them for the task of being a husband and a father.
May God bless you all this Father’s Day, and always.