Just Show Up: How to Father a Fatherless Generation

On Sunday, children everywhere will be remembering their fathers’ love, support and direction.

But for almost half of America’s children (43 percent) the memories will be limited or completely missing.

John Sowers, author of The Fatherless Generation, says no generation has seen as much voluntary father absence as this one with 25 million kids growing up in single-parent homes.

The byproduct of that number is even more sobering: 85 percent of gang members, 75 percent of teen pregnancies, 65 percent of suicides and 75 percent of drug users come from fatherless homes.

Sowers says the children behind those numbers live lives branded by rejection.  

For the church, there is another reality to overcome, Sowers says this generation won’t believe the gospel promise that God can be our father unless we show up in their lives with the same intimacy that God shows up in ours.

This 2012 documentary from Christ in Youth titled, Becoming Sons and Daughters, highlights the lives of Christian men who are committed to providing evidence of the scriptural promise of the Father’s presence.

The video tells the stories of several men who have worked alone or with their church to mentor at-risk youth.

The stories range from a teacher in New York City who meets regularly with fatherless boys mentoring, coaching and instructing to the moving story of Chris Keith who’s own father killed his mother, brother and left him for dead after shooting him in the head before taking his own life.  Chris now mentors at-risk boys and tells his story at juvenile detention centers to boys whose common denominator is: “they don’t have anyone who cares for them.”

All of those featured say they have no special talents, they simply share their lives and passions with boys who lack a male role model to provide them with love, support and direction.

They teach, coach, foster, adopt, play and provide the most needed gift of all— their time and attention.  All the while doing their best to provide a glimpse of our heavenly Father.

Sowers asks, “if a church doesn’t include this kind of ministry in their outreach, can its members really say they’re loving their neighbor?”

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Bob Ditmer
Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.