Scholar sounds the alarm on fatherlessness

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As someone who grew up in a single-parent home raised by my mother, I got to see my father eight times a year, if that, from age 8 until he died six months after my 19th birthday.

Because my dad lived 90 miles away, my visits generally involved one weekend every other month during the course of the school year and one or two weeks in the summer.

I know from experience how tough it is for boys to grow up without their biological fathers. The feelings of abandonment penetrate our spirits, take up residence in our minds and seek to remind us all the time that we’re not worthy of anyone’s love and attention.

Thank God I had rock solid male mentor in high school as well as committed leaders in my Boy Scout troop who helped initiate me into manhood. I would not be where I am today without those men. Not every fatherless child is so fortunate.

Warren Farrell, who has taught at seven universities, including Georgetown, Rutgers and American University, said he has tracked a dismantling of fatherhood in many communities that has wreaked a devastating toll on boys and men, Just The News reported.

Farrell compiled years of research into a book titled “The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.” I just ordered the book myself since fatherlessness is a hot button topic for me.  (If you order one, too, by clicking on that link, I may receive a very small commission.)

In his book, Farrell differentiated between fathers’ and mothers’ styles of parenting, stressing that both parents play important roles in dozens of different developmental areas. He said his research also found important developmental problems when fathers are not present in their daughters’ lives.

One of my relatives has suffered tremendously because she had very little one-on-one contact with her father and that “dad-deprivation” impacted her self-esteem. That lack of love and attention from her father opened a gaping wound in her soul to the point she even rejects the concept of a loving heavenly father.

“I ended up realizing that the children who did the best are ones that have what I call checks and balance parenting,” Farrell said, which is a combination of masculine and feminine traits working together.

Of course, when Ferrell presented his preliminary findings to members of the board of the National Organization of Women, for which he was a member, he was politely shown the door.

Fatherlessness has escalated far beyond the status of a “national problem.” It is an epidemic.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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