What it Means to Have a Family

Searching for answers in a world of so many pressures that humanity seems to be going in the wrong direction. The United States of America is one of the most educated countries in the world. According to Jerriann Sullivan and Craig Donofrio , updated on July 2, 2020, “Most Educated Countries in the World”. Our approach to satisfying the ills of the world is linear in nature and not a cyclical practice of what we can teach the population of our communities on how to reach some success in a free society. Seemingly, the answer to our grievances is by supporting education in solving homelessness, crime, abuse, and prejudice. Our courts and educational systems have ignored the value of the family unit and how it works. The family has been a constant through the beginning of times. Mothers and fathers have transformed over hundreds of years. Fatherhood and Motherhood bear immense hurdles for the offspring that continue in a cycle of distress or success. In both world and American history, there is enough factual data to substantiate the uselessness of how to make a change. Resorting to violence, punishment, regulation or pacification has not worked. Our solution has been for improvement falls upon new laws, government programs, or the creation of special interest groups that lobby for special dispensations. Our enlightenment has been the path history has taken for hundreds of years. These actions and directions have only enabled wider gaps of incongruent increases in homelessness, crime, and abuse, Retribution for ills of the past focuses on the past. The vision of the future is how to concentrate on the most obvious steps needed to improve our state of life for humanity. The family has always been a conduit to the future of any country or community. Each birth has the significance of a mother or father. What constitutes a good father or mother is taboo for many of our funded educational institutions. The family unit was meant to have philosophical, spiritual, and concrete experiential models and mentors as a necessity of the discovery for both as a value proposition for mothers and fathers’ influences. This article is a reflection of where we have been and how we can begin to focus attention on what makes a positive change.

When we consider family through memories of what it was to have a father or mother will be different for each of us. Experiences of the roles we play in each of these explicit mother or father roles are not biological but are related to behaviors learned. This lineage has characterized itself in the attitudes, personalities, actions, and beliefs of what the parent would be by replicating our learned behaviors from our parents. You will find that through history much of our economy, education, spiritualism, and health practices are a direct result of family. During many of our lives the closest we get to any formal education on how to be a good father, husband, mother, or wife, may only come by our replication of what we have learned from life skills by observing the roles through the experiences by you and your family.

Years of history have revealed the consequences of childhood, adolescents, and young adult relationships with parents have lasting effects by becoming a living linage of their life experiences to become their parents. This trajectory is framed in what we visualize as a cyclical pattern where each child grows up to inherit a similar action role as their parents. Through these cycles, we can see the positives becoming a strength and the negatives becoming a burden in our lifelong journey.

Our existence in this world has bestowed an absolute for every living human being to live an experience of physical, emotional, and spiritual balance to be a father or mother. This similarity may be characterized and defined differently by our society and cultures. Practices of being a father or mother have occurred through the osmosis of learning from a mother or father as each of us has inherited. The embodiment of being a father or mother goes back to the beginning of time. The experience of having a father or mother often differs for each one of us. Our retrospection of the definition of a father or mother has contradictions. Definitions of a mother or father have been learned by you from your cultured experiences throughout your life. While there are many aspects of life regarding life skills to be learned, the actual pedagogy available to society in public education, spiritual education, or higher education is limited to formality or aspects of parenthood’s best practices of love, hope, self-respect, friendships, encouragement, accountability, spiritual sensitivity, health, and parent responsibilities. The dependence on understanding the role of a father or mother filters through the practical experience of males and females from birth to adulthood. Conceptually we become a visible entity of replication of our father or mother. This accounts for both present and absentee parents. This osmosis of learning from birth to adulthood creates a cyclical rebirth of the adoption of parental mores. Recognizing these accepted interpretations will provide a starting point for elaborating on how this circumstance affects our societal outcomes.

The origins of fatherhood and motherhood were earliest recognized in Christianity in the Holy Bible. Indisputably both of these roles in life play a significant contribution with carrying on the next generation of what they have comprehended to be a father or mother.

Fatherhood

Fatherhood has varying perceptions in our existing cultures, social-economic groups, and legal institutions. Each of us has certainty as parents our children are given to us for a period of time. The presence or lack of presence in our children’s lives has everlasting effects on their intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual life. Fatherhood and motherhood are a partnership to accomplish the best potential in both our sons and daughters. 

Asking the question of how do you become a father? Taking the definition from Wikipedia for father doesn’t give us much to draw upon to understand the wholistic commitment it means to be a father. An elementary view is when a male figure becomes a father by legal responsibility or biological relationship that carries with it certain obligations. Divine intervention posed a very clear delineation of why there is a father and a mother. Separate people with separate God-given roles. Fatherhood or motherhood has never rested only on biological or legal obligations as the final definition of being a parent.

What would be a cursory look at what is the qualifications to count as a father? In 2019, the United States Census Bureau released the first-ever report on men’s fertility. In June 2019 uncovered were 74.1 million men aged 15 and older are fathers. 72.2 million of these men have a biological child. Taking into account the education of these fathers 10 million do not hold a high school diploma and 8 million without a graduate college degree. This accounting of the numbers gives us reason to take into account in this report the narrative on how influencing fatherhood positively could have an effect on societal improvements. The attributes and positive outcomes would build a foundation of what a good father would need to be addressed by our schools and spiritual lessons. Keeping in our strategy with recognizing good fatherhood versus negative fatherhood.

Fatherhood Strengths

Our American society focuses on fatherhood definitions and has relied primarily on biological and legal accountability. The first step may be becoming a father, and the next step would be a dad. Being a dad calls for much more than a birth certificate with a name on it. Dads or stepdads create a lifelong relationships with their children. It seems trite to express a good dad resembles a pillar of strength, support, and discipline. Research and dads who are affectionate, supportive, and involved will contribute to a child’s cognitive, language, and social development. A good dad gives a child a sense of security, higher self-esteem, and authenticity. Dads take it beyond just being the breadwinner, to the accountability of gender development, intellectual development, and psychological development. There is no substitute for a dad’s love. The personality of a dad communicates this love and even with discipline, the child is not blinded by the love of their father. Part of a child’s growing up is the love that is represented by appropriate discipline. Dads don’t tell their children how to live but they allow their children to learn how they live as a parent.

Dads at Home and their Influence

Dads in America are an essential component of the family unit. While the standard view of the dad is a warrior, friend, and lover. Dads who accept these roles have a roadmap to be the person available in the household who has compassion for their family members. Compassion opens the opportunity to teach their children skills from the earliest skills of walking and talking. When their children face challenges, dads provide advice on how to meet the challenges. Dads become the historian in a family who understands the past, present, and future. Imagine a father who has the time to communicate family origins and values. Sons and daughters become familiar with making goals for themselves about their future where their father can support and assist in reaching their children’s goals. Dads will provide opportunities for the improvement of intellectual, physical, spiritual, and health skills. When all these goals, opportunities, skills, and life skills are presented to their children dads never give up on the success of their children. Throughout life, families with a dad understand and relate the rocks on the road to success and understand failures. Optimism for a dad is to continue to believe in the potential of their children. Children were always dependent on the qualities of a dad through the infant, primary, intermediate and adolescent years. Mothers can fulfill their role when fathers are available for their God-given purpose. Fatherhood has the gift of being the greatest accomplishment a dad could achieve. The birth of a child is only the beginning of a journey that requires the presence of a father figure who lays the foundation for the next generation in our lives. This accountability requires a father figure who rejects passivity, leads courageously, accepts responsibility, and teaches how to live life eternally.

Today men lack in some cases the concept of what consists of manhood. On the surface, men are in a state of confusion about masculinity. When men lack clarity about manhood they default to boyish behaviors. Confusion continues to be present when the question arises about when you are considered a man. When we leave it to men with their own definition, they self-defined with boyish behaviors. A father needs four faces of manhood. These faces break down into a king, warrior, friend, and lover. (Series 33 volume session 4) A man and the king stage comes often through their relationships with a father or other men.  It could have been from parents, mentors, heroes, or friendships. This reflects righteous energy through strong convictions, courageous moral choices, servant spirit, and righteous leadership. These steps in life produce integrity for a father figure. The King’s face knows what is right. When you are a father he must lead with integrity. Without the balance of the other faces, integrity can become a bully or overbearing personality. The next face would be the Warrior’s face. This is the man’s face which reflects courageous energy. A father shows their expectations through initiative, protection, provision, and perseverance. The warrior’s face is associated with sports heroes, and leaders, because of their self-discipline and fight for the noble and right things. Fathers often are the present person to interpret these behaviors. Children with an absent father often are left out of understanding this face characteristic. These fathers lack taking on the responsibility of what is right. Authentic manhood to be a father (dad) needs both of these. The final faces of a man’s life are their heart. Without the second two faces is dangerous for life and family. Men cannot be one-sided people. Tragically the two faces of a friend and lover can be unnatural to a man. The lack of being capable to navigate as a friend or lover is the inadequacy to be a complete father. Too many fathers only are attached to their heads and hands. They have kept their heart in the absence to be a complete father. At times without the friend and lover face, a father can become too critical, harsh, and demanding of his wife and children. The chance of intimacy is choked out by your need for control. Friend face calls for men to have relationships with other men. Men need other men when we may need to hear the hard things. Growing up often our relationships were arranged through organized activity. When a man grows up they now struggle to create a relationship with other men unless organized. Friendships for fathers are esseofficeArt objectntial to growing up with your family. It is important to make time to build these relationships. Ask yourself “would you want to be a friend with yourself?”

Fathers are necessary to be a complete family. There is enough research to show the positive effects of why a father has very specific blended contributions with a mother to make a family experience complete.                                

The institution of fatherhood has some essential mores providing the structure for providing potential success to our family units. It has been proven through outcomes the effects of the family not being complete with the father and mother.

Absentee father syndrome has had extremely negative effects on American society. Recognizing this phenomenon now as a practicing educational professional has only seen the rise of negative societal outcomes and spiraling down effects of failure by our community’s lack of addressing these issues.  I first began my experience by working with youth at a facility of incarceration for young men aged fourteen to eighteen. These were formidable years for me to watch children and youth with minor offenses translate into adulthood as acting or potential criminals. The question is how long it takes to understand and recognize the symptoms and outcomes of not dealing with the primary issue translating into a major epidemic in America. Our system has consistently dealt with this issue with incarceration which has increased jail cells, inmates in prison, poverty, crime, addictions, alcoholism, welfare, depression, violence, abuse, unemployment, and family unity. Our historical perspective is that we have expended large amounts of money on the problems without any major cure to the systems. Addressing many of the issues examined has resulted in punishment. To turn around this epidemic we must exchange punishment for self-improvement.

Facts from “Life is Beautiful”, Ministries of Faith

  1. 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home. (Texas Department of Corrections)
  2. Seven out of every ten youth that is housed in state-operated correctional facility detention and residential treatment, come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  3. Children without a father are four times more likely to live in poverty than children with a father. (National Public Radio)
  4. Children from a fatherless home are twice as likely to drop out of school before graduating. (National Public Radio)
  5. 24.7 million children in the United States live in a home where there is no biological father present. (National Public Radio)
  6. Girls who live in a fatherless home have a 100% higher risk of suffering from obesity than girls who have a father present. Teen girls from fatherless homes are also 4 times more likely to become mothers before the age of 20. (National Public Radio)
  7. 57% of the fatherless homes in the United States involved African American/Black households. Hispanic households have a 31% fatherless rate, while Caucasian/White households have a 20% fatherless rate. (National Public Rate)
  8. In 2011, 44% of the children in homes headed by single mothers were living in poverty. Just 12% of families living with a married -couple family were in poverty. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  9. Children who live in a single-parent home are more than 2 times more like to commit suicide. (The Lancet)
  10. 72% of Americans believe that a fatherless home is the most significant social problem and family problem that is facing their country. (National Center for Fathering)
  11. Only 68% of children will spend their entire childhood with an intact family. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  12. 75% of rapists are motivated by displaced anger that is associated with feelings of abandonment that involves their father. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  13. Living in a fatherless home is a contributing factor to substance abuse, with children from such homes accounting for 75% of adolescent patients being treated in substance abuse centers. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  14. 85% of all children who exhibit some type of behavioral disorder come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  15. 90% of the youth in the United States who decide to run away from home, or become homeless for any reason, originally come from a fatherless home. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  16. 63% of youth suicides involve a child who was living in a fatherless home when they made their final decision. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  17. Children living in a single-parent or stepfamily home report less schoolwork monitoring, less social supervision, and lower educational expectations than children who come from two-parent homes. (American Sociological Review)
  18. Within the African American/Black community, about 2.5 million fathers live with their children, while 1.7 million fathers are not living with them. (Huffington Post)
  19. Even when poverty levels are equal, children who come from a two-parent home outperform children who come from a one-parent home. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
  20. In a 2014 study, only 3% of single mothers fell into the strongest demographic groups, while 44% fell into the weakest demographic groups. (Brookings)
  21. About 40% of children in the United States are born to mothers who are not married. Over 60% of these children were born to mothers who were under the age of 30.
  22. 25% of children who are the age of 18 are currently being raised without the presence of a father. Around 50% of single mothers have never married. 29% are divorced. Only 1 in 5 are either separated or widowed. (Life is Beautiful Ministries of Faith)
  23. In single-mother households, 50% involve just one child. 30% of single-mother households have two children. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  24. 27% of single mothers were jobless for the entire year while taking care of their children. Only 22% of those who were out of work were receiving unemployment benefits at the time. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  25. The median income for a household with a single mother is $35,440. The median income for a home with a married couple raising their children is $85,300 in the United States) Two-thirds of low-income working families with children are in the African American community. (U.S.Census Bureau)
  26. Over 30% of fatherless homes are classified as being food insecure, yet only 13% of homes will utilize the services of a food pantry. Over 30% of fatherless homes also spend more than half of their income on housing costs, which classifieds the household as experiencing a severe housing burden. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  27. In the United States, Mississippi has the highest number of fatherless homes, with 36% of households falling into the category. Louisiana comes in second at 34% while Alabama is third at 31%. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  28. Children who live in a fatherless home are 79% more likely to deal drugs or carry firearms for offensive purposes compared to children who live with their fathers. (Allen and Lo)
  29. 92% of the parents who are currently in prison in the United States are fathers. (Glaze and Maruschak)
  30. Pregnant women who do not have the support of their father experience pregnancy loss at a 48% rate. When the father is present, the prevalence of pregnancy loss falls to 22%. (Shah, Gee, and Theall)
  31. 43% of fathers do not see their role as something that is important to their personal identity. 54% of fathers in the U.S. say that parenting isn’t enjoyed all of the time (Pew Research)
  32. Even in homes with fathers, the modern dad spends only 8 hours a week on childcare, which is 6 hours less than the modern mom. On the other hand, 43% of the modern dad’s time is spent with paid work, compared to 25% of the time for the modern mom. (Pew Research)
  33. Only 5% of households in the United States say that the ideal situation is to have the mother work and the father stay at home to take care of the children. (Pew Research)
  34. 53% of Americans say that mothers do a better job at parenting than fathers. Only 1% of Americans say that fathers are able to do a better job of parenting than mothers. (Pew Research)
  35. 70% of adults say it is equally important for a newborn to spend time bonding with their father and their mother. (Pew Research)

These are the facts as reported in the research done. Even though some of these numbers may be inflated where marital status may reflect absentee fathers the fathers may be very involved with their children. Even with this caveat, it is evident we have a high mountain to climb. Our current solution is obviously not working. The clarity of the research gives light to where we need to address our future attention.

Looking into the mirror we can all see the reflection of where the answer to our issues is derived from past lineage or experiences. As a young boy it was an ordinary phrase on the playground when one of your friends showed they may have liked someone of the opposite sex they would hear “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage.” This was used more as taunting someone in the 1950s and ’60s. When we fast track from those days to now we see the innocence of such a time has disappeared. It was a simple phrase but the sequence of love marriage and parenthood has been proven by research that is not the norm today. Forty percent of the children in the U.S. are born to unmarried mothers. Forty-three percent of children under the age of eighteen are living without fathers according to the U.S. Census. The expectation of a dad staying in the picture has become not the norm. When a dad is more likely to become part of a family unit when there is a marriage. Where there are cohabitating parents chances are increased three times, more likely to have a departing dad. These children may never even know their dad. From the National Fatherhood Initiative, forty percent of children who do not live with their father have not seen him in the last twelve months. Twenty-six percent of these fathers live in another state. The outcomes of an absent father produce volumes of resources on a simple Google search that clarifies the negative effects. There have been articles written and talk show hosts communicating with their followers about the devastating effects of absentee fathers in the home as being an epidemic. Our society has done a great job of monitoring and describing the outcomes of absentee fathers but very little has changed these outcomes by not addressing the systematic changes that would be necessary. Those that have experienced this phenomenon in most situations have ended up in punishment rather than self-improvement learning activities. While discovering most of us have learned how to be a parent by our own parents and those we associate with during our younger years of life. Absentee fathers in the U.S. has grown in actual numbers over the past fifty years. While pursuing the cause and effect of absentee fathers’ syndrome we see very clearly the cycle of a clear repetitive practice. What gets practiced gets done. This practice could be positive or negative. Measuring the ills of life often can be traced back to the family unit and the origins of how a child was raised. The cycle cannot be broken until children and our society understands being a deadbeat dad or a single mom is not the norm in our lives. There is enough evidence to prove the majority of those experiencing a life of crime, imprisonment, poverty, shorter life spans, drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, homelessness, school dropouts, poor health habits, lack of goal setting, unemployment, no transportation, lack of credit, no life skills, and most of all no spiritual connection or beliefs is the makeup of these dysfunctional families. Throughout my professional life, I have worked with people who exemplify high potential while facing all of these ills of their life. Our society separates our population into those of us who may not experience or understand how inflicted people are not oriented with a remedy of self-improvement but are withstanding punishment and segregation through limiting their resources for the ability to reduce the ever-present societal issues of absentee fathers creates in the U.S. Men of Bethany in America is a nonprofit organization that has dedicated itself to support and guide adult men and young men how to be better fathers, sons, husbands and becoming an authentic man. By having a lifelong experience of observing the epidemic of absentee fathers who have a high likelihood of becoming dead-beat fathers our organizational members have first-hand solutions to these ills of our society.

NEXTSTEP SOLUTIONS

The institution of fatherhood, marriage, children, and what constitutes the expectations of being a man have resulted in ongoing changes by the strengths and weaknesses of a society that was intimidated to actually embrace the positive effects of a present father in the lives of their children. Society has endured the effects of an absentee father but what would be the results of a society that embraces the need for self-improvement of the category of being a father.

As citizens, we experience categories of learning by culture, experience, and justice. The next steps are to consider the past, present, and potential future with the importance of parenthood.

First, it is important to concentrate on the fatherhood role. How have our past and present been a cause of the dysfunction of today’s world? Research and data have been an icon of light that paves the road to what has been lacking and what needs to happen. We will first start with our justice system for changes of self-improvement and not punishment.

Justice System Changes

It is well known a father has many duties and roles to play with his family and children. Our justice system has ignored the roles of a father and has focused on one specific duty. This duty is the role of being a breadwinner.

  • Alimony
  • Child Support
  • Parent Visitation
  • Custody

While we consider these resolutions to a dissolution of a marriage doesn’t correct the familial rights of children to have a father and mother experience constituting love, hope, accountability, leadership, spiritual and life success.

In contrast, our schools treat families with what it means to have a baby and how to nurture an infant with safety and health. Family roles of father and mother is a lifetime venture. Stages of parent influence exist continually with the relationships with sons or daughters.

Government Subsidy Support Programs.

As families are cast into categories of poor, homeless, and unemployed have been clients cast into a vast hard-to-define system of bureaucracy governed by the federal government has the purse strings of an investment that has a poor ROI. If taxpayers were to be considered entrepreneurs, they have a business that is bankrupt. Our system’s mission is not returning families to freedom but incarcerating to the dependence of acceptance of being poor or unemployed. Children who are born into welfare and poverty usually stay in welfare and poverty. Today, more people than ever before depend on the federal government for housing, food, and income. The true cost of welfare or aid to the poor is largely unknown because the spending is fragmented into programs. Current welfare is focused largely on increasing benefits and enrollments and redistributing income. Self-defeating behaviors that increase the need for assistance are rarely even mentioned. Policymakers should replace welfare’s current focus with a new set of interlinked goals: reducing self-defeating and self-limiting behaviors, increasing self-support, and improving true human well-being. Welfare reform should (1) require all able-bodied adult recipients to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid, (2) remove the substantial penalties against marriage within the welfare system, and (3) fund programs aimed at improving behavior on a payment-for- outcome basis rather than today’s fee-for-service basis. (Understanding the Hidden $1.1 Trillion Welfare System and How to Reform It April 5, 2018 Over an hour read
Authors: Robert Rector and Vijay Menon) The federal budget for Welfare is difficult to review because of the number of line items it consumes. Social Security and Medicare have single budget codes to review. Federal welfare spending is spread across 14 government departments and agencies, nine major budget functions, and 89 separate programs. As we traverse through the catacombs of verbiage and departments of our welfare system presents a glaring fact that it does not work.  It’s time to try policies that will actually strengthen families and create good jobs, better educational opportunities, and safer communities. It has been reported that the U.S. government spends over 10 trillion dollars on welfare each year. The title or name of this service is a misnomer when it should be the journey to no returns. Social workers, psychologists, probation officers, and regulatory systems are overwhelmed with duties and tasks that do not change lives but only report back into a system about redundant senseless rules for reporting. Caseloads are unrealistic so actual mentorship for changing behaviors is not realistic. So, what does the money go for? Normally, in any business, we would say look at the business plan and budget. Good luck with finding one budget or program cost that clarifies where the money is going.

Corvid 19

Corvid 19 opened our eyes to what was being taken for granted.   Educators in K-12 schools become the go-to institution to solve the issues of the low-income communities they work. It wasn’t long after quarantine became a must in our families and work it was discovered many of these students received their best meals each day at school. Schools began drive-by programs at the schools to help these young people eat appropriate food while they were in quarantine. Food drives were coordinated by schools for food donations. Online education was an alternative for young people in K-12 schools but in low-income homes there was no WIFI, internet, or computers. Welfare is not a way out but is a trap within a cycle of family members growing up and repeating the same behaviors over and over.

Gary R. Carlson Ed.D. Executive Director MOBIAÒ

“Mentors of Bethany Inspiring All”

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