Last weekend in Moquetito, Gualaneno, and Matamoros preceeded this weekend at Tulakes in Oklahoma City. Hundreds of backpacks were given out. Thousands of pencils, paper, crayons and other supplies dropped into the hand of kids. Incredible people came together to help. Sacrifice after sacrifice is made to help. Every child will return to poverty and hunger.
They will smile for a day. With pride they will remember as they go to school as scheduled. A little higher step will accompany them as they walk in with a new backpack. And they will return to knawing hunger for more. What is missing?
Fathers don’t fit in backpacks. In every neighborhood and city, fathers are missing. My mind wanders through the myriads of kids anf families that have walked in front of the teams. Many times I step back and count. 400 kids and seven fathers. 150 kids and three fathers. 50 kids and no fathers. They don’t fit in backpacks.
An unfathered child is twice as likely to drop out and ten times as likely to be extremely poor. Suicide, early sexual activity, behavior disorder, and jail will statistically pursue her into adulthood.
Even if he is lucky enough to be one of the 60% with a father living in the home, chances of a healthy, involved, caring, engaged dad diminish as he gains age. By 18 the majority have lived a few years unfathered.
60% of men admit to extramarital affairs and the family drift builds. 40% of men on the road own up to buying sex while away from home. Drift, dabble, and disaster dwarf health and emotional stability.
Fathers don’t fit in backpacks. I wish they did. I wish I could give each child her backpack with a Dad in the main pocket. He can bring better grades, higher achievement, strengthening play and greater chances for any child.
In every place I listened as men asked for father training. J talked about his disturbed stepson. His eyes watered as he asked when our next Dad’s University would come to his neighbborhood. In Mexico Los Secretos on fathering books were treated like treasure. P looked at me and broke into weeping. Many are holding up the banner in tough circumstance just needing encouragement and training.
Thanks to all the men in each of these neighborhoods who are holding ground. Thanks to over 50 men at Tabitha who made public commitments to family Thanks to Raul, Maricioz, Abdiel, Luke, Robb, Eugene, Brandon and others who sacificed big to encourage. Thanks to the men of the Loving Lyrewood churches who made some child’s day at Tulakes. Thanks, Jerry and Bobbie for your service yesterday. I wish you fit in a backpack and you could go home with a kid. Know that your smile and example will do just that.
Let’s keep pressing.