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Fatherhood – Respect - Street Violence– Teen Pregnancy - Obesity

As violence and teen pregnancy have become plagues in both urban and rural America, I thought that as  Father's Day approaches, this would be a great time to explore the connections between the male's role in the family and without them, the loss of peace and prosperity, and possibly even the increase of obesity in our communities.

To me it is a no-brainer that boys who grew up without respecting a father have absolutely no concept about what real “respect” is and how it is achieved, no reference point. To boys who have never been supported and loved by a father or other supportive man real “respect” is a phantom.

I always say that any man who had a supportive and visible father in his life cannot judge the errant erratic behavior of men who have not, and that belief is based on the fact that many boys have never respected a man for taking care of them, have never experienced the “feeling” of  real “respect”. They have no idea of what real “respect” is, so when they address the universal need for a man to feel respected, they end up using violence, because the only respect they understand is fear, the deference you give someone because of what they can do to you.

So while those of us who had good male leadership naturally pursue our respect through accomplishment, having an impact or the pride of what we do for our families, the man who grew up without experiencing respect for a man, only understands violence and seeks to be feared for what he can do to someone, his limited and distorted concept of “respect”. Add the preponderance of weapons funded by the addicts that bring their money to the streets and the franchise wars for street corners to do the business and the internal anger over their abandonment by their fathers... The overwhelming percentage of the perpetrators of street violence are un-fathered boys, who were not motivated to achieve manhood by developing the capacity to provide for their children. Leading boys to see responsibility and fatherhood as their path to “man swag” may be the only way to stop the violence.

Less discussed is the impact of fathers on teenage pregnancy where it is also the most significant factor. Girls who have caring supportive fathers in their lives are not starved for male love and attention, and have a very clear standard to measure other men. Un-fathered girls and women will “give it up”, particularily to older boys and men when stimulated by any attention and affection from an older male. I believe that mega churchs filled with full grown often very successful well educated but generally un-fathered women are another symptom of their yearning for a male authority figure in their lives, often the church politics being who gets the closest connection to the man in the pulpit.

So fatherhood is essential if little boys and later on as men are to pursue respect through achievement, rather than violence and little girls loved by a father have higher self esteem and don't “need” a man until one comes along that measures up to her daddy, and then she will fall in love, and demand a commitment if her father was married to her mother..

The term “comfort food” says it all in terms of the impact of fatherhood on the obesity problem. There is no argument among experts that one of the pathologies involved in overeating is trying to fill an emotional need with food. Never having been loved and supported by a father creates a deep emotional void. Obesity is often related to poverty but poverty is also the primary landing place for un-fathered children, the main factor in cyclical poverty.

So I hope we may be willing to admit that supportive fathers are essential to creating a peaceful, prosperous and more healthy community. Understanding that, hopefully we will begin to shape public policy to provide paths to productivity for men at any age and stage in life rather than the mean spirited and dismissive policies against men that have created this situation, like forcing men to vacate the home before the family receives assistance.

To all those fathers who are leading and loving their children, I thank God for each and every one of you. They and society in general owe each of you a debt of gratitude for your struggles and commitment, to your children and the peace and prosperity you create just by being a daddy.


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