Note: I cannot find the citation for this text. It speaks to the issues that I see everywhere I turn. Good fathers are hard come by. It doesn’t take a very long conversation for me to suspect that a man had a good father. There is a subtle solid confidence in him that those who had no dad just do not. A lot of the problems we deplore in Memphis or the US grow from boys who need a dad.
Life for most boys and for many grown men then is a frustrating search for the lost father who has not yet offered protection, provision, nurturing, modeling, or, especially, anointment. All those tough guys who want to scare the world into seeing them as men and who fill up the jails; all whose men who don’t know how to be a man with a woman and who fill up the divorce courts; all those corporate raiders who want more in hopes that more will make them feel better; and all those masculopathic philanderers, contenders, and controllers–all of them are suffering from Father Hunger.
They go through their adolescent rituals day after day for a lifetime, waiting for a father to anoint them and treat them as good enough to be considered a man. They call attention to their pain, getting into trouble, getting hurt, doing things that are bad for them, as if they are calling for a father to come take them in hand and straighten them out or at least tell them how a grown man would handle the pain.
They compete with other boys who don’t get close enough to let them see their shame over not feeling like men, over not having been anointed, and so they don’t know that the other boys feel the same way.
In a scant 200 years–in some families in a scant two generations–we’ve gone from a toxic overdose of fathering to a fatal deficiency. It’s not that we have too much mother but too little father.
So many males in this society lack a father. In many cases, mothers are doing the best they can to get their boy the fathering he needs. Gangs are groups of young men trying to rear each other and you may have noticed they are not doing a very good job. Others have a father in the house but they rarely see him as he works hard to give them the life he wants for them.
There is a lot of work to be done. Every man who reaches maturity with some success has a responsibility to mentor younger men. It is rewarding and it is desperately needed.