Of all the challenges that face our society, one seems to resonate more loudly than some others in the ears and hearts of millions. It is the pandemic of fatherlessness in our culture. Producing a child is not nearly the same thing as being a father. It’s a really common refrain among men with whom I study the Bible or members of our community of faith. My dad left or wasn’t emotionally available, or was abusive, or didn’t express warmth are things I hear all the time.
As a dad myself, I’m saddened by this state of affairs, aware of how far I fall short as a father, and convinced that selfishness is at the root of the problem. As this issue is addressed, it’s tempting paint everybody with one brush, thereby not acknowledging the countless number of men that are great and devoted fathers. I want to mention two great examples.
Jason Hill and Jerry Gaona are both happily married men and great dads to their children. What sets them apart is that they have taken it upon themselves to fulfill that role in the lives of young men and women whose dads aren’t in their lives. Jason (pictured with his daughter Anna) leads a group called Young Warriors and volunteers untold hours to being there for a group of young and teenage boys whose fathers aren’t there for them the same way his father wasn’t there for him. Jerry (pictured with Lexo, Erica, Mackie, and Kiara) recently took these incredible teen girls to our annual Father Daughter Dance. Seeing Jerry and all of them dancing and having the time of their lives brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Despite the state of fatherlessness in the world there are people fighting for what’s right and doing good among us. To Jason, Jerry and others like them, thank you and God bless!