I’ve read a few books in my time on being a man of God, or about teenage guys and how rites of passage etc need to be reformed. Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story in one sense is in a similar vein, but addresses the topic from the other end – starting with statistics and stories from a fatherless generation. For example, in America, children from fatherless homes account for:
- 63% of youth suicides
- 71% of pregnant teenagers
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions
- 85% of all youth who exhibit behavior disorders
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger
- 71% of all high school dropouts
- 75% of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers
- 85% of all youths sitting in prison
These are big and important statistics and in my experience will not very different in the UK. The best bit about John’s book is he doesn’t end with a bunch of negative stories and statistics that get us thinking but could potentially just leave us overwhelmed at the size of the problem; instead he goes on to look at the value of mentoring. He shares some of his life story explaining how two mentors gave him hope in a hopeless situation and then goes on to share a vision for churches training and resourcing mentors to work with young people (especially young guys) who have a father missing. It’s inspiring and encouraging.
In my work at Tonbridge Baptist Church we’ve been doing this for a number of years with some of our young people and it truly does see results – they love the consistency and care that our mentors show and it helps take them further. If you aren’t involved in this area of work do think about how you could be – whilst it’s hard work it’s also very rewarding work.
I read this as part of the “Fatherless Generation Blog Tour”.