It is almost common knowledge that 72 percent of black children now grow up in homes without a father. Furthermore, despite the incredibly low graduation standards public schools have today, nearly 50 percent of black males drop out of school. Of course, black children are not alone in the disaster liberals have created by replacing a father’s hard-earned income, unconditional love, and stern discipline with government handouts, bleeding-heart psychobabble, and a child’s deep self-reflection.
Last week, a white female teenager took a shovel to the head during a backyard scuffle in Ohio. The incident left the 18-year-old girl deaf in one ear. Apparently, the altercation stemmed from a social media feud with a 15-year-old stranger. Sadly, it comes as no surprise that the 18-year-old unemployed girl never graduated high school and lives with her pregnant and single mom, along with two other fatherless siblings.
My personal experience teaching and mentoring teenagers has given me a much closer perspective than I often wish I had of the depressing statistics I have noted. Many of the teenagers I have worked with do not even know who their fathers are. Thankfully, some of those kids have step-fathers in their lives, but the hurt, anger, and confusion the kids feel towards the fathers who rejected them lurks just under the surface of what others see.
Four months ago, one of my former wrestlers turned wannabe gang member was arrested for a shocking crime that made the national headlines. The gang-related shooting wounded three teenage victims, as well as a twelve-year-old boy who was shot through the eye.
Exactly one week before the shooting, the 17-year-old former wrestler tried to contact me. I still have his message. I responded the following day, but he never followed up with me. Needless to say, I was stunned by the news that the boy I know had been arrested for the grisly shooting.
Like so many dysfunctional teenagers, this boy did not have a steady father in his life. The whereabouts of his mother are sketchy, too. As a result, his grandparents had to raise him, but his emotional problems proved to be too much for them to handle.
At the time of the shooting, which took place in his grandparents’ neighborhood, the boy was frequently staying with a friend from another neighborhood known to be associated with a rival gang to the gang operating in his grandparents’ neighborhood.
Despite numerous coaches who attempted to help this boy, he showed little respect for anyone. By the time he reached middle school, he already had so many emotional problems that the discipline coaches tried to instill dissipated the instant he was on his own. Unfortunately, a similar attitude permeates among other fatherless children.
As for his victims, the obvious question has been avoided there, too. Where are their fathers? Absent a father to speak on behalf of the 13 year old, the victim’s mother gave an interview to dispel rumors that her son is associated with a gang. She stated firmly that the boy is not a gang member.
Naturally, no mother wants her child to be a thug, but unfortunately, many single mothers are in denial about their children’s gang involvement. The thirteen year old’s social media contradicts his mother’s statement, as he posted pictures of his gunshot wounds; warned about being caught “slipping”; vowed to continue “thugging”; and solicited volunteers to seek revenge. Such parent-child conflicts are normal according to defense attorneys and police officers.
In fact, in the more notorious story involving Trayvon Martin, the teen’s social media provided a window into Martin’s life that his supporters across the nation still refuse to accept and expect everyone else to ignore. Furthermore, the involvement of Martin’s father in his son’s life is also still unclear. According to Martin’s aunt, Trayvon did not live with his mother or his father, but with his uncle. I know many kids in similar situations whose fathers are around, but are not committed to the teens’ lives.
On the other hand, the children whose fathers are devoted to their lives still face the perils of the streets. The statistics alone demonstrate the difference involved fathers make. However, personal experience adds an element statistics cannot reveal.