It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of a busy Thanksgiving and forget that we gather for a simple and sacred purpose -- to say thanks.
For many people, “family” leads the list of things they’re thankful for. And with good reason. For all their faults and foibles, our family members bring us so much enduring happiness and inspire so many happy memories that it’s hard to imagine life without them.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much imagination for some people, especially those steeped in poverty. That often means children whose fathers are absent.
According to Heritage Foundation researcher Robert Rector, nearly 80 percent of long-term child poverty occurs in broken or never-married families. “Each year government spends over $200 billion on means-tested aid to families with children; three-quarters of this aid flows to single-parent families,” Rector testified before Congress last February. “Children raised without a father in the home are more likely to experience: emotional and behavioral problems, school failure, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and incarceration.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. Men’s hearts are not cut from stone. Groups determined to improve their communities can reach out and help them understand that God has a plan for them. I’d like to profile one such group -- BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny -- and suggest that we say an extra prayer this Thanksgiving for those who not only appreciate their own families but help other families as well.
BOND has been pursuing its mission -- Rebuilding the Family by Rebuilding the Man” -- since 1990. Founded by the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the group focused at first on helping black men “come back to God and character,” in the words of BOND spokesman Patrick Rooney. “But due to the success we were having, men and women of all races began coming to us for help, and so we expanded the scope of our work to include everybody but have still kept our focus on helping the black man and young people.”
BOND does this by providing: