A hidden hurt

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If you could have lunch with any person living or dead, who would it be?

Nelson Mandela? Barack Obama? Maybe even Jesus of Nazareth?

When that question was posed to a group of boys enrolled in a local gang-prevention program, the most common answer given was, “my father.”

I learned that factoid last week while visiting with staffers who run the Gang Alternative Principals (GAP) program in West Charlotte. (Full disclosure: My wife is director of the nonprofit that created GAP.)

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised by that survey result.

Of all the celebrities, athletes and notable names in history, many of the boys actually chose their absent fathers as the persons with whom they would most like to share a simple meal…and presumably converse.

The weight of that fact and all it implies is monumental.

The GAP counselors said one of the things they’ve had to teach the boys was how to tie a necktie… a lesson I got from my father when I was maybe 10 or 12.

My time at GAP helped crystallize, as few thing have, just how much damage we do to our sons when we walk out on them.

God, forgive us for the pain we have caused.


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User Comments (3 Responses)
posted by

Mar 18, 2013 at 8:11 PM

WOW...so sad.
Wake up dads. You can't be a man unless you are a father to your children.

posted by
Common Sense

Mar 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

A few inputs before my comment/opinion.

1. You can be a MAN and still not be a father, contrary to what anyone says or believes.

2. The mother of a son, should always try and stay with the father, unless he is violent, or straying.

Most Fathers know the impact they are missing by not being in their son's lives. If anyone thinks they don't, well they are lying to themselves. Fathers always want to be in their son's life, but for many reasons that are VALID they are not. Only a few MEN don't truly want contact with their son's and I mean probably less than one percent.

Black children male and female are always better off when their is a Father in the household. I believe that a single parent black home without a father living there, is a "homeless - home." That's the importance of a having a Father in the black home.

posted by
Kathy Stutts

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Oh my, this should open the eyes of so many of us who never really take time to consider the thoughts of the children of single parent homes and what the real longings for in their hearts and minds. One does need to question should there be educational classes setting aside time for so many young girls who are wanting children all knowing there will not be a father figure in their children's lives. It is as equally important to instill in the minds of the young men the end results of his participation in the sexual behavior and the responsibilities he should assume should he father a child. It does bring about a new direction or guidance in schools teaching the classes of sexual behavior safety along with abstinence which obviously is not always taken seriously enough into consideration many times.

The survey results certainly surprise me and truly saddens me, as well. Having worked with so many of these children throughout the years in Bible School programs and camps for less fortunate children and, yet, never knowing the true desires of their hearts. It does bring to my mind Michael Smith's song, "Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord", in that we all should open our eyes more in the worlds of children without father figures wherever our speculations may lead.

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