The result of this implosion of intact families has been absolutely catastrophic on society, particularly on boys. A recent study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies found stark disparities among fatherless boys compared to their peers with fathers in college graduation (14% versus 35%), idleness at ages 25-29 (defined as not working and not looking for work—19% versus 11%), and who have been incarcerated by ages 15-19 (31% versus 21%) and ages 28-34 (21% versus 10%).
Common sense tells us why this is the case. As Adam B. Coleman has astutely observed, involved fathers provide critical guidance to their sons in a host of ways. In particular, they offer:
- “a blueprint for manhood”;
- “a source of protection” and a “source of security” from the outside world;
- “a builder of confidence and a teacher for how to regulate your emotions in stressful situations”; and
- “the son’s purpose compass as he helps guide him throughout the trials of adolescence towards purposeful adulthood.”
This fatherly nurturing is especially critical during a boy’s childhood and as they approach the teen years. As Family Research Council’s senior research fellow George Barna has written, “Because a worldview is fully developed before the age of 13, young children listen to and watch their parents for clues on how to live an appropriate and successful life.”