Alexander's Column

Who Needs a Father?

'It Takes a Village' to Raise a Child? Really?

By Mark Alexander · Jun. 16, 2011
“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.” –James Wilson

In 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton published “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” in which she asserted that organizations outside the family could meet the needs of children, and that society, her euphemism for “government,” has an obligation to meet those needs.

Part of Clinton’s thesis was correct in that millions of children are victimized when their parents do not fulfill parental obligations. Unfortunately, the rest of her thesis suggests that parenthood can be outsourced.

Some 15 years later, Barack Hussein Obama and his socialist cadres are fast-tracking the redefinition of “marriage and family,” which, in effect, perpetuates the neglect of children, thus necessitating institutional solutions.

Not surprisingly, the Left’s primary mode for indoctrinating neglected children with the “village model” is government schools. “The education of all children,” as Karl Marx wrote, “from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions at state expense.” (Note: He never even mentioned the “father’s care.”) Marx’s disciple, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, concurred: “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

Obama understands that to “fundamentally transform America” into a socialist state, the Left must successfully destabilize the three pillars of Essential Liberty: Individual Liberty, Economic Liberty and Constitutional Liberty.

Founder James Wilson once described an indispensable common denominator supporting each of these pillars: “[T]hat important and respectable, though small and sometimes neglected establishment, which is denominated a family … the principle of the community; it is that seminary, on which the commonwealth … must ultimately depend.”

If the pillars of Essential Liberty, which have suffered much degradation in recent decades, are to be strengthened, then the place to start is within our families, and most particularly with fathers.

Marriage is the foundation for the family, which in turn, serves as the foundation for a free society. This principle is especially embodied in the spirit of natural law upon which our Republic is founded.

In 295 B.C., Mencius wrote, “The root of the kingdom is in the state. The root of the state is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its head.”

When fathers do not take on their parental responsibilities, broken marriages and families are the result. These, in turn, lead to broken societies.

Thus, the failure of fatherhood has much more than mere social or cultural consequences; it is a menacing national security threat. The collective social pathology of the fatherless presents a great obstacle to Liberty and the survival of our republican form of government as outlined by our Constitution.

Father’s Day should thus be a call to action. Indeed, the majority of social entropy afflicting our nation today originates in homes without fathers, which definition includes those without functioning or effective fathers.

Currently, almost 60 percent of black children, 32 percent of Hispanic children and 21 percent of white children live in single-parent homes. (See Bill Cosby’s “Truth about Black America.”) According to the CDC, DoJ, DHHS and the Bureau of the Census, children who live apart from their fathers account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children. (When these children become “adults,” the social consequences become even worse.)

Generationally, daughters who have been abandoned by their fathers are seven times more likely to have children as teenagers and 92 percent more likely to divorce.

A successful fatherhood begins with a healthy marriage. To be good fathers, we must first be good husbands.

I have been blessed with many mentors, including Dr. Jim Lee, director of Living Free ministries. Jim taught me that the Christian marriage paradigm is built on a foundation of five principles: “First, God is the creator of the marriage relationship; second, heterosexuality is God’s pattern for marriage; third, monogamy is God’s design for marriage; fourth, God’s plan for marriage is for physical and spiritual unity; and fifth, marriage was designed to be permanent.”

Concern about marital infidelity and the consequences for children are timeless. John Adams wrote in his diary on 2 June 1778, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families. … How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”

I note here that while most fatherless homes are the result of neglect on the part of fathers, an increasing number of fatherless homes result from mothers who separate without reasonable grounds from the fathers of their children.

Fortunately, some young people reared by a single parent, or in critically dysfunctional or impoverished homes, overcame that impediment. Either they were blessed with a parent who, against all but insurmountable odds, instilled them with the values and virtues of good citizenship or, somewhere along the way, those children were lifted out of their misery by some other grace of God – often in the form of a significant mentor who modeled individual responsibility and good character.

However, the vast majority of children from homes without fathers are not so fortunate, as statistically confirmed above.

Of course, some fatherless children successfully fill the “daddy deficit” by becoming overachievers in the corporate, political or sports arenas, and not usually in a Rule of Law way. A textbook case study would be Barry Obama.

On the official White House website, the bio for Obama claims, “His story is the American story – values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family…” While this is certainly the image Obama would like to project, it is most certainly not accurate. Like so many Leftists, his roots are shallow and broken, and they are in no way a reflection of “values from the heartland.”

In effect, Obama is the consummate poster child for the consequences of fatherlessness. Though his pathological narcissism has driven him to the most powerful political post on the planet, the phony façade of “a middle-class upbringing” has all but worn away.

The fate of fatherless children like Obama is, at best, a broken heart. At worst, it is the root cause of contemporary American social entropy. It is also the greatest threat to Essential Liberty as established by natural law, because, I would argue, it is directly linked to the broken faith of the fatherless. Broken trust with earthly fathers often results in a lack of trust in our Heavenly Father, our Creator.

On this Father’s Day, let us pay tribute to the irreplaceable and inseparable institutions of marriage and fatherhood – and the importance of a father’s love, discipline, provision and protection for his family. Every day of the year, let those of us who are fathers encourage other fathers to be accountable for their marriages and children. Let us seek to mentor the fatherless by volunteering leadership through our places of worship, youth groups, scouting, coaching, tutoring, or working through inner-city ministries with high-risk kids, to name just a few.

As for me, I was blessed with a loving and dependable father, who I profiled a couple years ago in a Memorial Day essay, “The Class of ‘44.” By extension, it is a privilege beyond all others to be a husband to Ann and father of three. Indeed, no reward could be greater than the close relationship I enjoy with my children, and to see their steady progress as Patriots-in-training – as responsible young citizens committed to carrying forward the flame of Liberty.

Above all, the greatest inheritance I hope to leave my children is not material, but spiritual.

(For excellent information on fatherhood and parenting, visit the resource and research sections of First Things First, an outstanding organization under the leadership of my friend Julie Baumgardner. There are very good national fathering initiatives like Tony Dungy’s All Pro Dad. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family has great resources, as does the National Center for Fathering and the National Fatherhood Initiative.)

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55 Comments

Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

What better justification of the truth of this article is the disfunctional family Mr. Obama grew up in.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Jolynn said:

What a wonderful essay!! I had a wonderful caring father and mother. They are both gone now, but their care and attention to my up-bringing has helped me grately in the rearing of my own children.Thank you for a great publication. I have sent it to many of my friends and they subscribe to it also.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Jim Foy said:

In connection with the Lenin quote ("Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted,") there's an interesting chapter in Mark Sullivan's series "Our Times" from 1935, detailing the positive effect the McGuffey Readers had on several generations of children in America. It's well worth researching.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:19 PM

The Editor replied:

Jim, I bought a set of McGuffey's for my kids when they were younger. It was not officially used after about 1940, but tens of thousands of copies are still sold to parents every year.

Lisa in MD said:

I would like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there that read the PatriotPost. I for one grew up with a very loving father, who now that he is older and cannot live on his own is now living with me. I am a single mother with one grown daugher and a younger son, both have different fathers. I think what has helped me raise my kids to be good caring citizens is my faith in God and a very close family. Good essay Mark.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Jack R., LCDR, USNR (ret.) said:

This is far and away the most concise and accurate description of what fatherhood should be all about that I have seen in a long time. My wife of nearly 47 years and I are blessed to have 3 adult children and 8 grandchildren -- all of whom live just 3 miles from us. It is a daily privilege and honor to both observe and help them pass on the legacy (that my wife and I received from our parents)of faith, family, and freedom. All of us have a moral obligation to our God and to our Country to teach these values to the next generation and to emulate them in our lives.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Frances said:

The photo of the infant's hand in the protection of his father's hand says it all. Powerful!

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Jayve in ABQ, NM said:

Excellent essay Mark!! Happy Fathers Day dads! As a father of 3 very little ones I must say that this essay really hit home for me. From time to time I can tend to neglegt my marriage for selfish reasons and I must say it does impact my family as a whole when I behave that way. It is not fair to my wife or my children. I have had to do alot of growing up very recently and this article opened my eyes even more of the importance of my role in my household. More than anything I want my marriage to survive the years and have my children experience the wonder of a loving, stable home, just as I received as a child. Thanks again Mark, this article really did work wonders for me!

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Luis Stecca said:

Rumor has it that Obama will dump Joe Biden and enlist Hillary Clinton as his running mate for the 2012 election... This makes perfect sense in the land of Obama for many reasons...As disastrous as the last 30 months have been, America simply could not survive 4 years of an Obama/Clinton administration...The question is - Are there more Americans who believe in freedom & liberty, or are most Americanscontent to exist with a government-provided chicken in every pot ?We will find out in November of next year

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:15 PM

RedBaker in Florida said:

The statistics on the socio-pathology of children who live apart from their fathers are stunning and terrible. Mark, I wish you'd publish the links to those items.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Don Beck said:

I found this to be quite alarming with interesting facts. All of us who love our children and with a sincere concern for all children, brotherly love, God and ultimately the future of mankind should read this article and truly ponder what is going on in our public schools and country today. From what is revealed it is imperative that we all get involved and not sit idly by any longer while many of our elected officials and liberal judges destroy the life that God has intended for man from the very beginning. "We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people" and this changes not, unless we do nothing by electing wrong people. As President Lincoln stated in his all famous Gettysburg Address....."this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." It is up to the People to see that this does not perish. The 'Light' is getting dimmer and dimmer and soon will not shine at all if we the people do not wake up and Let our 'Light' shine brightly again for all to see and find their way. We the People are on the verge of loosing our grip on Our government and its leaders, the power of their position has gone to their heads, resulting to a lack of integrity, responsibility to duty, and honor of office. Today politician's think all they need to do is raise a Billion dollars to run a political campaign (without regard for honesty or integrity) and they are assured the office of power of their choice. This need not be the case as the Power is with the (Informed) People. We the People Must hold them accountable through elections, Unlike what we have been witness to of recent by the encouragement and promotion of protestors and uncivil demonstrations around this country by this White House, Big Unions and far left wing liberal organizations, including the democratic party when things are not going their way. Even to the point of overturning election outcomes, the voters choices through legal ballot elections by liberal judges thereby disenfranchising voters, as well as using the court system to undermine and limit the decisions of Governors and their right to govern when it affects the Big Unions and responsible fiscal budget spending.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Fred Campbell said:

Well spoken.Thank you for reminding us of these eternal truths.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Proud Parent said:

When Hillary's book It "Takes a village" came out I did not read it and I still don't feel I have lost a thing. I do agree that everyone in a village influences the way a child views the world and influences his/her attitude. That is precisely why I came to the conclusion that I do not want Hillary or her compatriots anywhere near my village because of the BAD influence they would have on normal child rearing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Susan H. said:

Excellent essay, as usual Mark. It is unfortunate that many of this country's dads are several thousand miles from home, working to keep this republic safe for future generations. God bless our military, and happy Fathers Day to those who will miss being with their families because they value freedom and liberty more than their own comfort. We can never forget that freedom is not free.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Ragweed in West Virginia said:

Mark,I have two grandsons who are now fatherless and I am trying to fill in as best I can. I pray every day that God will give each of my seven grandchildren wisdom beyond their years so they will make the right decisions in their lives. Unless some drastic changes occur they will surely need it.Lest we become too caustic, Scripture teaches us to pray for our leaders, and I pray for our representatives, our senators and our president often. Scripture also tells us to pray for those who despitefully use us. Unfortunately, in this day and age, one prayer catches both groups easily. But what better way to cause change than through prayer.I read "The Class of '44" again, and it was certainly a tear on the heart. It would have been easy to skip the "boring" paragraph with the names of those who died in their service, but instead, I slowly read each and every name. As I did I tried to imagine just how many people were affected by the death of that person. There was, indeed, great sacrifice! They were true patriots. Please give my thanks to your Dad for his service and his sacrifice. As a baby-boomer I can only half imagine what his life was like. My four years in the United States Coast Guard during the 60s - 70s was only time spent with little sacrifice. Those who served in Nam can surely get the picture. However, most baby-boomers and later ons can only try to imagine the horror of war. May God bless your Dad and those like him, and may you have him for several more good years.Semper Paratus

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

The Editor replied:

Stand in the gap, fellow Patriot. The true spirit of Patriotism begins at home, and there is no more important task for any Patriot than being, first and foremost, a good husband and father. That goes double for you, trying to fill in where someone else has stepped out of line. Bless you brother!

Ol' Tex said:

I agree 200% that ALL kids need a Father. However, I hope this does not encourage those 'two father' homes to go out and adopt.! Kids need ONE OF EACH, if at all possible. Two fathers or two mothers cannot provide the input the children need to become successful members of society. A father does not have ALL the answers to questions that inevitably crop up during the formative years, and a Mother likewise does not have ALL the answers a young lad might ask. IT TAKES ONE OF EACH.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 2:44 PM