I read Patrick Morley’s post in 2011 at Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership blog. He says “Everyone knows we have a “men problem.” You can hear about it on CNN, read about it in the New York Times, and watch the destruction it creates on Dr. Phil.
The stats are jarring. For example, 80 percent of men are so emotionally impaired that not only are they unable to express their feelings, but they can’t even identify their feelings. The collateral damage is staggering. One-third of America’s 72 million children will go to bed tonight in a home without a biological dad. The message was moving to me then, and I have been reflecting on it again.
“But perhaps the greatest cost to the physical absence of dads is the practical absence of moms. Essentially, one person must now do the work of two. A young woman said, ‘When my mom and dad divorced, I didn’t just lose my dad. I lost my mom, too, because she had to work long hours to support us.'”
It made me reflect on some of the ministries I have pursued over the past ten years, because of my observation that there are few male role models in Sunday School classes for young children and tweens, for instance. That led me to teach 4th and 5th graders and to help with Junior Church. It led me to work on Parent’s Night Out and to help design the Seder Meal day in our worship. It led me to learn how to work with bigger varieties of youth and to “just be out there, praising God publicly.” I think I have not been as effective in this role this past year as I was in earlier years. As I have worked more in some mission work this past year, I lost some of the contacts I had with young people. I have tried to model faith and to be a good mentor, but I’m not too sure I was obvious enough!
Morley observes that we have many ministries and social programs that deal with the consequences of men failing—teenage crisis pregnancy centers, prison ministries, and rehab programs, for instance. Truly we will always need pregnancy centers and prison ministries. Unfortunately! Morey asks, “wouldn’t it be great if we could go upstream and devote some resources to help men get it right before there were “babies in the river?” Cancer treatments are essential, but how much better to prevent cancer in the first place?”
Like Morely, I am still thankful for the models and mentors who helped me over the years–men like Tom Brown and Gerry Cheske. But I wonder if a program like Morely envisions would make a difference. I am inclined to believe it will.
I’m hopeful, that my group at First Church —Learners Leaders and Relationships–may make a difference too–with young and old leaders–as we develop relationships like the one between Timothy and Paul. I am working to reconfigure this program in 2012, and pray that it will involve more youth than ever.