How to Make Difference
In my lifetime I have been very compassionate about education and its value to our youth and adults. So much has been written about the benefits and the statistics to bear this out. My dedication has not varied on this premiss during my fifty years of continued engagement in the philosophy of the necessity of our society to be well educated.
After leaving ITT my path continued to serve colleges through consulting schools on improving student retention, faculty performance, compliance, college board assistance, student success, school administration and curriculum development. During the last nine years I have had the privilege to serve over two hundred colleges. Three years ago my life gave me a new additional mission in life. It was parallel to my education efforts of the past but it was a clear direction focused on families and youth. During these years a small group of men began to assemble a new curriculum for young men and adult men who had experienced an absentee father. My first teaching experience in 1967 was in a county jail for young men age 13 to 18. These young men were mingled with youth who had committed crimes to others who had been at the hand of abuse. I often worked until 11 pm at night. My drive home couldn’t come to grips with why these young people didn’t seems to have a chance in society. Looking at what existed fifty-two years ago has only gotten worse. Our solutions to these problems by increasing the size of prisons and supplementing finances to the afflicted. We are still looking at increasing prison sizes and our welfare dollars are increasing.
I am pleased to tell you there is an answer. Again, it is a reflection on education. The cycle of increased crime, addiction, alcoholism, abuse and poverty can be broken. The cycle is our willingness to engage in the cognizance of the people closest to the ones who experience this blight of life.
In the last three years a small group of men began to dedicate themselves to break the cycle. Their journey took them to open door missions, jails, alternative high schools, churches and neighborhoods to address dysfunctional families and absentee fathers. Their hard work and dedication has opened an opportunity to change our path of a cycle that has existed for half a century. Two hundred men a week from all ages come to weekly meetings to understand what a good father, husband, and authentic man would mean. Absentee father syndrome exists in America. The U.S. Census Bureau reports there are 19.7 million youth without a present father. What does this mean for the American society?
Our three years of service has changed the lives of many of our men. I would encourage you to visit the website of Breaking the cycle!
After clicking on the tab with testimonials help us grow this program nation wide. We are putting absentee fathers into a better understanding of what a good father and husband means to the family unit.
Go to the Donations button on the site and become part of breaking the cycle.
Every donation of any amount will help us continue to spread the news through our volunteer mentors.
1. 23.6% of US children (17.4 million) lived in father absent homes in 2014.
[US Census Bureau, 2015] Living arrangements of children under 18 years and marital status of parents, by age, sex, race, and hispanic origin and selected characteristics of the child for all children: 2014. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.
2. In 2011, children living in female-headed homes with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%. This is over four times the rate for children living in married couple families.
[Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2012). Information on poverty and income statistics: A summary of 2012 current population survey data. Retrieved from: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/12/PovertyAndIncomeEst/ib.cfm%5D
3. A study of 1,397,801 infants in Florida evaluated how a lack of father involvement impacts infant mortality. A lack of father involvement was linked to earlier births as well as lower birth weights. Researchers also found that father absence increases the risk of infant mortality, and that the mortality rate for infants within the first 28 days of life is four times higher for those with absent fathers than those with involved fathers. Paternal absence is also found to increase black/white infant mortality almost four-fold.
[Source: Alio, A. P., Mbah, A. K., Kornosky, J. L., Wathington, D., Marty, P. J., & Salihu, H. M. (2011). Assessing the impact of paternal involvement on Racial/Ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates. Journal of Community Health, 36(1), 63-68.]
4. A study of 263 13- to 18-year-old adolescent women seeking psychological services found that the adolescents from father-absent homes were 3.5 times more likely to experience pregnancy than were adolescents from father-present homes. Moreover, the rate of pregnancy among adolescents from father absent homes was 17.4% compared to a four (4) percent rate in the general adolescent population.
[Source: Lang, D. L., Rieckmann, T., DiClemente, R. J., Crosby, R. A., Brown, L. K., & Donenberg, G. R. (2013). Multi-level factors associated with pregnancy among urban adolescent women seeking psychological services. Journal of Urban Health, 90, 212-223.]
5. A study of 1,618 Latina high school students found that lower perceived father support is a predictor of suicidal ideation and behavior.
[Source: De Luca, S. M., Wyman, P., & Warren, K. (2012). Latina adolescent suicide ideations and attempts: Associations with connectedness to parents, peers, and teachers. Suicide and Life-Threat Behavior, 42, 672-683.]
6. Disengaged and remote interactions of fathers with infants is a predictor of early behavior problems in children and can lead to externalizing behaviors in children as early as age 1.
[Source: Ramchandani, P. G., Domoney, J., Sethna, V., Psychogiou, L., Vlachos, H. and Murray, L. (2013). Do early father–infant interactions predict the onset of externalising behaviours in young children? Findings from a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 56–64.]
7. Researchers using secondary data from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research examined gun carrying and drug trafficking in young men, linking father absence to the likelihood of engaging in these behaviors. Results from a sample of 835 juvenile male inmates found that father absence was the only disadvantage on the individual level with significant effects on gun carrying, drug trafficking, and co-occurring behavior. Individuals from father absent homes were found to be 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
[Source: Allen, A. N., & Lo, C. C. (2012). Drugs, guns, and disadvantaged youths: Co-occurring behavior and the code of the street. Crime & Delinquency, 58(6), 932-953.]
8. A study of the relationship between father absence and lower educational attainment for African American females found that a longer duration of father absence is a predictive factor for lower educational success. Researchers discovered that longer duration of father absence often leads to lower income and family economic stress, which puts young women at risk for lower educational achievement.
[Source: Gillette, M. T., & Gudmunson, C. G. (2014). Processes linking father absence to educational attainment among African American females. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(2), 309-321.]
9. Children with negative attitudes about school and their teachers experienced avoidance and ambivalence with their fathers. On the other hand, children with a secure attachment to their father and whose father was involved had a higher academic self-concept. The father-child attachment was more associated with the child’s social-emotional school outcomes than their academic achievement.
[Source: Newland, L., Chen, H., & Coyl-Shepherd, D. (2013). Associations among father beliefs, perceptions, life context, involvement, child attachment and school outcomes in the U.S. and Taiwan. Fathering, 11, 3-30.]
10. Father involvement is related to positive cognitive, developmental, and socio-behavioral child outcomes, such as improved weight gain in preterm infants, improved breastfeeding rates, higher receptive language skills, and higher academic achievement.
[Source: Garfield, C. F., & Isacco, A. (2006). Fathers and the well-child visit, Pediatrics, 117, 637-645.]
11. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of children with an incarcerated father grew 79% between 1991 and 2007. Black fathers accounted for nearly half (46%) of all children with an incarcerated father.
[Source: Glaze, L.E., & Maruschak, L.M. (2010). Parents in prison and their minor children. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.]
12. Fifty-five (55.2) percent of WIC recipients are raised by single-mothers, 48.2% of all Head Start recipients are from father-absent homes, and 37% of public assistance and Section 8 housing are female-headed households.
[Source: Nock, S.L, Einolf, C.J. (2008). The one hundred billion dollar man: the annual public costs of father absence. Germantown, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative.]
Dr. Gary Carlson is a long time educator who has dedicated much of his professional life to serving and helping people in need. His knowledge and wisdom has been a blessing from the experiences he has been given through the Holy Spirit..