I can remember posing this question to my mother thirty seven years ago not knowing that the answer was going to mold and shape me into the adult I am today. She looked at me holding back her distraught fractured feelings and said I don't know where he is. I remember asking her this questions several times after not seeing him for a week or so, her answer was always the same. But I can see in her eyes as they welled up with tears it was an agonizing answer it brought fear, uncertainty and what I'm going to do feeling over her... she was alone raising three children.
I can remember many times hearing her crying in her bed room as I press my ear to her closed door. She tried not to display her emotion openly to us. But we sense something was seriously wrong. It took her several months before she actually told us that our father had left our family and we may never see him again. Needless to say their relationship and our family unit ended in a divorce.
This story is not uncommon it is so common with what we see happening today with families. There are so many single parent homes and single parents raising children than there was forty fifty years ago. We are accustom to not seeing a two parent family system... it's a blessing when children are able to be raised by both parents.
In discussion with young single parents between the ages of twenty one to thirty five and asking them about their child hood. Most often they would refer to the single parent or gaurdian that raised them primarily they are women as it was with my mother.
Increasing cost of living and job demands has caused increasing work hours just to make ends meet in the household. Putting pressure on the bread winner primarily the man to spend time away from his family.... there is no time for family social interactions. The acceptance & erosion of two parent family systems in most American households reduced the father's role to just being the financial provider...no nurturing or connection necessary. You now have women that are single parents saying they don't need a man to raise their children, they can carry on successfully without him.
The lack of the fathers nurturing opens the possibility for children to experiment with gangs, drugs, delinquent acts and dysfunctional behaviors. Research has shown that mother only families live 50% below the poverty line and relocate more frequently. Children are more probable to be sexually active at an early age, more and more daughters are likely to become single mothers. The importance of fathers to the children and family well being helps to balance the family system, developing the children to see and understand their roles in society. But I would caution to say that there is no guarantee in a two family system it depends on how functionally healthy the family is.
Time for Change
Fathers need to step up accept and fulfill their responsibility that God has given them. He has called on fathers to train up their children in the way they should go no matter what life circumstances and disappointments has thrown their way. Consider this quote from Paul Harvey "A father is a person who is forced to endure childbirth without anesthetic, a person who growls when he feels good and laughs very loud when he's scared, a person who gives daughters away to other men who aren't good enough so that they can have grandchildren that are smarter than anybody's"